One of the joys of summertime is going to Perham, Minnesota, that community to the east of Detroit Lakes. It is an interesting small town in that it is far enough away from Fargo-Moorhead that it has a thriving main street and lots of small town businesses. It is also a resort and lakes town in the summer so there is an abundance of interesting shops and eating places and the town is usually full of "summer people" on any given day. A good friend and I love to "Perambulate to Perham" (our own appellation) and have been doing it for the past 10 years or so. The first stop is usually "The Goose" shop….I can never remember if it is the "Wild Goose" or the "Blue Goose". Once I called it the "Spruce Goose" but then remembered that was the name of one of Howard Hughes’ early airplanes. The Goose place has wonderful coffee, lattes, and such and that coffee gets you going if you are not yet fully awake. The shop also has lots of beautiful objects in it plus unique toys and great greeting cards. Finally, we are ready to move on..perhaps to Jean’s Plant Place to admire the hostas, the day lilies, and other annuals on display in the yard of a former house…very unique and always interesting. Up the block is an antique shop that takes you into your past life….dishes you remember seeing in your own home, collections of old coffee tins, glass milk bottles, original Fiesta dishes, plus all kinds of bargain-basement dishes you remember seeing or having at home. There is furniture, old textiles, old appliances, clocks, paintings….everything under the sun in a huge building that is air-conditioned and comfortable. By now at least 2-3 hours have passed on your perambulation and it is time to go "downtown". The "Secondhand Rose" store is a must-check-out place as there may be something that fits you and is totally unexpected and fun to try on—maybe even buy it if your closet is not too crowded already with such treasures. Then you cross the street and take in the new antique store, and other places that may have just opened this summer. The Gathering Grounds with its unique lunch room awaits and by this time you are hungry enough to order too much from the generous menu there. More delicious coffee…..by this time you have to be scraped off the ceiling due to high doses of caffeinated coffee. The Pines is on the corner from The Gathering Grounds and must be entered and searched. Now you have finally made it to Main Street where there is a great womens’ clothing store (Nadines), a quilt emporium, a locally-owned shoe store, more gift shops and Ma’s Little Red Barn….one of the truly most interesting of places. It has a floral shop, there is a hat department, lots of gift items, cards and wrappings, and now a little French bistro-type cafe. If you are already a member, you could even go into the "Curves" rooms and shape up a bit. All of this is done in amazingly creative decor that causes you to wonder who can be so clever. If you are not totally foot-weary and tired from the exertions of morning shopping and cafe-hopping, you can follow the north side of Main Street to the local candy-makers shop and if you have not eaten enough already, the Station House is always open. They serve great High Teas if you make reservations. I have been to two of them and they are delicious, well-planned and feature an array of the most beautiful antique teapots you could ever hope to see. Scones, clotted cream, cucumber sandwiches and lemon curd are signature High Tea foods and Betty at the Station House knows what she is doing! You can find a bit of Olde England on mainstreet Perham, Minnesota. The old homes in Perham are beautiful and a walk in the neighborhoods near downtown is a great thing to do also; many of the early homes are brick structures and it makes one wonder why when so many of the small towns in the area have wood-built homes only. Perham is unique…lots of brick work. The old school is close to the downtown also. There are many beautiful gardens probably the influence of Jean’s Plant Place. The Perham Historical Society is housed in an old stone church building north of downtown. The new Perham Library is also built of stone-masonry- old world construction. My friend and I have tried to find what is known as the "Angel Garden" in north Perham but have been unable to locate it so far; this time we may have to stop in a neighborhood and knock on someone’s door and get directions. It is always a full and satisfying day when you Perambulate To Perham.
Maybe next time we can "Frolic to… 1. Frazee 2. Fergus Falls or 3. Fertile. "Vamoosing to Vergas" also sounds like a good day trip or "Pouncing To Pelican "(Rapids) Visiting small towns is a great way to spend a summer day and I can hardly wait for morning when I will be doing just that. It is truly a day to enjoy a Mainstreet, USA.