Mankato Roots

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve visited my father’s hometown in Minnesota. When I do visit, it’s evident that not many people from San Diego, California venture to Mankato, Minnesota, a town just about two hours away from Minneapolis/ St.Paul. My Driver’s License is always questioned by the bouncers/store clerks etc.  and after scrutinizing every inch of my ID (Yes sir, I’ve been over 21 for quite sometime now, let me in!) the question that follows is always, “What brings you all the way out to Mankato?” Well my answer to that is, “What wouldn’t bring me out here?”

Mankato is an awesome town where you can find stunning natural beauty, rich history, and really genuine people.  When you come here, you will totally understand the meaning of “Minnesota Nice.” I always feel right at home. This is why I can’t get enough of Mankato:

1.  Minneopa Falls

Minneopa roughly translated means “water falling twice” in the Dakota Language.  It is an amazing state park where you can camp, hike, and witness the majestic beauty of the water falls and Minneopa Valley. I hiked down to the falls two times this last trip, and even brought my grandma along once! She was such a trooper!

Stairway to nature!
Stairway to nature!
We made it! It's stunning!
We made it! It’s stunning!

Some of my cousins and I decided to make a second trip so that Tim could bring out his fancy camera.


Wow, so fancy!
Hidden beauty
Wow, so professional!

My aunt Lisa told me that apparently my great-great grandparents had a house downstream from the falls. Could that be the reason I feel so at home in Minneopa?

Upper falls and I

Into the forest!
Into the forest!

Minneopa State Park is also home to Seppman Mill, a former windmill built between 1862 – 1864.  It’s adorable!


Black eyed susans (?) surrounding the mill.

2. A trip to Minnesota wouldn’t be complete without a day (or two, or three) at the lake! After all,  it’s not called the “Land of 10, 000 Lakes” for nothing! Lake water is definitely different from the chilly, salty ocean water I’m accustomed to, but it’s just as fun! My cousins taught me how to tube, ride a jet ski, and even tried to teach me how to water ski. Unfortunately the water ski thing for me was a bust…

Family getting the lake toys ready!
Family getting the lake toys ready!
First time on a jet ski!
First time on a jet ski!
Water Skiing is a lost cause for me…

My boyfriend is an amazing editor and this was his first time in Minnesota! Check out this video he put together of some time we spent on the lake. It’ll give you a little taste of the fun we had! We borrowed Keith Urban’s awesome tune “Days Go By” for our video. We don’t own the song in case this isn’t obvious to YouTube copy right guidelines blah blah blah…

3. I’m proud to say that my family roots on my dad’s side go deep in Mankato. The Lairds have lived in Mankato since the 1850s! This last trip was special to me because I got some time to do a little hands-on family research. I only had an afternoon so I had to put that B.A. in History to the test and do some speedy research.

This a train built by my great great grandpa and his brothers out of
This a train found at the Blue Earth County Museum built by my great great grandpa and his brothers out of “junk.” Doesn’t look like junk to me!
My dad, my uncle Tony (expert fisherman), and my uncle Rick (the best tour guide ever!) in front of their old elementary school.
My dad, my uncle Tony (expert fisherman), and my uncle Rick (the best tour guide ever!) in front of their old elementary school.
The oldest Laird grave in the historic Minneopa Cemetery.
The oldest Laird grave in the historic Minneopa Cemetery.

If you are looking to explore a place with incredible outdoor activities, a warm community feel, and nice folks, look no further than Minnesota. I know you’ll have as much fun as I always do! Of course, it does help to have kick ass family to hang out with while there!

2014 Elder Family Reunion. This is SOME of the Laird side in attendance.
Bad picture! But such a fun night!! Late night game of Dominion!
Family Fun in downtown


girls with granny
The girls with our grandma !

Until next time Mankato!


8 responses to “Mankato Roots”

  1. Looks awesome. Like a calm and quiet place yet a lot of things you can do outdoor.

    1. It was a great time! Thank you so much for reading!

  2. […] cool town in Southern Minnesota. Our family’s roots go pretty deep there which I wrote about here a while ago. When we go for a visit, our time is always filled with reunions, food, and fun. This […]

  3. Hi Jamie. You really have done great work. I tried commenting in your post before but it is mot allowing to me. So do this again.
    Can you share the websites or blogs where I can find out more about the culture and people of Mankato?

      1. Thanks Jamie for sharing the links, they all are very helpful. Thank you again. I will be following your post about Mankato and other great post from you. 🙂

      2. Thank you! I’ll be following you as well! Looking forward to reading about your journey!

      3. followed you on twitter too! Do not want to miss your coming post.

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