Thursday, July 8, 2010

house stalking...minnesota style

If you just happen to live in Minnesota...or Wisconsin...and in the last few days saw a tall, dark haired girl standing in your front yard week photographing your house...and then your neighbor's house...and then the house across the street...

it was probably me.

I have a house obsession. I need therapy, I know.

I get home from a roadtrip and find I have 999 photos of complete stranger's houses...and 2 of my sweet husband. That is some thanks I give him since he drives the get-away car on my house stalking adventures!But these houses I had to share. Maybe you won't understand because you were not there to experience the charming little town that went along with these beauties, but I couldn't help but show you some of my 999 photos!

All of the houses in this post were in a tiny little town called Wabasha, Minnesota. It has a little claim to fame as the town where the "Grumpy Old Men" movies were filmed. I can totally see why Hollywood came knocking on the doors of this Mississippi River town.

I parked the car, stepped onto the sidewalk and could have sworn I was thrust back in time to Mayberry USA. A police car went by and I had to check to see if Andy Griffith was behind the wheel. It was wholesome and beautiful, just as Smalltown USA should be.

There was not a speck of dirt on the sidewalks. Each old-fashioned lamp post had a cascading basket of flowers hanging from it. Main Street was lined with cute little coffee shops and diners with an antique store or two sprinkled in here and there.

 I loved every minute of my time there.

I would looooove to have a porch like this one below! I would have a party every night of the week just so everyone could enjoy my view!

If you are not familiar with what goes along with living on the Mississippi River...let me give you a few words.

Gorgeous - Stunning - and Incredible views!

365 days a year you  have sparkling water, orange foliage or snow covered trees out your front window.

This one reminds me of a Nantucket beach house. So charming and simple.

And have I ever mentioned just how crazy I am about metal roofs??

Yes, its true. I love them.

And the lights above the garage door, too!

This one just screamed Minnesota simplicity.

American flag.

 Brick walk.


But this little lady was the highlight of my photo session. She was the sweetest 88 year old woman I think I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I caught her tending to her window boxes early one morning. I snapped a few candid pics before I walked over to say hello.

She was as sweet as apple pie. She told me her husband bought her this house on the river 58 years ago and it will be only in this home that she draws her last breath.

It brings tears to me eyes just thinking about it.

Every morning the first thing she does is wake up to check the river.

She told me her soul is in this house, and in this little town...but mostly in the river view she has seen every morning for 58 years.  

I am always so happy to hear of someone that has such love for their home. It makes me smile even more when she is 88 and her home is so full of memories.

This lovely home made me do a double-take!

It is an octagon shaped house with a room at the top that would make a perfect office for me! Oh, to have a room up in the trees...I would never leave!

And those corbels... *sigh* is possible to really be in love with a corbel??

Because I am .

Another subject for my therapy sessions.

But it was the porch that really had me going crazy.

Love it.

That's all I can say.

Hope you enjoyed my little house your of little 'ol Wabasha, Minnesota! I feel better now that I have shared the love.

Oooh...and do you know what I just realized??

This is post #99 for the Urban Farmgirl!!!

You know what that means....right??

A giveaway for the next post!!

Can I get a little "woohoo!" from everyone out there?? You know I am gonna make it something good!


  1. one of these is mine ... can u guess which one?

  2. I adore all these makes me wish I lived in MN. I used to go there to camp when I was a kid and never saw this beauty...thanks so much for sharing.

  3. WOOH HOO!!!!! :-)))))

    Oh Mary.. you have captured my heart with this post!!!! Each home has so much character and personality... every one completely loved and cared for by her owner. Just as it should be!:)

    Happy Weekend, my friend!

  4. Woo Hoo!! Way to go!

    What gorgeous homes! I love large porches, especially wrap around porches. The octagon shaped house is enough to make me swoon!

    ~ Tracy

  5. Lovely lovely post - this is a picture postcard town, isn't it?

    I'm mostly in love with that view myself; absolutely stunning.

    :) Laura

  6. Okay, this was an amazing post. I am right there with you on the house obsession! I always wondered if it was okay to take pictures of others houses or if it was some sort of invasion of have given me confidence... ; ) I love all the white, so clean and beautiful! The flowers are amazing, love the porches, and the lights over the garage are soooo cool! LOVED this post!

  7. Just in one word. Breathtaking beatifull houses!!!

    Love your blog!

    Have a lovely day.

  8. Oh that lucky little lady - in a charming house with a river view for all those years! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.


  9. Fabulous photos!!! Those houses were worthy of "love" and "affection"!! Well done!
    And congrats on your #99 post! That is super!

