What goes around comes around: life after the farm

The colors glow — both inside and out — at the Round Barn Trading Company. Photo by Linda Koutsky

This summer I did a test on my vacation habits.

Usually I plan far in advance and research where I’m going. But recently I read a book about how the Internet has changed our travel experiences, and the author surmised that too much information actually cuts down on our joy of travelling.

So I tried it both ways. On the trip where I didn’t do any research I felt lost and thought I was always missing something. Doing research in advance made my other trip feel longer and made me full of anticipation. Give it a try. See what you think.

Most cities’ websites list members of their local Chamber of Commerce and attractions for new visitors. I look at these whenever I go somewhere new. The other day I was stranded in a northern suburb waiting for work to be done on my car. I figured there must be something interesting to do in the area so I checked the city website.

Most recommendations were in Minneapolis or St. Paul. Hardly anything was right there, and one enticing attraction was located several towns to the west — in Andover.

Somehow I’ve never been to Andover. So as soon as my car was done, I used Google Maps to navigate north metro’s jumble of highways. Twenty-five minutes later, I was at my destination.

Minnesota’s barns are alluring to many city dwellers. Other than at a few county fairs, I rarely get inside one. The Round Barn Trading Company resides in one of the few remaining round barns in Minnesota.

Because of their shape and lack of interior posts, round barns were more efficient and easier for farmers to work in, but they weren’t as popular as rectangular barns. This one was built in 1880 — the beginning of round barn era.

George and Maja Adolfson’s family lived on the farm since 1950. At some point, a long rectangular barn was built as an extension for more cows and Maja sold antiques in the circular space.

In the late 1990s, she told her family she never wanted to leave the farm, so the family held a competition to design a senior housing development. “The Farmstead” was built right on the property, keeping the round barn as its centerpiece.

Julie David was a consignment artist selling repurposed constructions in the round barn before she became the business’s current owner last November. The fully insulated, 3,600-square- foot barn is stocked with new and vintage treasures. Seventy percent of the merchandise is made locally.

Artful displays showcase goat milk soap, hand- harvested Minnesota wild rice, embroidered towels, appliquéd infant clothes, knitted scarves, repurposed mittens, painted furniture, chalk paint, Amish country store candies, soup mixes, clever kitchenware, ceramic serving pieces, raspberry jam from Waubun that was a hit at my house and shabby chic wood signs made by local Junior Achievement students. Round Barn also sells its own line of food products and flavored coffees — help yourself to a cup while you browse!

The well-curated collection of products, airy space, meandering aisles, vintage floor and ever-present history make this destination one of my new favorites.

Check out their Facebook page for more details and their monthly “Girls Night Out in the Barn.”

Know of any hidden treasures? Contact Linda Koutsky on Facebook.


13736 Marigold St. NW, Andover Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Saturday; noon – 4 p.m. Sunday


Stick with the dairy theme and order a gourmet mac & cheese about a mile down the road, at Willy McCoy’s (13655 Martin St. NW, Andover)