Brooke Thingvold, Pony express
As the season of winter starts to fade before spring officially arrives, the local Minnesota and Wisconsin community decided to usher it in with a unique event, the Chocolate March. Anyone who wishes to buy a ticket for it can go on a self guided tour throughout various inns and bed and breakfasts in Stillwater and Hudson. Not only does it promote local involvement, it also brings recognition and business to antiquated bed and breakfasts that are sure to charm anyone.
For three weeks in March, the tour was held each Sunday. From week to week, the bed and breakfasts and inns vary so the same person could buy tickets for each week, yet have a varied experience every time. Each inn had a different assortment of chocolates, so monotony was completely out of the question.
Whether it’s a local or a tourist, everybody loves the idea of an inn combined with gourmet chocolates.
“Chocolate and old buildings, that’s an unbeatable combination,” said Sue Dorweiler, a local. “To get inside a B&B without a reservation for a room is a lovely opportunity.”
Stillwater and its surrounding communities are well known for their quaintness and antiquity. Many people enjoy the feeling of this coziness, and bring in business to local, small businesses like the bed and breakfasts. Due to the small town ambiance of Stillwater, it is fun for owners of these B&B’s to recognize tourists.
“We’ve had so many people come who said they were maids here,” said Elaine Sommer, proprietor of the Summit Inn. “We’ve owned it 32 years, and people say, ‘Oh, it’s the Wennerberg house.”
It’s fun for the people unaccustomed to the “personality” of Stillwater to come and visit, and fall in love with the loveliness of the town. Each different place to visit has its own aura and ambiance, and anyone can notice it.
“Each B&B does reflect the innkeeper’s personality,” said Sommer. “I think that’s the fun part of B&Bs, quite honestly.”
As is evident, the Chocolate March has brought people closer into the community by teaching them how to appreciate the local culture and antiquity. Both locals and newcomers enjoy the Chocolate March, and the Stillwater Community looks forward to it next year to repeat this fun tradition of intercounty traveling.
This piece is provided by Hoof Prints, a partnership between The Gazette and the Pony Express. Stillwater Area High School’s student newspaper.