Guide offers ways totravel , and bond, with grandkids

By Jan McFarland

Grandparenting is a lot different than it used to be.

For starters, most grandparents today do not have time to sit back. Typically they are healthier, wealthier and more active than any previous generation. They volunteer. They run businesses. They run marathons. And they travel — with their grandchildren.

About 78 million Americans are grandparents, and roughly 39 million of them are Baby Boomers.


"Grandparents are here to help and instruct," said Mike Link, co-author with his wife, Kate Crowley, of "Grandparents Minnesota Style: Places to Go & Wisdom to Share."

The recently released book is a grandparents travel guide to special places in Minnesota, including several in Rochester and nearby communities. The book also includes bonding and bridging tips as part of the travel experience. For example, the writers said the State Capitol in St. Paul is a good place to start teaching grandchildren about democracy.

"This is a place to begin teaching your grandchild that he has a voice and that he should use it to stand up for what he believes in," Link said.

As part of that bonding experience, the authors recommend visits to county courthouses and city halls, including Rochester City Hall.

The couple live in the woods at Willow River, Minn., where he is director of the Audubon Center near Sandstone. Crowley works there as well.

The book includes general activities the generations can do together, like kite flying, organizing a tea party, bird watching, planting a garden and fishing.

Some of the special places to visit in our region include The LARK Toy Store of Kellogg, where they write that visitors should be "prepared for overload — an imagination overload."

"Remember all those cool toys we used to play with? We didn’t have video games or computers," they write. "The toy store is a chance to show your grandchildren how toys used to be."


Included in the book are jaunts to Root River State Trail, Mystery Cave, Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, Wabasha, Whalen and Winona.

The husband-wife authors wrote the book with the idea of introducing their grandchildren to the fun and experiences of their youth.

When Link looks back at his own childhood, he is filled with images of "picking blackberries with Grandma, playing catch with Grandpa. I was never a visitor. I felt that their home was my home. This is what we want for our grandchildren."

Book notes

The book "Grandparents Minnesota Style: Places to Go & Wisdom to Share" ($14.95) is available in some bookstores or from Adventure Publications, 820 Cleveland St. South, Cambridge, MN 55008 or by calling 1-800- 678-7006.

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