Dec 01

Weekend Adventure

My husband and I had a free weekend, which doesn’t happen often, so we decided to go on a little adventure. One of our favorite quotes is “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” We’ve heard others talk about all the things to do around the Willmar area and just have never had time to really check it out. So off we headed.


As we came into the area, our first stop was Three Sisters Furnishings. This store has everything from gift items to specialty foods to home furnishings. We enjoyed chatting with them as we checked out and during the conversation we mentioned we were from Osakis, they shared how they have been selling one of our hometown favorites of Jacobs Lefse. They asked what our plans were next and gave us a couple of recommendations for where to hit for lunch in New London.


Onto New London to continue our bumming, the Mill Pond Mercantile was in full holiday spirit right when you walk through the door. As we wondered around, we found everything from specialty teas, jams and jellies to kitchen and home accents to clothing and jewelry for the fashion trendy. There is something for everyone’s taste here.


By now, we were getting a little hunger, so we headed over to the Middle Fork Café, to grab a quick bite. This fun little café/coffee shop was a flurry of activity with other shoppers hitting the stores. The food was just the right amount (highly recommend the wraps!)


On our way out of town, we made a quick stop in Shoppe 14. If you are looking for one of kind gift ideas, this store will help fit the bill. Highly recommend taking a few minutes to check it out.


I’ve noticed Glacial Ridge Winery before when we’ve been in the area, so since we had no rush, we stopped to check it out. Our wine tasting connoisseur’s name was Howard. As we sampled the wines, he shared the history of the winery and some of how the wines were named. We definitely found some new wine favorites and remember there’s always time for a glass of wine.


Next up is a chocolate heaven for any true chocolate lover. Mr. B’s Chocolates is amazing, their hand-molded chocolates are a slice of heaven. While picking up a pre-selected chocolate box is nice, going through and picking your own is an adventure to be savored.


In doing some car research on where to go next, we found out there was going to be a Holidaze Parade downtown. Being suckers for a good parade, off we went in search of downtown. We got in our spot and just as the parade was about to start, it started snowing. Wow, talk about getting into the holiday spirit. So many fun, bright lighted floats.


While waiting for the parade to start, we were chatting with our parade neighbors and they recommended checking out Ruff’s Wings & Sports Bar for dinner. We really like wings and this sounded right up our alley. Oh my, this place was amazing. For me, I’m all about boneless wings. They were by far the best I’ve ever had. My hubby, he is all about bone in wings. He was over the moon with how good they were. Definitely ask to sample the numerous sauces they have available. Our favs were honey BBQ and Firecracker.


Always looking for an opportunity to connect with good friends, they recommended we meet at the Foxhole Brewhouse. What a great place to relax with friends and enjoy one of their craft beers. Bring some snacks with to nibble on and enjoy a glass of Pecan Porter. The experience is worth it.


As we were ready to settle in for the night, we relied on the hominess of Country Inn & Suites. Always known for having a friendly staff, comfortable beds and amazing breakfast, it wasn’t a hard decision. Their hospitality is always five stars in our book.


Having a little time to spare after checking out and roaming around the area a little more, we stumbled across Lulu Beans Coffee House. We walked and felt right at home. They offer several options for light lunches and the variety of drink options was a wonderful. They were recently named the best Minnesota coffee house by WCCO and we can definitely see why.


If you are looking for a great local theater experience, check out The Barn Theatre. We were treated to their presentation of “Happy Hollandaise.” This fun British farce is reminiscent of Arsenic and Old Lace. Once the mayhem dies down and the mixed-up identities unscramble, the true Christmas spirit shines bright in a surprise ending, which involves transformation, forgiveness, and a beautiful new beginning. Great way to spend an afternoon.


The time has come for us to start heading home. This summer, we had the opportunity to check out O’Neills in Spicer and knowing the Vikings game was on, it was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before leaving the area. With lots of TV’s to watch the game on, we sat back and enjoyed a couple of their flatbread pizzas. Yummy doesn’t quite cover it!


The Willmar Lakes Area is a new favorite place of ours to escape and explore. Take the time to check out the places we went. We can’t wait to come back and explore more the area has to offer.


Guest Blogger – Dianne M.


OneilsHolidazeMr BThree Sistersbarnwinery

Sep 17

Movies in the Park – September 19th at Robbins Island!

Mark your calendars for the final Movies in the Park movie: Despicable Me 2!!!  This Friday, September 19th at Robbins Island in Willmar! Movie, Pop and Popcorn are free!  Thank you to Viking Coke and Walt’s for providing the popcorn.

Jul 03

Head to Spicer for the 4th!

Spicer is the place to be this 4th of July weekend.  There are so many great events, you are sure to find one that every member of your family will enjoy!!  On July 3rd, they will have their annual 4th of July Street Dance featuring the Johnny Holm Band.  The gates open at 8:30 p.m. and the band will play from 9:00 pm – 12:30 a.m.  The cost is only $10!  This is a 21 & older event.  ID is required for admittance!

On July 4th, some of the highlights include, the Parade starting at 10 a.m., the Briggs Motley Arts & Craft Fair from 9 am to 5 pm and the Fireworks at dusk!

On the weekend you will find a softball tournament, a Hoops by the Lake tournament, Kids Pedal Pull, Green Lake Road Race and so much more.

