Rooms with a view - Mayowood tours 'just incredible'

Get geared up for the holidays with a Mayowood Christmas Tour. Families will enjoy a guided tour through the 38-room mansion that was once home to three generations of Mayo families.

The tour stops at 24 all-decked-out-for-the-holidays rooms on the main and upstairs levels, with tour guides sharing the home’s history and telling stories of the families that called the house home.

"I was counting the decorated rooms in my sleep last night," says Barb Dahlin, event organizer at the History Center of Olmsted County. "I think there are about 24 on the main level and the bedroom level."

Now in its 31st year, 2,000 family members take in the tour every year. This year, the rooms feature fun and fabulous themes, including nature, snowmen and fairies.

"We have a revolving tree this year. It’s just gorgeous," Dahlin says. "We have another room that’s fairy tales. That one is just incredible. A room that has every type of snowman ornament that you would want to see. And one of the rooms is done up in a nature theme."


Pulling it all together are teams of volunteers, many representing various Rochester-area businesses and organizations. The volunteers are given a room to decorate and a minimal amount of decorations (garland, trees, lights) to start with. The rest of the wreaths, ornaments and figurines are provided by the volunteers, who either borrow from their personal collections or make special purchases just for the tour.

"I never pick favorites," says Dahlin of her favorite room. "The decorators are all so terrific. They just all have so much talent for pulling it all together."

Daytime and evening tours available weekdays and weekends. Go online for a complete tour schedule. Call to reserve your spot. Tickets $15 adults, youth 12 and under $5. Allow two hours for the tour.


Shop class

Calling all kids to NAMI Southeast Minnesota’s Kidshops. Held in workshop format, the free program, which will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at NAMI SE MN, 1700 N. Broadway, is geared toward children ages 7 to 17 who have a sibling or parent living with mental illness.

The day includes team building activities, games, a free pizza lunch, and the opportunity for kids to share their feelings, discuss their experiences and learn new coping skills.

What else? From noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, NAMI is hosting the Hope for Recovery Workshop. It offers adult family members practical strategies for dealing with mental illness.


Space is limited for both events; call 287-1692 to save your spot. For more information, go to


Talkin’ turkeys

Get artsy outside at Saturday's Pine Cone Turkeys program. Hosted by Oxbow Park and held inside Zollman Zoo, 5731 County Road 105 N.W., Byron, kids of all ages will have fun making a Thanksgiving turkey out of a pine cone.

The program begins at 1 p.m. and is free to attend; no registration needed.

What’s next? Oxbow Park holds family-friendly programming most Saturdays. Upcoming programing includes Deer and Elk at 1 p.m. Nov. 19 and Feed the Critters at 3 p.m. Nov. 26. For more information, call (507) 775-2451.


Something sweet


Get geared up for the holidays at the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea at the Plummer House, 1091 Plummer Lane S.W., Rochester. Hosted by Allegro School of Music and Dance, little ballerinas (and their favorite big person) will enjoy meeting dancers from Allegro’s upcoming performance of "The Nutcracker" as well as tea/hot chocolate, sandwiches, sweets and more.

The event will be at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Nov. 20. Tickets are $14; call 288-0125.

Allegro’s "The Nutcracker" will be presented at 4 p.m. Nov. 25 and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Mayo Civic Center. Tickets are $21 and are available online,, or at the Civic Center box office.

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