Tipped off by a friendly farmer at an event in the area, we detoured over to the Gammelgarden Museum in Scandia for one of their Sunday afternoon “Bluegrass & Lemonade” jams. They are advertised as being held out on the shady lawn of the Welcome House (or “Valkommen Hus”, as the Swedes christened it), but perhaps due to the July heat the picking session had been moved indoors. This was somewhat unfortunate because apparently the presence of children is rare at these events; we were gazed upon curiously enough (not unkindly, I stress) to grab our Arnie Palmers after a few harmonies and tiptoe outside as quietly as a family of six can manage.
Fortunately, there’s plenty to see and do on the green of the Gammelgarden (translates to “Old Farm”), which is a collection of preserved buildings that tell the story of early Swedish immigrants to the Scandia area. You can purchase tickets and take a guided tour of the historic church, school and other edifices — or, if you arrive when a tour is not available, explore the grounds on your own. The buildings are labeled with informational placards. There’s a picnic pavilion and throwback playground equipment. And, my 3-year-old stresses, do not miss seeking out the four colorful Dala horses scattered about the property.
A series of other special events year-round including classes, camps, meals and family activities make the Gammelgarden worth a stop in any season. We were delighted to discover it.
Find seasonal hours and the year’s event calendar here.
Guided tours ($7/adults, elementary-aged children free) run Fri-Sun, 1 & 2:30pm, early May – mid Oct.