  10. Hi - these are just perfection - honestly if I were to describe the quintessential American house it would look like one of these. The words about the lady who house holds her soul - that does bring tears. I love it when people have such an affiliation with a place; where it sort of becomes part of them. I bet that is a happy house. Lou x

  11. Hi Mary you will get a woo hoo from this girl in Oz. I am so glad you need therapy because that means that I get to see all these beautiful American homes. The details are outstanding, just beautiful..something our homes in Oz are sadly lacking...Thanks for taking me on a tour of the town! Have a lovely weekend Kym X

  12. those homes are just absolutely beautiful! Every single one of them...sigh...

  13. Well, I just loved that post!! Great photos and every one of those homes made me want to sigh. Thanks for the fabulous tour!

  14. They are so beautiful and well kept! I'm already planning a future trip to this little town. Now to get hubby on board with it. He is used to stopping to take photos of houses, barns, gardens along the way. By the way, I love corbels too. And turned porch posts. And wooden doors.

    Thanks for sharing! Oh, and congratulations on 99 posts!! Whoot whoot!

  15. All the homes are so beautiful! Love the story of the lady, reminds me of my grandma! She is waiting to see grandpa in her next home "heaven" breaks my heart when she talks like that!
    When my guys were babies and cranky I would put them in the car and drive around looking at houses, they were happy and alseep and I was happy looking at things I love most :) Enjoy your weekend!

  16. Wow... these houses make me dream!!! Thank you!

  17. Where did you say these beautiful homes are located "Dreamland"!!

  18. Reminds me of driving through small towns in SC on my way to Myrtle Beach on Rte 9. LOVE these loved you can tell the people really care about their properties. I am a house stalker as well...know the feeling!

  19. I do live near here... and I'm sorry to report that the town is actually spelled, "Wabasha" but is certainly pronounced more like Wau-bah-shah. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the country landscapes-- this is one of the most beautiful areas in the Midwest if I can brag. :)

  20. Wow, I am drooling...drooling!! and do you know what kills me even more, these gorgeous houses are probably a fraction of what we pay for houses in California...ugh, I so need to move!! I want a porch and a view of the river and an 88 year old wonderful neighbor that loves her house, that was so sweet! ok, that's it, calling my real estate agent, WE ARE MOVING!

  21. My sisters & I are coming to the show in Sept & your wonderful pictures have made us want to take a little sidetrip. I lived in Mpls. for several years but don't remember this town. I do remember all the beautiful little towns though. Thanks for the tour & was wondering if you could go back around Christmas time & take more pics.

  22. I want to move into anyone of those houses. Gorgeous

  23. I loved your photo tour! What a charming town.

  24. last year I drove from MN to Iowa and back when I was there visiting my dad. I absolutely love mid-west homes (maybe because they remind me of my childhood). There is something about summer in MN - okay, aside from the heat, humidity, and mosquitos...
    have a love time my friend - happy friday!

  25. I loved the home tours esp. the older lady. How sweet. I have a thing about houses as well.

  26. i was born in illinois, grew up in indiana and wisconsin, and have called minnesota home for the past 14 years. there truly is something in the very fiber of the midwest that makes it a unique, amazing place to live. thank you for having the appreciation you do of the little things that make this region amazing! and i'm SO looking forward to hopefully bumping into you in shakopee in september!!

  27. WOOHOO!!

    OK you've got me drooling all over my computer (lol). These homes are amazing!! What a wonderful neighborhood this would be to live in!! I want to go with you on your next house stocking escapade...sounds like my kind of day. :)
    Thanks for sharing all of this wonderful eye candy with us!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Hugs ~ Jo :)

  28. Hey Mary...Love your blog...I have been known to come to a screeching halt in front of a fabulous house in order to take the perfect photo. I have no problem knocking on the door to find out who lives in these beauties and have always been greeted with a smile. Happy I found you.
    Your friend,

  29. Beautiful photos! Made me a little homesick, I grew up just a bit south of Wabasha, and my aunt and uncle still live there. We have several homes like this in my home town, we called those little rooms cupulas...when we were kids it seemed that these rooms where always closed off.
    Sometimes we were able to sneak up there and I remember it being extemely hot and stuffy! Hope you were able to experience the 'river road' along the Mississippi...between Wabasha and Lake City.

  30. Oh Mary! you are too funny.....but those houses are gorgeous! and so well taken!! you should do that for a help sell people's homes!!!

  31. Oh that octagon shaped house is to die for!!

  32. These are ALL wonderful, no wonder you took photos of each and every one. I sent a few to my husband, with a "honey, please DO!" attached.

    Please join FrenchGardenHouse for our Ruffled Table Linens GIVEAWAY~Lidy

  33. For sure WOOFREAKINHOO Mary....! WOW 100 posts (almost)....I've LOVED each & every one of your last 100 & can't wait for the next 100....!!

