The countryside in the middle of southern Minnesota is dotted with lakes, popular for fishing, swimming and boating. Interstate highways 90 and 35 intersect here, bringing many visitors through this rural landscape.
Boat excursions cruise the lake at Albert Lea, also home to a village of pioneer-era buildings. At Blue Earth, the Jolly Green Giant stands tall at 55 feet. Fairmont embraces a chain of five lakes, and has beautifully restored its 1901 Opera House. Another gem, a 1904 Prairie School bank designed by Louis Sullivan, draws architecture buffs to Owatonna.
Attractive, historic downtown districts grace both Faribault and Northfield, the town that defeated the Jesse James Gang; you can even tour the bank they tried to rob. There are lakeside resorts and campgrounds near Faribault, Waterville and Madison Lake, with the Sakatah Singing Hills Bike Trail passing through these towns. Several rural heritage events are held at FarmAmerica, near Waseca.