Check out the complete scheduled on our website at

Jun 27

Movies in the Park has been moved to WEAC

Mother Nature is prevailing and Vision 2040 – Things to Do has decided to move our 1st Movies in the Park to the Willmar Education and Arts Center (WEAC).  The movie will start at 8:30 pm. Hope to see you there to watch Frozen!

Jun 26

Movies in the Park

We are so excited for the first Movies in the Park on Friday, June 27th.  The movie is Frozen!  The plan is to have the movie at Robbins Island starting at dusk! The movie is free and there will be free pop and popcorn while supplies last!!  If the weather looks bad, we will move the movie to WEAC at 611 5th Street SW in Willmar.  We will make a decision by 1:00 p.m. and post on the Willmar Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Facebook page and also on our website at   If the movie location is moved to the WEAC building, the movie will start at 8:30 p.m.






Jun 20

Iron Warriors hold their 2014 Central Region Conference in Willmar

It is a perfect day for a motorcycle ride in the Willmar Lakes Area!!  Several rides are planned throughout the area during the Iron Warriors stay in Willmar this weekend!

May 21

WCCO-TV and WCCO Radio are “Goin’ to the Lake!

WCCO-TV and WCCO Radio’s on-air talent are hitting the road to visit the best summertime spots in cabin country.

Minneapolis/ St. Paul May 21, 2014 – WCCO-TV’s Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer along with WCCO Radio’s John Hines will pull into the Willmar Lakes Area on Thursday, May 29 and Friday, May 30 as part of WCCO’s annual summertime series, “Goin’ to the Lake!”.

Throughout the day on Thursday, May 29 and Friday, May 30, the WCCO-TV cameras will roll as Frank and Chris visit several area establishments and connect with local residents. In addition to their activities throughout the day, Frank and Chris will report live from the Willmar Lakes Area during the 5, 6 and 10pm newscasts. The public is invited to join them at:

Zorbaz on Green Lake in Spicer – Thursday; 5pm and 6pm newscasts

Johnny O’Neil’s in Spicer – Thursday; 10pm newscast

Neer Park in New London w/Little Crow Ski Team – Friday; 5pm and 6pm newscasts

New to this year’s “Goin’ to the Lake!” series is the addition of WCCO Radio. Each Friday a member of the NewsRadio, 830 WCCO team will broadcast live on location. Joining Frank and Chris in the Willmar Lakes Area is John Hines. John will broadcast his Friday, May 30th 9am to 12pm show live from The Oaks at Eagle Creek in Willmar. The public is welcome to join.

Every Thursday and Friday starting on May 29 through August 15, WCCO-TV and WCCO Radio’s on-air talent will visit some of the best summer vacation spots in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, highlighting all that they have to offer.

“I’m looking forward to kicking off our summer-long road trips with my buddy Frank. The good times will be rolling in the Willmar area as we get this gig kicked off in style,” said WCCO Meteorologist Chris Shaffer. “We take a lot of pride in showing off great communities across Minnesota. It’s a privilege to share their stories, and it’s fun,” added Anchor Frank Vascellaro.

Don’t forget to watch WCCO-TV, channel four, at 5, 6 and 10pm to catch Frank and Chris’ adventures in the Willmar Lakes Area and tune into NewsRadio, 830 WCCO (AM) from 9am-12pm on Friday for John Hine’s show.

WCCO-TV and WCCO Radio are part of CBS Television Stations and CBS Radio, divisions of CBS Corporation.

May 05

2nd Annual Mayor’s Bike Ride in Spicer, New London & Willmar

The Second Annual Mayor’s Bike Ride is just around the corner!

It will be held on Friday, May 16th starting at 5:00 p.m. in Spicer, New London and Willmar.

Mayor Denny Baker, Mayor Bill Gossman and Mayor Pro-Temp Denis Anderson will be leading participants on the bike ride from each of their communities.  Each group will meet in Spicer at the Lion’s Shelter in downtown Spicer.

The ride and picnic are FREE, but pre-registration is required!

Starting location for each community:

Spicer:  Glacial Lakes State Trail Parking Lot (across from Mel’s Sport Show)

New London:  New London Parking Lot (across from the New London Legion)

Willmar:  Glacial Lakes State Trail Parking Lot (adjacent to the Willmar Civic Center).

The picnic is being hosted by the Spicer Beautification / Design Committee.

To Register:

Email  or call 320-235-3552.

Additional information is available at

See you on the Trail!!

Mayor’s Bike Ride



Mar 10

Looking for something to do?

Looking for something fun to do in the Willmar Lakes Area but not sure where to look?  Check out the online version of our 2014 Visitor Guide on our website  The Willmar Lakes Area is filled with a variety of different activities and the guide will help you select what things you would like to try.  It lists area attractions, lakes, restaurants, events and so much more!!  If you are interested in a paper copy of the guide, please give us call at 320-235-3552 ext. 2 or email!



Mar 07

It’s a Murder Mystery!

A real whodunit… ok…not really but enjoy a great Murder Mystery event at the Spicer Castle tonight, Friday, March 7th!!  If you haven’t tried one yet, tonight is the night!  They are offering specials on their Murder Mystery tickets for tonight.  The deal is by one get one free!!!  Give the Spicer Castle a call at 320-796-5870 and make your reservation!!!  You can go just for the dinner or even stay the night!!  The murder mystery starts at 8:00 p.m.


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