Follow the Leaders: Reader Favorites of 2021

by | Jul 2022

Brightly lit lakeside house at dusk.

Emily John Photography

Our Facebook page generates plenty of “Likes.”

Interest is measured in all sorts of ways, including “Likes,” “Shares” and “Clicks.” Since this issue takes a special view of readers’ favorites, we decided to take a look at what articles our Facebook followers were most interested in over the course of 2021.

After determining our Facebook page’s most clicked on articles, the results confirmed what we already knew—our readers and followers are interested in a host of topics. From local history to home remodeling, from dining to travel, our readers have a taste for what we’re serving in our pages.

We’ve included excerpts from articles that received the most hits (in descending order). For the complete articles, visit our Facebook page or explore our website.

School Building has its Own History Lesson by Scott McGinnis (August 2021)
In March 1915, ground was broken for the construction of Excelsior High School on the corner of what is today Highway 7 and Oak Street. The red brick building with white stone belting was designed by LeRoy Kinport of Manitou. Construction of the two-story building was completed in September 1915 at a cost of about $48,000.

On March 9, 1928, a fire broke out while the majority of the town, including most of the fire department, was in Hopkins cheering on the Excelsior High School basketball team in the district finals. The building was left in ruins, and the 200 students were given an impromptu vacation …

More Enchanted Evenings by Renée Stewart-Hester (August 2021)
Forty-five years is plenty of time to put down roots. Deep within a family. Deep within a community. In 1976, Bob and Karen Morgan found an ideal space to grow their family and foster community friendships, and they owe it all to a bit of happy happenstance.

“Actually, we were lost when we stumbled into our lot purchase when we were 26 years old, and we have never regretted one moment,” Bob Morgan says of their Lake Minnetonka home on Enchanted Island. “[We] have been truly blessed to live here not only in this unique environment, but also in this very special community,” he says.

Since those early days on the lake, time marched on, and so did the Morgans’ lifestyle. With two grown daughters finding their own homes in the Twin Cities, the Morgans, like many other empty nesters, began to contemplate their “what’s next?” …

Taste and Tango by Ava Diaz (October 2021)
Keeping a business open under the best of circumstances is challenging. Add in a pandemic, and you have a recipe for revenue reduction and even closure. For Minnetonka’s DelSur Empanadas, it tangoed its way into enlarging the restaurant and offering cultural experiences.

After three years in operation, DelSur expanded its original location into the adjoining space to provide immersive experiences and accommodate more diners. Featuring a new dining area, a patio and a larger kitchen, DelSur offers space for customers to experience different aspects of Argentinian culture …

A Taste of Ireland by Claire Swenson (January 2021)
With Irish tradition mixed with a splash of invention, The Bull and Finch Gastropub [now called Bull & Wren] is standing tall in Excelsior. The new establishment comes as the latest entry to Water Street’s bar and restaurant lineup, backed by co-owners Zach Brown and Victor Claffey.

Beyond the new name, Brown and Claffey put forth a healthy dose of elbow grease and performed some of the site’s renovations, including removing stained glass windows from the first level to reveal more natural light. The space strives for a warmer vibe and a touch of Ireland with leather seating, deep-toned wood and local signage. The lower level cellar was transformed, as well, as a draw for whiskey enthusiasts, both for dining and group events. Outdoor seating along the sidewalk, as weather permits, allows for easier adherence to social distancing. …

A Tale of Two Stays by Angela Johnson and Renée Stewart-Hester (February 2021)
Well, my family and I were supposed to travel a few springs ago to Washington, D.C., but, you know—COVID. Being the optimist that I am (ahem), I figured Florida for Easter that April would be nice, but, you know …

After months of sticking close to home, albeit trips to the family cabin, that fall I stuck my head outside, took a peek around and figured an overnight stay at The Hotel Landing might be a good way for me to ease back into extended travel. More importantly, it provided me with firsthand information to share with readers, who might consider packing up and heading out for a travel adventure—here or there. Understanding how some hotels are handling COVID-19-related issues might alleviate travelers’ concerns. … How was the stay?


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