Gallery: Goin’ To The Lake: Worthington
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Until the start of the Great Minnesota Get-Together, WCCO is Goin’ To The Lake every week. In the last trip, Amelia and Mark ventured up north to the town of Biwabik, where they got a taste of the Iron Range. This week, Liz Collin and Lauren Casey headed to Worthington in southwest Minnesota, about 175 miles from Minneapolis.
The city sits on Lake Okabena, and its downtown area is just blocks from the water. It’s the town where Liz grew up, and it’s also host to the U.S. National Windsurfing Championships.
The competition was on when the girls arrived, and they couldn’t help but check it out. The atmosphere was amazing. Not only were there some the best windsurfers in the world to watch, but live music and all the cheese curds you could wave a corn dog at.
Liz & Lauren Arrive In Worthington
Although it’s amazing, windsurfing probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Worthington. But one site that does draw people to the town is the Dayton House, which is like a trip back in time.
“As you walk in this house, you can’t help but feel that character,” said Mike Woll, who had a role in restoring the house.
That character starts with George Draper Dayton.
“There was a bank that was failing so they recruited a young Mr. Dayton, who had proven himself as a business man,” Woll said.
Dayton turned that bank around and made Worthington his new home, building the Dayton House in 1890.
“The Dayton legacy, I think, is important,” Woll said. “The Daytons hold a special place in our hearts.”
The house is still a place for all to enjoy thanks to a $1 million renovation project supported by the Dayton family.
From the floors to the furniture to the two suites you can rent, everything there feels like home. The main level is often used for weddings and parties.
As you might guess, it costs a lot of money to keep the home looking so good — so if you’d like to help the nonprofit group that runs the home – click here.
Liz & Lauren Visit The Dayton House
During the U.S Windsurfing National Championships, the town will see a lot of action, so the girls wanted to learn more about the competition.
Who better to talk to than Bill Keitel, the vice president of U.S Windsurfing.
Liz & Lauren Talk Windsurfing With Bill Keitel
Thursday was Lauren’s first time in Worthington, but Liz grew up there.
The investigative reporter and anchor’s home town has a population of more than 10,000, and many of those people are from other countries. One look at city hall is all it takes to see that Worthington celebrates its diversity.
That said, Liz couldn’t return to Worthington without visiting her old home.
Liz & Lauren Visit Liz’s Childhood Home
This weekend is all about windsurfing in Worthington. But why?
Believe it or not, Worthington is actually one of the best places to windsurf in the entire country. As you might have guessed, that’s because it’s windy in Worthington.
“We’ve got a couple things working for us,” said Ken Moser, the president of the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta.
That wind has turned Worthington into a hot bed for windsurfers. The first national championship was in 2003, and the city held the competition again in 2008.
While the wind is what gets the windsurfers to Worthington, it’s the hospitality that keeps them coming back.
“You will not see an event like this in the 7 state area,” Moser said.
Besides windsurfing, people can enjoy live music, food and even some art.
“We like to say it’s our little secret,” Moser said, “but you know we’re ready to share it with the world.”
The windsurfing regatta will be going on all weekend on Lake Okabena. In fact, races started Wednesday. And the contestants aren’t all American. Some windsurfers traveled from France and Italy to ride in Worthington.
Liz & Lauren Get Schooled On Windsurfing
Windsurfing isn’t all there is to do in Worthington. Marv and Jeanine Spomer invited Liz and Lauren to check out their amazing collection of vintage signs and classic cars. And they even got to ride in them.
The signs are from the ‘30s and ‘40s, and one even dates back to 1901. The cars are mostly from the ‘50s and ‘60s.
If you’re interested in the collection, click here.
Liz & Lauren Cruise In Classic Cars