While watching Jordan’s local Heimatfest Parade Saturday morning from Nicolin Mansion’s front porch, I turn to our innsitter, Cindy Nevins, and make an offer: you clean the room that’s checking in this afternoon while I finish my computer work and we’ll go on a Nicolin Mansion Fieldtrip to Crofut Winery for the annual Grape Stomp. Deal!
We head into the barn that serves as the usual tasting room and gift shop to buy our bottle of wine.
There’s also this fabulous iron piece outside the door that I’m convinced would fit perfectly in our courtyard, but of course it’s not for sale.
After purchasing our bottle, we were off to the arts and crafts tent. The artists’ selections are great: from jewelry to outdoor art, from candle holders to wine holders, the creativity is terrific!
But this is the Grape Stomp after all, so we find ourselves a table under the tent and sit down with our wine and a cheese plate to enjoy the festivities.
The groups of stompers start out a bit tame…
Then the grapes start sailing instead of just stomping…
Finally reaching full grape assult!
A definite must-see event! Stomping spots are snatched up pretty quickly, so reserve your spot early. If you miss getting to stomp, it’s definitely still worth it to stay, sip some wine, and see the stompers in action!
Crofut Family Vineyard & Winery
Open April – December (Check website for exact hours)
Friday: 2 pm – 8 pm; Saturday 11 am – 6 pm; Sunday 12 noon – 5 pm
21646 Langford Avenue Jordan, Minnesota 55352
Carasim Coffee Shop is far more than just Coffee. While it’s true they do serve coffee, espresso, chai, fine teas, Italian sodas and real fruit smoothies, there is a lot more going on in Frank Nicolin’s former Opera House.
Dining at the vintage bar or booths not only includes a great nostalgic atmosphere, there is also great home cooking.
From simple breakfast items, to soup, salad and sandwiches, the menu changes to include freshly made daily specials. They were serving a Roasted Red Pepper Tomato soup the day I took these photos.
One of our favorites is the pizza. It’s become a tradition whenever we have family staying with us from out of town. The crust is thin, the way I like it, made to order. And at $9.95 for a large, two-topping pizza, it’s a great value as well. But the ice cream counter and the Themed Elegance chocolate shots are the hands down favorite for the Knox boys!
Like I said, there’s more than just coffee, and dining. Carasim is located right next door to the Nicolin Mansion, and through the Mertz era, the two properties were jointly owned. The historic building, built in 1876, has housed Nicolin’s Opera House, Mammoth Store, and a favorite the locals still talk about, Geno’s Tap. A walk through to just admire the interior is well worth a stop. Besides the classic wooden bar and booths, there’s a beautiful hand painted mural of historic downtown Jordan.
It’s doesn’t stop there. The shop is stocked full of antiques for sale. From antique depression glass to furniture, it’s my first stop whenever I’m looking for something to add to the bed and breakfast. And I’ve bought several items. They also sell great historic photos of Jordan, including one of the U.S. 4th Calvary en route to Fort Snelling in front of both Carasim and the Nicolin Mansion in 1908.
Carasim also hosts a thrift shop with great clothing buys supporting Broken Pottery Outreach, as well as the Geneva’s Daughter Ocassional Sale. The upper room where the Opera stage still stands, is host to a variety of special events. And the back room hosts entertainment events, such as junk swap, Thrift Shop fashion show, and live music. Watch the Jordan Events Calendar for upcoming events. The building was known as the HUB in it’s day, and with all that’s still going on, the name is appropriate.
Carasim Coffee Shop
231 Broadway Street South
Jordan, Minnesota 55352
The Occasional Sale seems to be more popular than ever. If you are new to the concept, these are stores open occasionally (once or twice a month for instance) for several days in a row. The dealers restock daily while they are open, so selections are always changing and new treasures await every time you stop by. We have a few in Jordan too, and this weekend The Corner Peddler is open.
The Corner Peddler features primitives, some antique and some reproduction. Among the treasures you’ll find furniture, wall hangings, dolls and other home decor. One of my favorites are the battery operated candles – they really look like flickering candles – we have one in the Nicolin Room.
