Mid February and Still WINTER!!

Valentines Day has come and gone and guess which holiday is next?  Here come the Irish!



We had a successful Valentines weekend, with both suites full both days.  All guests had a heart-shaped box of chocolates on their pillow (nice touch Carol!) and they all appreciated it.  We had another very enjoyable and visity group (the couples we host are still the best part of the B&B operation).

Mrs. Dunn found a book she really liked and has been looking for it for some time as we shopped.  She finally went the www. route and it arrived this past week.  It is delightful.

Frost book 002

Inspired somewhat by the book and more by our location and the beauty around us I talked Carol into a walk out along the old railroad point and then down the river’s backwater ice edge.  This is a route I take each Thursday to count eagles.  It is rugged and cold and just beautiful.  These next pictures are my version of Robert Frosts snowy woods.



Walk with Carol 006


Walk with Carol 001






Walk with Carol 014

Walk with Carol 024







Walk with Carol 025

The nest is just down from our B&B, and the eagle is the nest’s hopefully-to-be-Mom watching us invade her area. She and the “dad” have been busy arranging things in preparation of egg-laying (I assume anyway).


Besides St. Patrick’s Day coming, March at the National Eagle Center features their yearly SOAR events.  We usually fill up for those 4 weekends, but at present have some openings available.  Give us a call after checking out the events at www.TheNationalEagleCenter.org.


The SOAR programs are on the weekends of March 7  & 8, and 14 & 15, and 21 & 22, and 28 & 29.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and the information.  Come see us.  We would love to share this beautiful area with you.             Bill

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Winter February Day at The River Nest

Fox 002As seen in this photo, we are not just about eagles.  We see all kinds of wild life at The River Nest.  Mrs. Dunn caught this fox loping along on the ice out front.

Otter walk 013This is a not-so-great picture of otter trails.  The footprints are on top of the slide trail they make.  There is evidence of several of them in this area.  The next picture better shows the slide.  They go “step, step, slide——- about 5 to 6 feet”.   They tend to be mostly nocturnal, so did not see an otter on this trip.

Otter walk 010

We have had a good assortment of visitors lately.  They range from an MD to a cab driver and a retired policeman and an IT employee.   A couple of weeks back, I got a call from the National Eagle Center wondering if I would be willing to take someone eagle viewing.  I am generally up to such things.  The lady agreed to come to our place on a Friday morning at 8:30 am.  As I was having morning coffee we had a flurry of activity around 7:30, so I called her to see if she could come earlier.  She got here about 8:15 and of course the activity was pretty much over.  We did walk over the tracks and up along the old railroad bed, then down along the rivers edge.  We saw over 20 eagles, and stood under a tree with a juvenile right above us.  The lady was just thrilled.  Turns out she is a retired lawyer and judge from California looking to relocate in the area.  Very interesting to visit with.  Hope she ends up in Wabasha.

We continue to stay busy, which is good.  We are pretty much booked up for February (weekends anyway), and some bookings in March.  SOAR is coming to the National Eagle Center the last 4 weekends in March, and they will have many extra activities and programs to enjoy.  Check out their web page at www.nationaleaglecenter.org.  It makes a great adventure and we have a fantastic place to stay and relax and unwind.  We feed you well too! Creme Brulee French ToastThis is a guest taken picture of the Creme Brulee French Toast breakfast with maple sausage links and and egg to your liking, fruit dish with vanilla yogurt, juice and coffee. Desert with this meal is crepes with raspberry filling.  The pre-breakfast treat is Carol’s homemade scones with homemade jam (that is served in your suite an hour before breakfast).

Hope to host you soon!   Bill.006

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Mid January

Here we are in mid January and we are having another “un-normal” winter.  What is 002normal?  We went from roses blooming to ice, snow and severe cold in mid November, kind of normal December, then severe cold again late December and early January and now unusual warmth in mid January.  Business at the River Nest is pretty normal, but the eagle numbers are not.  We still have eagles, but not thePileated breakfast 002 hundreds of years past.  Now I count for the NEC each Thursday and see numbers in the 20s and maybe 40s.  Was I spoiled?  Probably.  The woodpeckers have been busy and numerous, even the Pileated has graced us with appearances.  The Mississippi has vacillated from mostly frozen over to wide open.  We have many Mergansers and Golden Eye ducks, and the DNR has counted 68 swans in the Reads Landing area.009

In 10 years we have only had one booking snafu.  That resulted in us sending a certificate for a one night stay as our guests.  That couple stayed this past weekend.  We were very glad to host them.  Thanks Jennifer and Ian.  They were looking for good eagle pictures 269and were successful.  The best picture they got was just down the street from the NEC.  An adult eagle likes to perch in a tree right above the street and river.  It is there often when I volunteer at the NEC, and I wonder if Rolf Thompson has it on staff.?

