Thousands of years ago, the Dakota and Winnebago Peoples lived on the land now known as southeastern Minnesota. The late 1800’s witnessed industrious German and Scandinavian immigrants establishing huge dairy farms using the vast prairies and nutrient-rich soil to grow wheat and apples. The tiny towns settled by these Europeans became the center of agricultural trade and social activity throughout the region, where farmers congregated to sell their crops and homemakers gathered on Main Street to trade information and gossip. The magic of small-town Minnesota is still on display along the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway, an 88-mile picturesque route that winds through watercolor landscapes, unbroken farmland, and the dramatic river bluffs of the Root River Valley and its sister route, the Apple Blossom Scenic Byway. As the golden prairie slowly turns into limestone palisades, you’ll discover the bucolic villages of the Upper Midwest where you can still spot the silhouette of an Amish buggy as it rolls down a country lane. With outstanding vistas at every turn, this trail ducks in and out of hardwood forests and parallels the shimmering Root River, where you can hike and fish while listening to the stories of early 20th century Americana. From historic downtowns to the barns, windmills, and silos that dot the course, no road is more infused with small-town charm than the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway, leading to the Apple Blossom Scenic Byway, which true to its name, is nestled in flowering trees abundant with fruit.