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Goin’ To The Lake: Frank & Chris Visit Willmar Lakes Area (Day 1)

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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Gallery: Goin’ To The Lake: All Summer Long

SPICER, Minn. (WCCO) – In previous years, WCCO-TV has gone to lakeside cities in Minnesota and western Wisconsin in week-long trips. But this year, WCCO-TV reporters and anchors, along with those you know from WCCO Radio, will be making trips every week to lakes around the state until the start of The Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Goin’ To The Lake: All Summer Long kicked off Thursday, as Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer ventured to the Willmar Lakes Area, which is about 100 miles west of the Twin Cities.

While it’s not a place you might think of when you hear the term “lake country,” you might be surprised. The Willmar Lakes Area is home to more than 360 lakes, and one of the biggest is Green Lake in Spicer, Minn.

Frank & Chris Arrive In Willmar Lakes Area

But you don’t have to go to the biggest lake to have a good time. Frank and Chris found a one-of-a-kind resort just outside of Spicer. It’s called Dickerson’s Lake Florida Resort, and it’s run by Bob and Connie Dickerson.

“When the guests check in,” Bob said, “they are served a warm plate of chocolate chip cookies that Connie has baked fresh for them.”

The cookies make you feel welcome, but Bob and Connie make you feel like family.

“We’ve got guests that have been coming here for as long as 45 years in a row,” Bob said. “Our guests are better than family.”

Dickerson’s is a resort built on family values by Bob’s great grandfather back in 1924.

“They got to Lake Florida and absolutely fell in love with the spot,” Bob said. “They camped right here looking out onto the lake and were able to watch the sunset that night, and the next morning grandpa said, ‘This is the place.'”

Ninety years later, Bob and Connie are carrying on the family’s legacy. If Connie’s cooking doesn’t seal the deal, her green thumb might. The resort is lined with beautiful flowers all hand-picked and planted by Connie.

But it’s the golden, sandy beach with sparkling blue water that really sells this place.

“We feel we’ve been blessed with a great location on the lake,” Bob said.

The resort has 13 cabins that range from one to five bedrooms. All have air conditioning, and wi-fi is free. The resort will also have a brand new cabin ready to rent by June 21.

Frank & Chris Visit Dickerson’s Lake Florida Resort

Spicer is also a destination for wine lovers. Many of you guys emailed us, asking for the guys to visit Glacial Ridge Winery.

It’s a beautiful winery built on an apple orchard. Right now, there are about 1,000 apple trees in full bloom over the premise. And owners Ron and Kim Wothe are great hosts.

Inside the winery is a tasting room, where you can try the award-winning wines made with Minnesota grapes.

Frank & Chris Get A Taste Of Glacial Ridge Winery

If you’re going to Green Lake, make sure you visit the Spicer Castle Inn. The history you’ll find inside is something you can’t get anywhere else.

“It’s a hidden gem,” said Mary Swanson, the inn manager.

The castle was built in 1895 by John Spicer – the man the town is named after.

In the 1920s, the house became the family’s summer home, and later, in 1988, it became an inn for others to enjoy.

Initially, the inn only had four guest rooms, and one cottage. Now, there are many rooms and cottages that are available to rent.

The inn is also an entertainment destination.

“A local guest who wanted to have a dinner party here at the inn thought: Wouldn’t it be fun to do a murder mystery?” Swanson said. “We did, and the guests loved it. And over the years it’s become very popular.”

Those murder mystery parties are held every Friday and Saturday night. The inn also hosts weddings, doing about 15 to 20 a year.

But something else that caught our attention.

“The family always said that John Spicer picked this spot because of the sunsets,” Swanson said.

It’s tough to go wrong when you take in the sunshine sparking off the blue water and reflect on the history of all those who came here before you.

Frank & Chris Tour Spicer Castle Inn

Just a few miles northwest of Spicer sits Sibley State Park.

It’s surrounded by lakes, and on one of them the guys got to go kayaking.

Nothing quite says lake trip like being out on the water, right?

Frank & Chris Kayak At Sibley State Park

Goin’ To The Lake is all about seeing and doing fun things around the state.

But sometimes the adventures can be a little scary.

On Thursday evening, Frank and Chris suited up, got behind the wheels of no-joke racecars and took off down the racetracks on the KRA Speedway.

Word spread quickly that the guys would be in town. And lots of people showed up to watch them race.

Who do you think won?

Frank & Chris Race On KRA Speedway

Here are links to all the places the guys visited in the Willmar Lakes Area on Thursday, May 29, 2014:
Dickerson’s Lake Florida Resort
Spicer Castle Inn
Glacial Ridge Winery
Sibley State Park
KRA Speedway

For the full schedule for Goin’ To The Lake: All Summer Long, click here. You can suggest places for us to visit here.

Watch the past “Goin’ To The Lake” segments.
Watch the past “Goin’ To The (Frozen) Lake” segments.

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