12.16 blog 004Our Christmas decorations are finally down (thanks Valentine 002warmer weather).  Valentines day is coming and we have only a Friday night left that weekend.  SOAR with the eagles is coming up in March at the NEC, and we have March about 1/2 booked already.  If you are planning to come for SOAR, don’t delay in 72calling.Special occassion cake

Track fire 002The railroad workers have been busy even in the cold.  Our switch mechanism out front seems to need a lot of work.  They are here for it about every two weeks.  We also had a track laying train out front for a few days.  They carry track that I think is 1/2 mile long and can “lay” it down off the back to replace Rail train 008or build new.  The machinery they use is amazing to me.  The engineering involved boggles my mind.





We are open and look forward to hosting you.  There are a lot of friends out there we have not met yet.  (651-560-4077)  Bill.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

12.16 blog 004We are quite into the holiday spirit at The River Nest.  Carol, with the help of grandsons Jonas and William, has done a nice job of decorating inside (I did help put up the tree).  We have all our outside lights up, and added a few new ones this year.  We put all white and blue lights on our spruce tree out front to honor fallen officers (especially Lake City officer Shawn), and it is quite striking. (I took a picture but it did not turn out very well.)  We also purchased a train to put on the front of the deck.  It is about 8 feet long and really neat and well lit- took two of us to get it up.  We are using the special Christmas plates and glasses for our breakfast, and Carol even made eggnog scones this past weekend.  Over all we are quite festive.  I want to thank all who have done Christmas shopping at The River Nest- Carol has been busy sending out purchased gift certificates the past couple of days. (What a great gift idea!!)  We are staying busy.  Last weekend was booked and this coming weekend is nearly full also.  We are full of family over Christmas, and New Years eve is booked.  We look forward to having our 3 sons home for Christmas.  Youngest, Anthony, has been drafted to cook the meat for Christmas dinner.  He does a fantastic job of smoking ribs on the Weber grill.  Man are they good.

12.16 blog 005After a vicious November weather wise, December has been almost too good.  We have had a few days of 30’s and 40’s and even 3 days in a row of 50.  That has pretty much eliminated the ice on the river, which has allowed the eagles to spread out so we are not seeing the normal numbers of them out front.  There are still many, just not the hundreds of past years.  Today we have 20’s and a strong NW wind and several have been soaring out front.  The river is so fascinating and constantly changing and I am enthralled with watching it.323winter-river-view

Carol and I want to wish each and all a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2015.  Come see us.  We would love to host you for a weekend – so many friends out there we haven’t met yet.


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Weekend guests and eagles

Caramel Rolls

Caramel Rolls

This past weekend was especially good.  Thanksgiving evening we had both suites filled, so served the full 4 course breakfast complete with caramel rolls, quiche, and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, AND had the turkey and stuffing in the oven by 10:30.  Carol is a good organizer.  Two of our sons, my brother and his 2 boys joined us for the day.  An extra treat was014 son #3 (Anthony) showing up with 2 racks of pork ribs which he grilled/smoked on the Weber.  He likes to use SPICES.  One had curry and one Montreal steak seasoning, and both were cooked the last hour with sweet baby rays barbecue with honey/chipotle sauce.  They were absolutely fantastic.  So we had the big turkey dinner at about 2 and instead of turkey left overs we had the ribs at about 7.  We have invited him to do the same for Christmas.  Overall, it was a great day.

081119-N-9565D-014Our Friday/Saturday guests were great, and a walk down memory lane for me (and Carol). We hosted a retired Navy Master Chief and his wife. He had been a Nuke on submarines. (Nuke stands for nuclear reactor plant operator.)  I had spent 6 years in the Navy as a Nuke also (aircraft carrier), so it was just fun to talk about that life again.  We had been to many of the same duty places, he later on than me, but it was fun to share experiences.  I don’t run into many who understand what that life was like.  Also, since I was a Viet Nam vet I rarely bring my service up- still deep scars. TaskForce_One

They other couple for Saturday night also had a connection to our past, as they work with 2 of my former Veterinary School classmates.  Of course that brought up many good stories to share.  So it was an enjoyable weekend, steeped in memories.

That has been the best aspect of having a B&B- the people and their lives.  Everyone is unique in some way and they all have a past.  It is fun to learn what life is like for others; how they met, what they do, raising the kids, where they have traveled– all that without politics and religion!Ice eagles 006

Besides the good time with family and guests, this was the first weekend that the eagles were very active.  It appears that they are back for the winter.  If you would like a winter retreat with fantastic eagle watching, make the call.  December is filling and we have a few bookings for January and February already.  He who hesitates stays at the AmericInn.  Nice place, but a view of the highway, no fireplace and no Mrs. Dunn’s breakfast.