The Corner Peddler also features repurposed items like curtains made from kitchen towels, candle holders made from canning jars, and decorations made from dried fruit. You’ll be inspired.
Another great thing is the sales are often held in buildings that are as interesting as the inventory. The Corner Peddler is in Jordan’s Old City Hall building, complete with bars on the old jailhouse windows. Treasure hunting in unique places creates an experience beyond just shopping.
We are so excited to announce another apple season at Minnesota Harvest, under new management! K2 Management is none other than our very own innkeeper Kevin Knox, and former innkeeper (when Nicolin Mansion was known as the Nicolin Inn), Kevin Breeggemann!
They are kicking off the season with the Blessing of the Blossoms event on Sunday, May 22nd beginning at 2:00 p.m. Bring a picnic lunch and a blanket, and enjoy an afternoon of live music amongst the apple blossoms.
Kevin (Knox) was great friends with Topper Sponsel, and along with his family, this event is in honor of and in tribute to Topper! We are hoping for Topper’s spirit to be present amongst us as we bless the blossoms for a truly spectacular season at the orchard.
Topper in the Blossoms
Thank you to everyone who participated and celebrated with us at the Blessing of the Blossoms. Our blessings go to those affected by the tornado that occurred as our event began, including Kevin Breeggemann’s brother in Golden Valley.
The Scott County Art Crawl was yesterday, October 9th, which included the studio of one of our local downtown artists, Maureen Carlson. Other stops along the art crawl in Jordan were Jessica Barnd Bauer, oil paintings, and eight artists at Crofut Winery – Linda Reckard, button pendants; Rose-Marie F. James, fused art glass; R. Michael Leek, ink, pencil, acrylic; Ashley Davidson, copper sculpture; Lowell Pajati, copper sculpture; Mary Pearson, digital photography; Theresa Beissel, watercolor; and Steven Showalter, functional & woodfired pottery.
Since Maureen’s studio is just a couple blocks from the inn, I decided to stop in and pay a visit during the art crawl. Maureen is a nationally recognized polymer clay artist expressing her creativity through a series of whimsical Wee Folk characters. As a matter of fact, at the Nicolin Mansion we blessed each new guest room with one of Maureen’s fairies after renovations were completed. Maureen is also an author, instructor, and story teller. Her Storyclay Telling sessions bring out your imagination as you participate in the creation of a one-of-a-kind character. Also a leading organizer of the annual Jordan Art Festival, Maureen has found many outlets to express her creativity.
Visit Maureen at her studio when you come to town. Her studio is located in a charming, historic building on Water Street beside Sand Creek.
Studio Hours: Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
102 Water Street
The locals turned out in great numbers for the Annual Heimatfest Day Parade in downtown Jordan this morning, September 11th, both as spectators and participants. The parade was LONG this year, at least an hour, with a full array of marchers: Veterans, politicians, merchants, clubs, schools, scouts, princesses – you name it, we had it. The parade ushers in a full day of events at Lagoon Park – food, games, music, Miss Jordan coronation and the grand finale fireworks over Mill Pond. Small Town U.S.A. at it’s finest!
The Scott County Fair, deemed the five best days of summer, is held here in Jordan each July. We had a great time tonight taking in the animals, activities, aroma and arts of the fair.
As for the animals, my favorite has to be the cattle barn – living in California created a nostalgia for my native Wisconsin cow, a love affair that has never left my heart. Yet now living in Jordan, the spectacular Draft Horse Shows are a main attraction, featuring Jordan’s very own Ames Percherons.
The carnival rides are always a favorite for activities, though making the rounds through the commercial buildings (and stocking up on that ever elusive pen) is always beneficial. The Grandstand events have been known to raise the adrenaline, and feature a regular local event, the Autocross, on our Motokazie SX Supercross Racing schedule.
The Fair aroma of course is alluring and unique, featuring indulgent foods you just can’t find anywhere else. This year I have to say my favorite is the Donut Burger, and you’ve got to love their tag line “unapologetically bad for you…but oh so good!”
