Minnesota Greenroutes

Writer and  National Geographic Green GuideEcopolitan” blogger Jay Walljasper often contributes to Traveler’s Destination Watch Department, and today he sends along a dispatch from the wilds of Minnesota.


While Lake Wobegon is a figment of humorist Garrison Keillor’s imagination, the small towns he celebrates each week on his show A Prairie Home Companion are real. A drive through the Minnesota countryside introduces you to a land of Old World Lutheran churches, cafés with daily hot-dish specials, and other charming local attractions. Now an innovative website devoted to authentic travel, Greenroutes.org, can help you plan such a trip. It’ll guide you to Spring Grove, where you stroll down a Main Street that feels more Norwegian than American, then to a tour of a more than 100-year-old plant where soda pop is made the old-fashioned way (with cane sugar…and no caffeine). It’ll also direct you to a Native American café at a highway crossroad on the White Earth Reservation, which has buffalo and wild rice on the menu.

Greenroutes.org is the brainchild of Minnesotan Brett Olson, who conceived the idea after going on camping trips in the West and on a voyage exploring beyond-the-guidebook sights in Europe. He and several friends thought it would be fun to do the same thing back home and went to work finding unique attractions that promoted environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The site now details more than 110 unique locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which was just added recently. Next up on the Greenroutes.org agenda: the states of Washington and Arizona, and upstate New York.

Photo: Early Morning Minnesota, courtesy Brett Olson


  1. Queen palm
    July 10, 2010, 3:27 pm

    I would love to drive through the Minnesota countryside and see rural lifestyle. I enjoy your articles and photos.

  2. Carol Ossell
    August 7, 2008, 11:50 pm

    Please add our name:
    Deerlake Orchard

  3. Carol Ossell
    August 7, 2008, 11:46 pm

    This website is so refreshing; you are giving
    us such a beautiful place to visit! We all
    need a list of wonderful, happy, “real” places to go and enjoy! Thank you for all
    your efforts, time & energy; it is so welcoming.
    I would like to share a Fall Destination, my
    husband and I have been “caretakers” (owners)
    of a beautiful apple orchard, 3 miles SW of
    Buffalo, MN. I say caretakers because this
    is a Wright County Tradition, started 37 yrs.
    ago; it’s a property that we tend, because it feels like everyone who comes back feels
    as if a small piece belongs to their family
    Fall tradition! We are a GREEN SPACE, in
    the Fall, many more colors, but we would love to share this with your readers. We
    have a Maple Woods that is dressed with
    characters and is a beautiful golden tunnel
    for at least two weeks………
    We would love to share this with your readers, walking out to pick apples, a day
    listing to good music and eating healthy

  4. camping
    June 30, 2008, 2:02 pm

    Minnesota Greenroutes

    Bookmarked your post over at Blog Bookmarker.com!