It can be found in the beauty of nature.
It can be found in peaceful places.
It can be found in people we admire.
Inspiration is the thing that fuels and propels us toward new experiences. It is the fairy dust that enhances our sense of potential and purpose. It has been the impetus for great inventions, commitment to goals, and personal improvement.
I was fortunate yesterday to experience inspiration on many fronts. It all came via my road trip to Fertile, Minnesota. Fertile is a pleasant 90 minute drive from my home in West Fargo. The drive is one of wide open roads punctuated by farmland and trees. It was particularly nice for me because Mike was driving and I got to just take in the scenery.
Our first stop was at the Bergeson Nursery Open House. That made perfect sense to me since Fertile is the Flower City. What a lovely event the open house was. It was a sunny, mild day, many Fertile area locals were out enjoying the event, and the grounds were beautiful. I love trees and flowers and to be able to spend time in a place where they are clearly understood, nurtured, and loved was so invigorating and inspiring for me. The beauty, durability, and imperfect perfection of nature reminded me that all things are meant to thrive and can indeed thrive when they are have their basic needs met and are set free to do so.
After our visit to Bergeson Nursery and some short visits to a couple of Fertile’s shops we headed out to the Inn at Maple Crossing a well-known and respected bed and breakfast in Mentor, Minnesota – a hop, skip, and jump from Fertile through a very lush landscape. The Inn has a great history dating back to the late 1800s and has become a testament to commitment via its current owners Nancy and Jim Thomasson. They saved the Inn from being razed a couple of decades ago after it had stood vacant for 18 years and fell into disrepair.
To look at the state of the Inn when they purchased it and its current state of grandeur one can only marvel at Nancy and Jim’s vision. They have a rich tale to tell about how they came to own the Inn and their history in renovating it that I cannot begin to do justice to, but suffice to say that the Inn’s current state is an example of what a reverence for history and sweat equity can produce. Our stay there was lovely and you can rest assured that you will be well cared for when you visit there. We stayed in the room with the best view of the lake on the third floor – it was such a serene and restful room - I would encourage others to make that their first choice of rooms when they visit. Also, take the time to visit the Inn’s library when you stay and look at their scrapbook which details the renovation process – you will marvel at the amount of work that needed to be done.
As for the food – tres yum! The time and energy that goes into food preparation, presentation, and the dining experience is quite impressive. Mike and I were fortunate to dine twice at the Inn – once for dinner and a second time for breakfast. Both meals were the quality of what you would expect at a five star restaurant. For dinner we had a choice of a beef or fish entree as part of a three course meal. For breakfast, we started with a large fruit yogurt parfait that was so delicious that I consumed every drop (and there was a lot). We had so much food that I literally could only sample parts of what came next in the breakfast extravaganza – you will not leave hungry I assure you.
And if all the above was not enough – the grandeur, the lovely accomodations, the serene lake, the food – the Inn also has a fabulous boutique-like gift shop called Recollections that has a great selection of fairly unique items. There is literally something for everyone and then some at the gift shop – all at reasonable prices. Plus, the aesthetic of the gift shop is truly noteworthy. Taking in the staging of the merchandise is in-and-of-itself worth a visit to this shop. There is a level of artistry in the layering involved in such boutique displays and when you happen upon one that does it just right you can linger there marveling at the artistry the same way you would at an art museum. Nancy has won acclaim for her shop by virtue of the fact that she features a wide variety of American artists’ items. You do not have to stay at the Inn to visit Recollections (or to have lunch or dinner at the Inn, but reservations for dinner are required) - if you are in the area on a day trip be sure to visit and see for yourself the extraordinary and awe-inspiring commitment Nancy and Jim made to the Inn.
But all the comments and photos above merely relate bonus experiences to the primary reason for my Fertile visit – dinner with B-Dubya. A visit that meant so very much to me personally that I cannot adequately describe how delighted I was. Of the many things I share in my blog – and heaven knows I share an awful lot – there are some things that transcend my ability to capture them in words. This is one such thing – meeting and getting to spend time with B-Dubya after a couple of years of building a relationship online via my blog and Facebook. I have come to know her and her family and she has come to know me and mine. I treasure this woman.
Mike and I had a blissful handful of hours with B-Dubya and her daughter Lisa on Saturday night that reminded me of how blessed I have been in my life to have had so many incredible women surround me. Not the type of women that necessarily receive national or international attention, that cure major diseases, or that are leading major social movements - those are not the incredible women I speak of. I speak of the women who are the infrastructure that support fellow women – the women who hold up, nurture, cheer on, and carry others as a function of their core identity. These are the women who really change the world…one kind gesture at a time. B-Dubya is such a woman. She has raised her daughter Lisa to be such a woman. To be in the presence of this type of power – quiet power that creates a ripple of change based purely on its own industry and good intentions – is so very inspiring to me as a woman that it humbles me unlike any other thing does. So I store all the things I took away from my time with B-Dubya in my soul and I hope that someday in the future I too can grow into that type of power and pass it on to others as I have known B-Dubya to do.
Fertile was a phenomenal outing on so many fronts. It offered inspiration at every turn. I imagine most folks don’t think that when they think of Fertile, Minnesota. On its face it looks like a hundred other small towns in the area, but I tell you folks the inspiration abounds in Fertile – you just have to look for it.
Day one thousand four hundred and ninety-four of the new forty – obla di obla da