I was in a bookstore in Rochester, MN the other day, trying to decide between buying either an issue of The Atlantic (advertised as “the idea issue”) or Minnesota Monthly (that caught my attention with a cover headline of “10 small town weekend trips”). Both options seemed equally intriguing.
I opened up Minnesota Monthly to see what “small towns” they were talking about, saw this, and the debate was over.
If you’ve lived in town for years these are these are the type of places that you can forget, or perhaps I should say “take for granted.” They are institutions that are so central to the idea of who we are as community sometimes they fade into the background. The Hull Rust Mahoning Mine becomes that pit north of town, or HibTac: where “so and so” works, or just “the mine.” The High School is just where you (or your parents or your kids) went to school, and the planetarium is an elementary school field trip.
However, there is a lot to discover and love about our town if for a day or two we shake off the ordinary and look at Hibbing with the eyes of a tourist.
For example, did you know that The Mitchell-Tappan House was the first house moved to South Hibbing in 1918 (in addition to serving AMAZING breakfasts in 2011)? And when was the last time you were at the planetarium? A field trip in elementary school? I’m happy I can say I did have the experience of going to a laser light show there one January a couple of years ago. Quite different from my field trip experience as a kid, this was a pretty funky light display set to the music of U2. Popcorn and the show were under $5. It was a great evening.
The only downside was that my sister and I were the only ones there (which I think has at least a little to do with the fact the planetarium is now only open by reservation).
See. We forget. We get into our day-to-day routines. We stop paying attention and at that point it can become easy to believe the myth that there is “nothing to do here.” And once we believe that, it becomes routine for us to leave town looking for “things to do”. Hibbingites regularly travel to Virginia, Grand Rapids, Duluth, the Twin Cities and miss what is right in their own backyard.
Now, I’m not saying don’t leave the city limits or that traveling to the aforementioned places isn’t fun or sometimes necessary, but I am saying “give Hibbing a chance.” You might be surprised. Seriously, I challenge you. Whether you’re a current Hibbing resident or an ex-pat who will be home visiting family, spend a day (or two) looking at Hibbing with new eyes.
If you take the challenge, I would love to hear about your experience (please comment below). I will share my own after my next visit to Hib-town, which is scheduled for sometime this fall.
Here’s the list from the MM article:
Any favorites? Anything you think they missed? Share! Also, if you’re looking for special programs and events in Hibbing, I recommend checking out the community calendar at http://oreandmore.blogspot.com/.