    Thanks so much for sharing these BEAUTIFUL homes....The architecture is just so different from anything we have here....I can't wait to come over in September for Junk Bonanza to start my own collection of pics of YUMMY homes....!!

    Cheers from Oz,
    Tanmarah :o)

  34. I am right there with you taking those pictures. They are all so beautiful. When we go to the zoo I always have to drive through my favorite neiborhood, it makes me happy and sad at the same time. Sometimes I stop and pick up the for sale flyer thinking its a little cottage, how much can it be? Then I get sad.
    Have a fabulous weekend!
    oh and here is my Woohoo!!!

  35. There's nothing like a small town. Those homes are wonderful. You need to come visit us, we have a gorgeous stretch of homes on our Main Street and several brick streets still left. Our park has a Chautauqua building that is beautiful! The Kaskaskia river runs along side town and we have a big dam . It is beautiful if I say so myself. If you are up for a 4 hr trip give us a holler, we put together a shindig!Glad you had a great trip. Hope you got some great junk!

  36. hello Urban Farmgirl. I love the houses you captured in your photographs- especially the last one. Come join me for my 100th post celebration. Your blog is beautiful.

  37. From one Minnesota farmgirl to another...swoon! I didn't see mine though;)

  38. Wow, thanks to you, the photographer, and to your husband, the driver of the getaway car, for the lovely home tour. I never tire of seeing what other places look like and i have to say you found a gorgeous one.

  39. You're not the only one that loves great houses -especially with wonderful porches and architectural splendor! Thanks for sharing the pics!

  40. I am a house-stalking fiend, too! Seriously, whenever I am in a new town, all I want to do is drive around and see the old, historic fabulous houses. My husband doesn't "get" my "sickness" (as he calls it)... but seriously.. sometimes the inspiration is so awe inspiring. Then I come home and want to do major alterations on our 4 year old stucco home. Haha... that's when my 'sickness' gets in the way of our budget!

  41. I just discovered your lovely blog, and I had to laugh! Your vacation photos sound like mine. I came home with not one photo of hubby. Lots of houses, architectural details ( I heart corbels, too!), gardens, wildflowers, assorted wild fungi, and a few shots of hubby's fam in St. Louis. Maybe I can go to therapy with you.

  42. I too love to drive and admire the charm some places have.I just did that this weekend in my home town pickens,sc.Some of the ones that are my favorite are the ones that are little with big charm.

  43. what stunning homes, all special in their own way! they are all so charming! can't even pick my favorite! have a great week! susan

  44. Oh my - thank you for taking us along on your journey - LOVING those homes! The post about that little old lady was so sweet too!

  45. Just discovered blogs and I am in awe of your the homes such a taste of pure American charm..I adore your reno's!

  46. That second photo with the long beautiful porch - I wouldn't want to be inside!

  47. I see why you took so many pictures. These homes are gorgeous and they remind me a lot of Cape Cod homes. The porches, the!

  48. Wow, all of these are simply gorgeous.

  49. Glad you had fun and that yuo are back. Call or email me, chickie. Question.

  50. Your husband drives the getaway car! hilarious!
    What beautiful photos!

  51. Congrats to U! I can't wait to see what u have for the Lucky Winner..............Woohoo!

    Dreamy Homes they are something else.~Cheers Kim

  52. Oh my....I love them all! but the porch takes the cake in my book....amazing:)

  53. Hi there
    I found you...through blogging from here to there...sort of a blog trip I think... *s*..
    I love these homes. I do the same kind of thing...loving road trips and homes along the way. These are all darling...if I had to choose...hmmmmm..
    thank you for sharing..
    come by and visit me too

  54. I am so glad that I am not the only one who stops on the side of the road and take picture's of beautiful homes. I am a stalker too and I love it....

  55. These homes are amazing!!! Love the view of the river, that's a slice of heaven...

    Your blog is great, I've enjoyed reading it!


  56. I know this is like, a month late, but I just found your blog! Little tidbit about Wabasha... My BFF was Wabasha County Dairy Princess for 2 years (consecutive)in high school. Like, she was in a pageant solely centered around dairy products and cows. (because she lived on a dairy farm). As winner, she was obligated to perform such venerated tasks as scooping ice cream at a local bank opening in her tiara, sash and ball gown.
    I've always loved the houses (and the people) in that area of MN. I miss it terribly. Anyhoo, I think your blog is the bomb so thanks!

  57. You are a girl after my own heart :-) Love this!

  58. Mary, I just found your blog and love it! I don't have a blog myself, right now I'm busy enjoying everyone else's and yours is one of my favorites. Thank you for sharing!

  59. I really Enjoyed to visit your Blog really very nice!

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