Scenic USA - Minnesota

Bluff Country Scenic Byway

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Bluff Country Farm - Lanesboro, Minnesota

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Minnesota's Route 16, tucked into the southeast corner of the state, is far enough from the bustle of Interstate 90 traffic to create a quiet addition to the state's eight major National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. Following the Root River Valley, under Bluff Country Byway Signage looming limestone palisades, the byway covers 88 miles from La Crescent to Dexter. Along the highway travelers will pass 10 small towns, two state parks, a natural area and many pastoral settings spaced between rich hardwood forests.
     Sometimes credited as being the first Europeans to discover North America, Norwegian immigration did not fully begin until 1825. Escaping religious persecution and overcrowding in their homeland, Norwegians came to America, traveled across the upper Midwest, and settled in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Here along the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway, Cliffs - Bluff Country Byway, MN visitors will discover the strong influence of a Norwegian-American population.
     Between 1825 and 1925, about one-third of Norway's population immigrated to America. Today Minnesota holds the distinction of having the greatest Norwegian population in America. Anchored by small towns and the arrival of the railroad, Minnesota's Norwegian farming communities flourished. Today, the byway hosts another growing farming population. Beginning in the 1970s, the Root River area began to attract a substantial Amish community.

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