What’s GOing On in Rochester, MN? Vinnie Van GO has consulted with his partners at GO Rochester to learn about the best tourist spots in their city. He says not to miss these top five picks:
Mayo Clinic – No trip to Rochester would be complete without visiting Mayo Clinic, one of the best hospitals in the country, according to U.S. News & World Reports, and certainly one of the most famous. The downtown campus incorporates 30 buildings, including three hospitals with a total capacity of 2,144 beds, along with laboratories, research facilities, medical offices and education centers. Some 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers are employed at the Rochester campus plus 50,900 allied health staff. While you’re there, you may want to sign up for a 60-minute class. Among the topics are stress management, relaxation techniques, healthy sleeping, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, managing your weight as well as others related to specific medical conditions.
Plummer House – Architecture buffs won’t want to miss Plummer House. Built in 1917, by Dr. Henry Stanley Plummer and his wife Daisy, the 49-room Tudor mansion with 10 bathrooms and nine bedrooms sits on 11 park-like acres. The house, listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, featured such unusual (for the time) amenities as a central vacuum system, underground sprinkler system, dumbwaiter, electricity and gas lighting. Tours are schedule every Wednesday from June through July with private group tours at other times by arrangement.
Quarry Hill – This nature center is located in the 320-acre Quarry Hill Park. It features paved and hiking trails, a pond and historical man-made sandstone cave. In the winter, you can rent cross-country skis and snowshoes. Informal naturalist led programs are held most Sundays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Assisi Heights The Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester, Minnesota is a Roman Catholic religious order for women, which resides at Assisi Heights, a beautiful Romanesque building on a hill overlooking the city. The order founded St. Mary’s Hospital in1889, which is now part of Mayo Clinic. Today, the sisters have missions in Cambodia and Columbia and work on behalf of numerous social issues. They also operate a retreat in Janesville, MN. Tours of the spiritual center are scheduled most Mondays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. Reservations are recommended. In the summer, Silver Lake Park is the place to be. Set on a small freshwater reservoir, the park offers biking, rollerblading, jogging and fishing.
For families, there is mini golf, the Children’s Adventure Playground, (which is wheelchair accessible) a tier one skate park and plenty of picnic space. Paddleboats, canoes and bikes can be rented. GO Rochester picks up travelers at both Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) and Rochester International (RST).