Mystery Trip Report - October 19, 2017

On a beautiful sunny morning, 54 people boarded the bus and headed out for the ‘Mystery Trip.’ There was time to visit on the bus, then we played several rounds of ‘Five Card Bingo’ with prizes. Before we knew it, we had arrived at our first stop.

We were in Clear Lake IA at the Surf Ballroom. There was plenty to see of old rock and roll memorabilia and we could almost feel the spirits of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. People were surprised to learn that they still frequently had live shows.

Our next stop was in Mason City IA to visit the Historic Park Inn Hotel, the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built hotel in the world. After an intensive restoration, the hotel opened in 2011 as a working hotel as well as a conference and events center. We enjoyed the docent-guided tours of the entire space. Lunch was at the Quarry Restaurant, just around the corner from the Historic Park Inn Hotel, where we enjoyed really good food.

Along with the Hotel, we visited another Frank Lloyd Wright building – a Prairie School designed home, the Stockman House. At the Architectural Interpretive Center, we learned that Mason City is home to the largest group of Prairie School designed homes on a unified site.

On to the next stop – the Meredith Wilson Museum and Music Man Square. The Square features a 1912 streetscape, all in set designs recreated from the motion picture, The Music Man. We enjoyed the ice cream at the ‘old fashioned ice cream parlor’ which was part of the square design. After the ice cream, we had plenty of time to view the music-related exhibits and Meredith Wilson memorabilia.

We were back on the bus and headed for Albert Lea and Trumble’s Restaurant for dinner. We enjoyed great food and wonderful service with time to drink coffee and relax after dinner.

Our final stop of the day was close by – the Marion Ross Academy of Performing Arts where we saw the Neil Simon play Rumors. There was no big lesson to be learned and no need to think too hard – it was just a lot of silliness and plenty of opportunity to giggle and laugh.

We returned to Rochester later than planned – it was after 11:00 but everyone seemed in good spirits in spite of a very long day. The entire trip was about 240 miles. We couldn’t have asked for better weather throughout the entire trip.

Joan Buske
Mystery Trip Coordinator