By Sara Doty, Post-Bulletin, Rochester, MN
LANESBORO -- The quaint town of Lanesboro, nestled in the valley of southeastern Minnesota, has been known for its bike trails and rhubarb for years, but this week, the small town received another designation.
On Monday, state Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes and state Rep. Greg Davids officially declared the city the "Bed and Breakfast Capitol of Minnesota." The Minnesota Senate bestowed the honor in a resolution near the end of the 2009 session.
For the Lanesboro Lodging Work Group, the group of innkeepers who applied for the designation, it has been a year in the works.
Marv Eggert heads the Lanesboro Lodging Work Group and owns the Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed & Breakfast with his wife. He believes the title will add to tourism in Lanesboro.
"I think Lanesboro has always been known by the trail, and I think over time, we have developed over a dozen bed and breakfasts," he said. Eggert believes Lanesboro will be recognized for all that it is.
"(Lanesboro) is not just about the trails," he said, "it's about the B&Bs, the theaters and more."
The town has 15 bed and breakfasts; Stillwater has the second-most in Minnesota, with eight bed and breakfasts.
Colleen Lamon, administrative assistant for the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce, said that before doing much research, they thought they were going to have to apply by looking at the bed and breakfasts per capita.
"We only have a population of 788 people," she said. "But even within the bigger communities, we hold that designation of the most number of bed and breakfasts in Minnesota."
Lamon said the number of bed and breakfasts fits with the relaxing and non-commercial setting of the town.
"I think one of the things that makes Lanesboro unique is we don't have any franchise businesses," she said. "People come here to relax and de-stress. We don't have stoplights; most cell phones don't work; people really can come and retreat."
Eggert said they are going to use the new title "as a keystone in our ways to continue to promote Lanesboro as a good place to go and visit."
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