Thanks for reading.  Safe travels and as Carol always says “Be well”!Bed and Breakfast Wabasha MN Eagle Viewing

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Back to blogging.

I sort of took the summer off from blogging I guess, seeing the last blog was in April.  Good grief Charlie Brown!  We have had an amazing summer and fall business wise.  Thank you one and all.  We took 2 weeks off in early November and vacationed.  We went via train003 from Red Wing Mn to Seattle WA.  Something new for us and fun.  We spent 2 days enjoying Seattle, then rented a car and headed down the coast.  The 158Washington coast was grand, and the Oregon coast was fantastic.  Carol’s cousin and husband acted as guide and we saw places we would not have on our own.  Such beauty and ruggedness.  My favorite along with the Cascades in eastern Washington.  We also saw some of upper CA coast and then were amazed through the Red Woods.  WOW.  We made a return trip to the wine country (were there 40 years 037ago) and found it ain’t the same (surprise!)  Way over grown with city and people, totally loosing its charm.  We will be totally happy with our local wineries, and be glad we have them.  We saw relatives in San Jose CA and had great visits.  We even got to Monterey and Carmel on the CA coast.  Lastly, San Francisco on Veteran’s Day was not a wise choice.

It is good to be home again.  We left Reads Landing with 50 degree temps and our roses still blooming and returned to 20’s and snow.  OUCH.  One good thing about this weather 011is the eagles are coming back.  Seeing many more that when we left.  We are ready for a busy winter and eagle watching.  November is not booked, but December, January and February are filling ( we made 3 bookings just today).  If you are thinking about it, act sooner that later.  I did not count, but we probably turned down more that 30 people in October.  The colors were really astounding this year, and people were out.  Hope to hear from you this winter.  Bill.



PS.  Check out our facebook page (www.facebook.com/therivernestbedandbreakfast) for a neat video of sea lions barking on the shore in Oregon.

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Special Meals at The River Nest B&B–always available.

Bed and breakfasts are unique compared to regular hotels.  At The River Nest B&B you get IMG_1072some terrific amenities, private bath, walk-in shower, separate bedroom with queen bed, sitting room with jacuzzi, in wall fireplace between the bedroom and sitting room and a private deck.  But a great part of B&B’s usually is THE BREAKFAST!!  I will admit I have been to B&B’s that did a poor job of breakfast.  Some were just POOR and blase’.  One we had to beg for something besides cold cereal (They had eggs etc, but you had to ask and the help really did not want to be bothered.), and once we got a voucher to go next door to a coffee shop.  Are you kidding me????  Not at The River Nest B&B!


Mrs. Dunn takes pride in her breakfasts, and makes them special. (Everything is made right here in our kitchen from scratch.)  You will get treats (caramel rolls, scones, or muffins) in your suite with coffee (or breakfast beverage of choice) an hour before the real breakfast—nice way to wake up and get ready for the day. After the hour, you come out to the main dining area and have BREAKFAST.  Always a fruit dish which varies depending on season (Have you ever had a poached pear?? They are wonderful.).  Next you get the Quiche and breadmain entree which will be an egg bake of some kind.  Quiche, Mexican egg bake, sausage bake (which is served with Dr. Dunn’s fantastic applesauce pancakes)— or one other alternative is Creme Brulee French toast (This comes with a side egg cooked to your liking, and sausage links.).  Mrs. Dunn has a special recipe for orange-cinnamon bread that she uses in this one. When is the last time you had fresh, warm, home made buns?   Always you have coffee, juice, water and milk with your breakfast.  Our coffee is a special roast we get from Gloria Jean’s called “Mudslide“.  Our guests generally really like it.——

018——AND—drum-roll—–you will get dessert!!!  We Pie Season!serve heart-shaped chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (birthdays and anniversaries get candles and singing), apple crisp, hot milk cake with fresh strawberries or raspberries (in season) or crepes.  Occasionally you get your own pie!

Not only do you get fed very well, we can cater to special dietary needs.  When you call to reserve a suite, we will ask about any dietary restrictions.  Mrs. Dunn can do vegetarian, sugar free, and gluten free.  She has even had request for dairy free and MSG free (Those are not easy, but doable.).   How easy is it to get this kind of special treatment at other bed and breakfasts or or even at restaurants???Special occassion cake

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Farewell March, hello April. Will winter ever end???

