We kicked off the 2013 Season with the Grand Opening of the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce‘s new Welcome Center at 37 Water Street, where we now have an office to act as a “home base” for our merchandise and archives. It was a lovely evening to get acquainted with the recently renovated facility, take crazy pictures with friends both old and new, and enjoy fine refreshments amid jazz in the background. The Welcome Center is currently open from 9 to 5 every week, Monday through Friday – stop by if you haven’t yet had the chance!
Two annual Lake Minnetonka traditions held at the end of June are Excelsior’s Art On The Lake and the Wayzata Art Experience. Art On the Lake has become a staple in our “Special Events” schedule over the years with half-priced cruises departing the dock every hour. But 2013 was the first year that we had ever participated in the Wayzata Art Experience, a similar festival held at the other end of the lake. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate for either event as rain dampened the festivities in Excelsior and severe storms destroyed the Wayzata Art Experience. Despite all odds, however, Minnehaha steamed on and ran every cruise as planned. We even had local author and architectural historian Bette Jones Hammel narrate a special “Architectural Design” cruise out of Wayzata which showcased dozens of historic homes along Lake Minnetonka’s shoreline.
Summer Kickoff Raffle
This summer we held our second annual Summer Kickoff Raffle. Hundreds of contestants entered, but only one would win: Marlen Stricker of Clear Lake, Iowa. In winning the raffle, Marlen won a private charter aboard Minnehaha for up to ninety of his closest friends and family. Congratulations, Marlen!
The Fourth of July was packed with fun-filled events all over Lake Minnetonka this year, including parades, airshows, and classic fireworks displays. Minnehaha operated under her standard schedule on this festive day, but there was a new face at the helm! Aaron Person, who has been with the Museum of Lake Minnetonka since 2010 as a Purser, was officially pinned Captain early that morning and piloted the first run up to Wayzata. Congratulations, Aaron!
Wayzata Concert Series
This year’s Wayzata Concert Series was perhaps the best there has ever been. With a lineup consisting of Kevin Bowe, Jeff Dayton, and Davina & the Vagabonds, each performance filled Depot Park with beautiful music every Wednesday evening in July. As in years past, Minnehaha brought concertgoers from Excelsior up to Wayzata, where they enjoyed the show or explored the town, and then returned to Excelsior with a beautiful sunset over Lake Minnetonka – which we had every night! These were among the most serene moments we had all summer.
On July 25, Kermit Stake, one of our most dedicated long-term volunteers, passed away peacefully in his sleep. Kermit, who was born the same year Minnehaha was scuttled, was a Captain, Purser, Lake Historian, and recipient of the MLM’s 2013 Hall of Fame Award. His presence on board Minnehaha will surely be missed.
Apple Day & James J. Hill Days
Yet another pair of annual Lake Minnetonka traditions are Excelsior’s Apple Day and Wayzata’s James J. Hill Days, both of which are held on the same weekend in early September. This year we kicked Apple Day off early with a Friday night charter for the Bob Speltz Land O’ Lakes Chapter of the ACBS (the local antique and classic boat society). The next day they hosted their 38th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous at Maynard’s Restaurant with Minnehaha steaming along in the background on hourly runs from Excelsior. On Sunday Minnehaha headed up to Wayzata for James J. Hill Days. Rising from the devastation that occurred in June, Wayzata had organized the biggest and most fun-filled James J. Hill Days ever. Blessed with good weather, there could not have been a better way to bid summer adieu.
Autumn truly is the best season to see Lake Minnetonka as the trees along her shore ignite themselves into an utmost brilliant array of reds, yellows, and oranges. As usual, Minnehaha switched over to her “Fall Colors” schedule during this time of year and offered three cruises out of Excelsior every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. But, new for this year, a special fourth cruise was added in the morning. Adding this special cruise proved to be a success, and it was a glorious way to end yet another great season on Lake Minnetonka.
As we welcome 2014 in through the door, the Museum of Lake Minnetonka would like to introduce you to our new President, Jeff Lambert. Jeff has been involved with the MLM for several years as a legal consultant and has also served on our Board of Directors. He succeeds our former President, Jim Murphy, who for much of the past decade played an integral part in stabilizing our operation, transforming it into the self-sustaining organization that we have today. Thus, we thank Jim for his invaluable service to the MLM and welcome Jeff into the role of Presidency.