Third week of April 2015


What a grand week we had last week, especially weather-wise.  We had terrific guests on the weekend, with all of us attending Taste Of Wabasha at the National Eagle Center Saturday night.  We had donated a one night stay for the silent auction, which our guests bought and immediately gave to us for the first night’s payment!  Then Carol and I WORKED in the yard all week.  We went to Waumandee, WI (over hill and dale past Alma) to Cowsmo Compost and got a pickup load of compost to spread on the garden and flowers.  004011Took most of the day with cleaning the truck.  We tilled garden and moved a row of raspberries, raked fall messes, and fertilized and thatched the yard.  Carol even got onions and potatoes planted.  I also got some lawn patching and seeding completed.  The oil was changed in 2 lawn mowers, after which one decided not to run so hauled it to repair shop. Retrieved the old 14 foot Aluma Craft from storage and cleaned it up to sell, which I did in 2 days (LUCKY!).

Of course, every evening we grilled something for a meal, which is a great wind-down for me.002

We took two grandkids to their school carnival and Carol spent an afternoon at her book club.  This past weekend we did not have any guests for the first time since November, I think (It was OK.), so Sunday we went out for breakfast at Pier 4 in Alma (one of our favorites after home) and then hit an antique shop which was new to us.  Got a few glass pieces to use at the B&B and had a good day.   Yesterday was rainy and cooler and windy, and today is cold and windy.  We did get 0.6 inches of rain to help work in all the fertilizer, so that is good.  Today is a “putter inside” day.  Wednesday is Carol’s birthday so I am Carrot.pecan cheese cake 4taking her to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater to see a musical.  This coming weekend we are back to work as a B&B, and I think we have bookings way through mid July (but we are not full by any means- so keep those calls coming!!).

I now have a photo shop program which I am just starting to use.  I have a long way to go as it is smarter than I am.  But being an ORG (old retired guy), I will have time to play with it.  This bridge picture I took while working at the Eagle Center one Tuesday when the river was glassy-calm.  Thought it was neat.  It got hundreds of hits on my facebook page.

Bridge 1_edited-1Be well and safe travels.  Bill

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March and Eagles moving through.

We are coming up on the 3rd Friday and Saturday of March, and the eagles are grouping up and moving north for the breeding season.  We have seen more in the past few days than all winter.  Last weekends guest were thrilled, and I think this weekend will be even better.  Speaking of which, we had a cancellation yesterday, so we have the Garden suite open Friday and Saturday this weekend.  Might be the last good weekend of eagle viewing this year.  Give us a call!


I caught an interesting train engine passing yesterday.  It is a DM&E engine which Canadian Pacific owns now.  Check out the picture.


We celebrated St. Pat’s Day  by going to the Olde Triangle Pub in Wabasha and having the corn beef and cabbage special along with the Guiness and Steak soup, and the obligatory glass of Guiness.  The corn beef was fantastic.  Jake and Karen do a great job with their Pub.  001

And, SOAR with the eagles at The National Eagle Center is still in progress this weekend (and the next).  Special bird shows Sat and Sun and special programs at NEC itself.


Make the call and have a terrific weekend of Eagles and relaxation.

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Finally March!!

March is finally here, even though the weather man has not figured it out yet.  March is usually one of my favorite months.  It starts with temps in the 20s and 30s and finishes 001with temps in the 40s and 50s.  You can usually depend on a couple of good heavy snow falls in March, then melting and snow man making weather.  St. Patrick’s Day is a good holiday (Mrs. Dunn really likes it.), and my birthday is in March!  The migratory birds along the Mississippi start moving and maybe even barge traffic


Oriole 2(I saw an article in the Star Tribune about Viking cruises from Europe starting Mississippi River cruises in 2016.).

What is not to like?  We start planning the flower gardens and vegetable gardens and get out of the cave-man-mode.

August yard 017

Another plus for March now that I live in Reads Landing and volunteer at the National Eagle Center is SOAR.  The eagle center brings in special bird programs from around the nation each weekend.  They also have special programs at the NEC for kids and this year a new program about eagles around the world aimed more at adults.  Check out their web site for a full schedule (www.nationaleaglecenter .org).


If you have been to SOAR before, do not hesitate to come back.  New ideas and programs this year.  SOAR started in 1993 outside on the dock as a one-day event and has grown to a 4-weekend event now.  Last year 11,000 people attended SOAR.  Amazing  (Wabasha only has a population of about 2500.).  The sad thing will be that as SOAR ends, and the ice melts and goes, so will most of the eagles until next November.  BUT, we do have several nesting pairs in the area to keep track of.

Walk with Carol 024

We usually are well booked up for SOAR, but this year we have plenty of openings so far, in fact, this coming weekend 3/6-3/7 we only have one booking.

This  year my orchids have decided to start blooming in March.  Anxious for all 6 to have blooms open.  They are pretty.  It is hard not to buy more as I see them when out shopping.  But, my orchid table is only so big.  Probably a good thing!

Orchid + cardinal 001

I think I will go out and sharpen the lawn mower blade!  Bill


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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


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  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 ( 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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