Here we are at the 24th of March already.  After several weeks of lesser eagle activity, we have had a lot lately, especially in the mornings.  It seems they are slowly moving back farther north to the summer breeding areas.  The 3 nests close to us all have birds sitting 323on them.  Do not know if they have eggs.  The snow has melted to the point where things are brown, ugly and dirty.  We need some heat for green, but this winter just will not give up–6 degrees yesterday am and 12 today.  The coming weekend looks promising, but that could change. (The picture with the 3 eagles flying got over 1500 hits on facebook!)

Two weekends ago we hosted a young couple making their first visit at a B&B.  We do have a relaxing, romantic setting, and it worked out great for them.  Peter proposed to Ashley, and she accepted!  They proudly announced it at breakfast Sunday morning.  We wish Special occassion cakethem the best, and hope they spend the honeymoon here!!

Three weekends ago we were booked up and both couples called on Thursday and cancelled, leaving us empty for the weekend.  That is a first, and hopefully a LAST.  This past weekend we were full and next weekend we are full again.  SOAR at The National Eagle Center ended this past weekend.  They really draw the people into Wabasha and the area as they will have 800 to 1300 people visit a day on the weekends of SOAR.  Watch for info about it next January and plan ahead.003stack eagles 008

I keep forgetting to let people know that we are right on the state MRT, which stands for Mississippi River Trail, a marked biking route along the Mississippi River and it goes right by our door.  We would make a good over night stop.

The next big event to get your bookings in for is the 100 mile garage sale the first weekend in May.  We have Thursday bookings, but not Friday and Saturday yet.  We are right in the middle of the action-you can garage sale all day then come relax in the jacuzzi with a glass of wine afterward.002

We do enjoy hosting couples and finding out what other lives are all about, and look forward to meeting YOU.

An eagle just landed in the “flare” tree out front.  Gotta get my camera.  Until next time…….  Bill011

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The winter with the teeth of a wolf!

The winter of 2014 will go down in this house as the winter with the teeth of a wolf.  It011 003latched on and would not let go!!  Yet another week of highs in the 006teens and lows below zero – and it is to last util next Sunday at the minimum.  POOP.  We continue to have some guests, although  one couple cancelled last weekend due to poor road conditions.  Funny how the couple from Kasson, MN could not make it, but the couple from Arlington, SD did make it.  Such is life.  Even the eagles are not liking this winter near us.  We usually can count over a hundred right out front each morning, but this year only 40 to 50, which is still many for our guests, for whom they are rare, just disappointing to us.  We are spoiled. Eagle Weekend 350rev We did have guests 2 weeks ago who had a digital camera and had Eagle Weekend 188revtaken some classes on use.  They got some fantastic pictures of eagles in the area and agreed to let us share them with everyone.  I have put some on facebook (www.facebook.com/therivernestbedandbreakfast), and will put some in this blog.  So special thanks to Curt and Lisa.  We hope they visit again.  Eagle Weekend 099rev

Eagle Weekend 220revComing up in March is SOAR With the Eagles month at The National Eagle Center in Wabasha.  They have many extra programs planned.  Please check their web page for all the info (www.thenationaleaglecenter.org).  We are usually pretty full during SOAR, but do have some openings.  Call and check with us – the weekend of March 1st is full however.

My orchids started blooming again a week ago.  They are doing well, and so pretty.  Will share a picture.  004

Last and not least, DOES ANYONE really read these blogs???  I have no way of knowing.  It is too much work if no one is reading them.  So drop me an email and let me know if you read them (billnvac@gmail.com).  I would really like to hear from you.  Our web guru really pushed the blogging, but didn’t let me know how to get any feedback.New center logo all pages

Please remember to “like” us on facebook and go to Trip-Advisor and give us a review (good would be preferred!!).

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For a winter get away check out The River Nest B&B

We are all spruced up and ready for visitors.  Last fall we had both suites repainted and freshened up.  This past month we redid the living room and dining room on the main floor as well as the stairs, hallway and lower level family room.  It really brightened things up, and gave us a chance to redo some pictures (move them around and hang up some 007different ones).  You can see from the picture we did a lot of shuffling around for this job.

We are fully booked for Valentines weekend, as well as this one coming up.  We do have openings for the month of March, which is a great month to come to our area and participate in the SOAR activities at the National Eagle Center.  We usually fill up pretty well for March because of SOAR. We don’t require a two night stay like some places either.   Maybe the weather will even be more pleasant!  Valentine 002

We still have numerous eagles to view right out front of our B&B.  You can plan on seeing at least 60 every morning.  72

We are ready to host you, so give us a call and book a room.  We offer flexibility with our breakfasts also–we can make  sugar free, meat free, gluten free, and have even done MSG free.  Mrs Dunn can work wonders in the kitchen, with fantastic tasty results.



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