Area residents choose 'Best of Bluff
Country' recipients for ninth year
Monday, September 16, 2013 3:34 AM
Area residents have voted for their favorite choices and the results have been tallied for the ninth annual Best of Bluff Country contest.
Readers chose their favorite places to eat, drink, shop and relax through the Best of Bluff Country contest that has been a fixture of the Bluff Country Newspaper Group for nine years. While the concept hasn't changed - giving our readers a way to choose their favorite places in the area - over the nine years, some of the categories have changed, with additions and deletions, to give a better picture of our area.
Since spring, ballots have been printed in our newspapers for readers to mail in their choices. An online survey module was also set up so readers could make their choices directly. The module prevented multiple voting so one person couldn't stuff the ballot box.
This year's results had some familiar favorites along with some brand new winners.
As with any contest, there will be debate about the results. Read over the winners that follow and see if you agree - or if you discovered a new place that you have to see if it will become your new favorite.
Bar/Lounge: This year's winner in this category is the Wolf's Den in Ostrander. Ostrander is the place to be as Susie's Road House was a close second.
Breakfast: Our readers determined the best places to start their morning are B & B Olympic Bowl in Preston and Big Bob's in Spring Valley, as they tied for the top spot.
Brunch: Village Square of Fountain and the Root River Country Club in Spring Valley also tied for top honors for the best brunch.
Burgers: For the best burger in Bluff Country stop in to Susie's Road House, as it won in this year's category.
Desserts: All those with a sweet tooth in Bluff Country have chosen Village Square of Harmony as the best stop for desserts. The Harmony restaurant has been a consistent winner in this category over the years of the Best of Bluff Country contest.
Fish Fry: If fish fries get your mouth watering, check out this year's winner, the Wolf's Den in Ostrander. Root River Country Club took second place and Rack's Bar and Grill in Spring Valley, even though it opened midway through the voting this year, was right behind the country club.
Friendliest Service: Proving that Bluff Country is an especially friendly area we had three restaurants tie for the top spot. The winners are The Pizza Place of Spring Valley and Susie's Road House and the Wolf's Den, both of Ostrander.
Fries: Not only did Susie's Road House win best burger, but best fries, too!
Ice Cream: Readers voted The Creamery of Rushford and Simpson's A & W of Spring Valley as the best places to beat the heat with ice cream this year.
Pizza: A fitting name, now with a fitting title. The Pizza Place in Spring Valley won the distinction of best pizza in Bluff Country. The restaurant just opened this year, so it is off to a good start.
Restaurant: Readers have judged The Branding Iron as the best restaurant in Bluff Country this year. The Preston establishment is a consistent winner in this category.
Steaks: Susie's Road House has the best steaks in the area according to our readers. The Ostrander restaurant edged out the Branding Iron, which has been a consistent winner in the past.
Antique Shopping: In the mood for a little shopping? Stroll through the streets of Lanesboro as the city has won for the best antique shopping in the area. Last year's winner, Generations of Harmony, took second place, although it was the top individual business named.
Bed and Breakfast: The winner of this category, Mrs. B's Historic Lanesboro Inn, was also the first B&B in Lanesboro. Last year's winner, the Jail House Inn of Preston, took second place.
Camping Spot: If you are looking to get away from every day distractions head out to the Old Barn Resort, as it was voted the best camping spot in Bluff Country.
Farmers Market: Looking for fresh vegetables, fruit, homemade treats or flowers? Head over to the Lanesboro's Farmers Market, which readers voted the most outstanding in the area.
Lodging: The beautifully rustic Cedar Valley Resort of Whalan was voted as the best lodge in Bluff Country. Coming in second just behind the resort was Spring Valley Inn and Suites.
Best Store/Unique Shop: With too many great choices in the Bluff Country we had a three-way tie in this category. The winners are The Salsa Guy of Spring Valley, Olivia's Attic and Emil Farquart's, both of Lanesboro.
Park: After perusing Lanesboro's shops, take time to relax in this year's winner, Sylvan Park, which has been a consistent pick by readers over the years.
Family Destination: Get the family packed up and head to this year's winning destination, Niagara Cave, located near Harmony, which won last year as well. Another cave, Mystery Cave, took second place.
Fair or Festival: Lanesboro's Buffalo Bill Days is the big winner in this category. Whalan's Stand Still Parade and Spring Valley's Ag Days tied for second with considerable support from readers participating in the contest.
Fishing Spot: Load up your fishing pole and head out to this year's winner, Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park near Wykoff.
Golf Course: Spring Valley's Root River Country Club was voted the best place to enjoy a round of golf in Bluff Country. Rivers Bend Golf Course at the Old Barn Resort, last year's winner, took second place.
Hiking: After catching a few fish take a hike at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, as it is this year's winner in this category.
Historical Site/Museum: Relive the Minnesota of old when you stroll through Historic Forestville, this year's winning historical site. The museums in Spring Valley, one of which is a Wilder site, took a close second.
Picnic Spot: Make sure you pack a picnic for your day of fishing, hiking and history lessons, as Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park was also the winner for best picnic spot.
Scenic View: Once again, Inspiration Point, located between Lanesboro and Preston, was the winner for its spectacular view.
Section of Trail: The Lanesboro to Whalan section of the Root River State Trail was voted the best in Bluff Country by our readers.
Swimming Pool: The Spring Grove Swim Center was voted the best place to beat the heat this year. The pool in Spring Valley took second place.