I spent three days enjoying the scenic beauty of Dunrovin Retreat Center north of Stillwater. I was invited to be a guest along with my wife, Julie, and four children. The trip kicked off with a special blessing ceremony by Archbishop John Nienstedt on Sunday.
August 19, 2009
The event coincided with a youth retreat, so there were a bunch of teens present. It was neat to see their enthusiasm, along with a couple of moving testimonies by two of the people involved with the retreat.
Archbishop Nienstedt then took some time to bless the retreat center building, both inside and out. He walked around the building, then walked the halls sprinkling holy water. He moved very briskly and I had to huff and puff to keep up with him. He obviously is in very good shape, and easily could have walked the entire grounds.
I eventually did just that over the next two days. It’s a serene, beautiful place and the wildflowers are in full bloom. I was told by someone on staff that it’s one of the best blooms ever. I believe it. After taking a short walk along a winding, mowed path with Julie, I came back the next day with my camera.
As I strolled along a small pond, I saw a creature I’ve never spotted in the wild — an otter. Its face was unmistakable as it frolicked in the water and poked its head up to take a closer look at me. It froze for a moment and I caught sight of its long, slender body and tail. Then, it popped under the water and disappeared. I brought my No. 3 son, William, back for a look, but the otter never resurfaced.
I hope to get back to Dunrovin. It would be nice to go just with Julie. She seemed to really enjoy the surroundings and so did I. We also went to Taylor’s Falls and William O’Brien State Park. On our way back home, we stopped in Stillwater and took a tour of the city on a trolley. That was definitely a highlight of our trip. We all were facsinated with the history of this great river city. The trolley is a bit spendy, but it was well worth it for us.
And, the beautiful weather all three days made the trip just about perfect.