Historic Pine Island's Paths To The Past

Pine Island has three new self-guided walking and biking paths that highlight the history of Pine Island while promoting active living.  Each path meanders through town, stopping at intriguing sites along the way.  To get started, pick up one of the free 14-page guides in Pine Island.  Each guide provides everything you need:  map, directions, historical information, and old-time photos.  Choose the path that most interests you, challenge yourself to two, or go for the gusto and do all three.  Themes and highlights include:

Historical Trivia Trail

This 2.2-mile path tests and builds your knowledge of local and not-so-local trivia.  At twelve stations you will be asked to uncover the reasoning behind area oddities.  For those who have always wondered how a land-locked city came to be named "Pine Island", this path holds the answer.  Hints are provided to spark your inner sleuth.  Each station on the Historical Trivia Trail ends with bonus trivia for an added brain-cell boost.

Young People's Path

Curious and active youngsters will enjoy the ten child-oriented stops on this path.  Only 0.6 mile in length, it is well suited for families with younger children or multiple ages of children.  Even grownups will want to take part in the built-in "Just for Fun" activities--such as locating a stone marker along an old railroad bed and searching for fossil fragments in limestone.  The Young People's Path offers a fresh perspective on Pine Island often overlooked by adults.

Homes & Heritage Trail

Pine Island counts itself fortunate that so many historic homes remain standing today.  The Homes and Heritage Trail visits eleven of these homes, eight in town (1.0 mile) and three in the country (4.5 miles).  In addition to highlighting architectural detail, the guide shares information about former home owners--such as a Civil War vet, a colorful family doctor, and a bird-loving spinster.  A crossword puzzle at the end of the guide tests your recall of the path.


To accommodate anyone in need of a bike to use while traveling Historic Pine Island's Paths to the Past, the Borrow-A-Bike Shop is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM.  Bikes and bike helmets are available free of charge.  Children may borrow bikes with the signed authorization of a parent or guardian.  The Borrow-A-Bike Shop is located in the Old Butter Factory, situated west of the City Park located at the north end of the Douglas Trail.

Guides and Stickers, too

To obtain a free guide for each of the paths, visit one of seven locations in Pine Island:  Pool & Pins/The Island Sports Bar & Grill, Better Brew Coffeehouse, Arel's Flowers & Gifts, Pine Island Sports Bar & Liquor Store, Rainbow Cafe & Catering, Gorman's Main Street Meat Market or Cathy's Catering & Cafe.  After finishing a path, feel free to return to the location for a free "I did it!" sticker.  Each path has its own sticker, something kids love to collect.

Historic Pine Island's Paths to the Past --available to the public all year long--became a reality through a Minnesota State Health Improvement Program grant.  The Pine Island Image Committee, a group of community-minded volunteers, developed the paths and accompanying guides with help from the Pine Island Area Historical Society.  Individuals, organizations and businesses generously covered the cost of printing, so everyone can enjoy the Paths to the Past free of charge.

Stop by Pine Island today, in a few weeks, or later this fall.  All three guides are available now.  Pick one up, and get started down the path to a healthier lifestyle and learn more about Historic Pine Island.

NOTE:  The above information was excerpted with permission from an article by Heidi Magnuson that was published in the July 5, 2012, issue of the Zumbrota News/Record.