This year’s Christmas Inn Tour in Lanesboro will provide financial support to Scott Dixon, at right, and his family. Dixon was diagnosed with colorectal cancer last January and has spent the last year battling the disease with the help of his wife, Stela Burdt, and son, Kieren.
This year’s Christmas Inn Tour in Lanesboro will provide financial support to Scott Dixon, at right, and his family. Dixon was diagnosed with colorectal cancer last January and has spent the last year battling the disease with the help of his wife, Stela Burdt, and son, Kieren. SUBMITTED PHOTO

According to Peter Torkelson of the Scandinavian Inn, in Lanesboro, this year’s holiday inn tour has a special purpose. Every year, visitors to the lodging facilities in and around Lanesboro get a huge dose of holiday spirit. This year, those same visitors will have an added bonus of good will as they know a portion of their ticket sales are going to support a local family going through a difficult time.

Torkelson explained that $5 of each ticket sale at this Sunday’s inn tour will go to support Scott Dixon, his wife, Stela Burdt, and their son, Kieren, who is in the first grade at Lanesboro Elementary. Dixon and Burdt are both longtime resident ensemble members of the Commonweal Theatre and active in the Lanesboro community.

He also said the innkeepers have talked about supporting a charity in the past, donating a portion of the ticket sales to a local cause, however, they could never agree on a recipient. This year, all were in agreement to help Dixon and his family. “Stella and Scott are near and dear to our hearts,” said Torkelson. “We are happy to be able to help them with their medical expenses, which were largely unexpected.”

Dixon was diagnosed with colorectal cancer almost a year ago, in January, which metastasized to the lungs and liver. Since that time, he has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy. Currently, according to his wife’s most recent post on, Dixon continues with strong doses of chemotherapy every two weeks. In December, she wrote, he will have another scan to see how his cancer is responding to the therapies.

“Scott and I continue to be overwhelmed with all the love and support of our community. And wow, what a kind and generous offer from the innkeepers,” Burdt said about the holiday inn tour’s support of their family. “I truly thank you all. I shed tears of joy and gratitude when I think of what you all are doing.”

The 2017 Christmas Inn Tour, set for Sunday, Dec. 3, will feature eight area inns, all festively decorated for the holidays. Tours will run from 2 to 6 p.m. Advance sales are $25 per person or $30 on the day of the tours. Tickets can be purchased by stopping at the visitors center in Lanesboro or by calling 507-467-2696. One may also purchase tickets online at

Torkelson said the inn tour is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and to take the opportunity to visit some of the area’s historic homes.

“Many of these homes are historical treasures in town,” he said. “This is a chance to see them at their best — when they are ready for the holidays.”

As a host at the Scandianvian Inn, Torkelson looks forward to welcoming guests to the home. “It’s so nice to see the people who come on the tour and they are so appreciative and nice,” he added.

Peterson and Whalan inns

Participating inns outside of Lanesboro include Peterson’s Andor Wenneson Inn, hosted by Megan Boyum, and Cedar Valley Resort of Whalan, hosted by Sheryl and Larry Johnson.

The Andor Wenneson Inn was built in 1904 along the tracks of Southern Minnesota Railroad, now the Root River State Trail. The former hotel served rail travelers coming through Peterson for many years. Its nine guest rooms are all decorated with different themes, noted Boyum. One will find decorations representing Christmas traditions from around the world, from Norway to Mexico, she said.

Boyum said she was pleased to be included in this year’s tour and believes it is wonderful that the innkeepers have opted to support a local family with the proceeds.

In addition to providing a view of holiday traditions at the inn, Boyum will be serving up sweet treats in the form of holiday cookies and mulled wine.

Making one’s way back towards Lanesboro, make sure to stop at the Cedar Valley Resort in Whalan. The Johnsons established the resort in 2001 on land purchased by Larry’s grandfather in 1928. There are nine beautiful log-sided cabins, nested on 30 acres in the heart of the Root River Valley.

The resort will also be showcasing the work of local artist Tyler Anderson.

Lanesboro inns

The Scandinavian Inn hosts Peter and Vicki Torkelson promise traditional Scandinavian treats, lefse and Swedish potato sausage. Their inn will be featuring artist Jane Grevstad. The 1892 Queen Ann Victorian was built by Norwegian immigrant Ole Habberstad. As co-owner of the Lanesboro Lumber Company, Ole ensured the home was solidly constructed with southern yellow pine trim work and pocket doors warming its interior. Natural sumac, milkweed and rosehips decorate the downstairs Christmas greenery. Peter also mentioned the family Christmas tree is adorned with edible ornaments and joked that it’s a tree that eventually “undecorates” itself.

Anna V’s Bed and Breakfast was built by Anna Vickerman in 1908, designed in the Queen Anne Victorian style with a wrap-around front porch, intricately designed filigree, carved woodwork and a distinctive turret. Decorations throughout the inn will include trees in every room, including a garden-themed tree on the porch, a teacup tree in the ladies’ parlor and a vintage flatware tree in the dining room. The inn will also feature local silversmith and jewelry artist Anna Loney and painter Jennifer Wood. Hosts Steve and Susie Harris will provide a variety of Christmas goodies while holiday music fills the air.

The James A. Thompson House Bed and Breakfast is a 1862 brick Italianate two-story home, sitting on a hilltop overlooking Lanesboro and offers breathtaking views of the river and the Lanesboro Dam. The library, front parlor and dining room were restored in 2016 and feature Bradbury and Bradbury Art wallpaper, reflecting a look back in time. Hosts will be innkeepers David and Marti Gray and they will welcome artist Val Tindal to their inn.

Stone Mill Hotel and Suites will have apple cider warming on the wood stove to welcome visitors. Hosts Rick and Cheryl Lamon will be joined by artist Ann Madland at their inn, a renovated 1890s feed mill. Stone Mill Hotel and Suites opened in 2001 with ten themed rooms and suites. Today, there are 13 rooms and suites, a boutique and massage therapy. Seasonal refreshments will be offered.

The Habberstad Bed and Breakfast was built in 1897 by Olaf and Celia Habberstad, who owned the Lanesboro bank. Beautiful oak woodwork and three sets of pocket doors, a beautiful built-in hutch and fireplace will be flanked with Christmas greenery and décor. Visitors will enjoy seasonal goodies from hosts Mark and Elaine Edwards while their niece, Jenna Nervig, provides special music. Joni Finnegan of Lanesboro will be the featured artist.

The Historic Scanlan House Bed & Breakfast Inn, Lanesboro's first bed and breakfast listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built by Michael Scanlan, whose family was among the founders of Lanesboro. This was the first house in Lanesboro to have indoor plumbing and electric. Host for the tour will be innkeeper Kirsten Mensing.

Special ornament

To mark the occasion, make sure to pick up a souvenir. The inns have developed an ornament depicting the 150th anniversary of the Lanesboro Dam. The ornament, produced by the Deneen Pottery company in St. Paul, sells for $10 and is available at each of the inns. Established in 1868, the dam will be renovated in 2018 and is a treasured icon of the Lanesboro community.