In 1951, an entrepreneur had big plans for Bemidji.
He brought a troupe of New York actors to the northern Minnesota town, set up a theater at a resort on the shore of Lake Bemidji and started a glorious season of summer stock.
Four weeks later, he was broke, and the actors were stranded.
Once, evening entertainment in Door County consisted of watching the sun set over Green Bay.
Then, at the turn of the century, the seven sons of the Eagle Bluff lighthouse keepers formed a band to entertain at various
gatherings, arriving with a horse-drawn piano.
The arts scene really got going in 1935, when the first theater was founded on the lawn of a Fish Creek motel. The same year,
a Danish landscape architect from Chicago started the first arts school. In 1953, the first music festival was founded.
Just two miles from the start of the Bois Brule, another famous river flows in the opposite direction.
It's the St. Croix, flowing out of Upper St. Croix Lake and toward the Mississippi River. The two rivers are separated by a continental divide but became an important water highway for Indians, explorers and fur traders.
Today, their two-mile portage trail is part of the North Country National Scenic Trail and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In winter, the stage is set for skiers and snowmobilers.
But not everyone is cool with the cold. Luckily, winter also is the peak cultural season, making it a good time to stay
indoors and be entertained.
So there’s no reason to treat winter as a tragedy — unless you’ve got tickets for “Othello,’’ of course.
In southeast Minnesota, along the Mississippi and in its bluffs, fans of folk music and the blues will realize they're really
Country as in friendly and down-home. Country as in far from the bright lights and big city.
Out in the countryside, music sounds different. In an old general store in Oak Center, it's toasty warm, like late-afternoon