And the art – besides the gardens as you enter (among them the rain garden that I personally helped plant in 2007) – the entries in the art exhibits always inspire me. A few years ago I entered a photography piece that earned a First Place and Grand Champion ribbon. Every year since I’ve meant to submit new entries but somehow never manage to remember before the deadlines pass. But mark my words (“sheepishly raised eyebrows”) we will submit new entries next year – Kevin’s Scones and Peach Cream Muffins, my Black Raspberry Jam, and my finally-finished-tiled-bird-bath, as well as an herb and floral entry from the courtyard, have got to bring home another ribbon.
The fair is still going on through Sunday, so go and see what you will find to interest, indulge and inspire you.
This past weekend, June 26th and 27th, was the 7th Annual Jordan Art Festival. It was great to see our town all dressed up, bustling with artists and visitors! Each year I look for a few treasures to add to our mansion, and I found some great ones. From 225 Water Street’s Flea Market I found 2 vases for the Mertz fireplace and a fabulous photo of an art deco lady. From Primary Colors I found a beautiful copper sunflower for the courtyard. And from the artist booth’s I found a glass sculpture by Barbara Sells, and a fantastic birdhouse sculpture by Billy’s Bird Cabins. If you missed this event, be sure to visit us next year – and you can always see what there is to see and do in Jordan by checking out the Attractions page on our website.
Those who hang around Jordan for any time are sure to be inspired to glue shiny objects to other things by Jordan’s resident mosaic tile artist, Mara Wallach. Before I even knew what I was doing, I decided to tile the face of our antique fireplace mantle with VanGogh glass tiles.
I have said many times over the years of renovating this building, it’s better that I don’t know what I’m doing before I take on a project, otherwise I may never have done it. Well, that fireplace was one of those! Mara came to my rescue during that project, and gave me, and our innsitter Cindy, a quick lesson in mosaic tiling, pointing out this was not the beginner’s project – but graciously rescued me with instructions the eve of Christmas Eve!
After that I of course took her class, and created the welcome frame for our Guest Kitchen – a bit of a backwards introduction.
Now I’m hooked. I next tiled the buffet table for our front porch, with Fleur-de-Lis pattern and red glass tiles. I’ve was inspired for this is the focal point of scones, cinnamon rolls and coffee during the Jordan parades marching in front of our porch on Memorial Day and Heimatfest – and so it has served.
I’ve come to realize my engineering background keeps me more formal than abstract in my designs, but in the art world there is room for it all.
So on to the project for Girl’s Night Out. In my past life in California, I painted porcelain pieces. I had an Ivy and Cherub theme going (not breaking from my formal “must-have-a-theme” mentality), and painted a clock and a vase – both of which had been broken by my cats from my past life in Prior Lake. So, I’ve moved on from the ivy theme – loved the pieces – but were repaired yet broken beyond display. The perfect mosaic tile medium. So during a very rainy garage sale day, I proceeded to break the clock, the vase, and several complimentary vases and plates. Ready for a new piece!
Sacrificing the wood destined for a tabletop of shells and sand collected from our spring break trips down south, I glued the foundation pieces of the California clocks and vases and let the girls have at it! It was great fun. Some were enthusiastic and were gluing naturals, others a bit intimidated but I think were set free with the gluing process. It’s addicting! It all wasn’t finished that night, but over the next couple of days I glued in a frenzy as I’ve never done on a project – it was complete within a week! All that is left is finding clock hands big enough to do the 2-foot clock justice (eBay here I come). The clock is already hanging on the back porch in the courtyard, patiently awaiting her tell-time handles. What do you think???
I wish I photographed the separate pieces before the clock project. But for my next project – my long awaited reclamation of the bird bath – I did capture where I started. It’s the project of the month now!
Watch for updates, and the history behind the pieces getting glued. For me, I guess, it just all has to have some meaning, and these pieces have some for me.
Till next time… your innkeeper, Terri