‘So much more than a college town’ is right

The Strib is evidently trying to provide balance to its coverage of Northfield. This article appeared in Sunday’s Travel section. Reporter Kerri Westenberg wrote:

Strib article on NorthfieldWhat did strike me was the grown-up feel of the place.

Sure, a kid in dreadlocks served tea at the coffee shop. But a collection of mothers grabbed lunch at a deli with their crew of toddlers. A woman carrying a Coach bag browsed an upscale art gallery. A matronly woman bought white bread and doughnuts at an old-school bakery.

That the college crowd shares the streets so amiably with townies not only adds to Northfield’s appeal, it speaks volumes about it. No matter your type, something will grab you among the pretty parks, many restaurants and eclectic stores (not a chain among them) that hug the Cannon River.


  1. Anne Bretts said:

    I would argue that the Strib does offer balanced coverage of Northfield…the paper is not responsible for reflecting a situation that everyone here discusses at length as embarrassing and appalling. If the Strib didn’t write the stories, people would complain it wasn’t doing its job. If it writes the stories, it’s called negative. If it writes a positive story, the response is that it’s about time.
    Perhaps we should offer simple and gracious thank-you and enjoy this time in the spotlight.
    Right now, Northfield is in the sweet spot Stillwater held for years, until everyone had visited and the reporters had run out of cute stories to write. In fact, over the last couple of years, Northfield has received an amazing amount of positive coverage, including many general feature stories where the colleges here were used to localize a national issue.
    Several reporters from the Cities are visiting Carleton for a campus program Thursday, so maybe it’s time for a little more honey than vinegar. Perhaps the local business promoters could find time to buy them a beer and show them around — or at least give them some t-shirts and mugs.

    October 24, 2007
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    I agree, Anne. I was actually being tongue-in-cheek with my ‘balance’ remark because of the amount of comments we’ve gotten since early July about the negative press coverage. I did a poor job of it. Must remember to sharpen up my sarcasm attempts!

    October 24, 2007
  3. I think the story was great!! We actually had a couple people come into the store yesterday and request those t-shirts they mentioned in the story! I totally agree with you Anne, it is about time we get some good stories in a newspaper. I am so sick of all this crap that is getting flung around town. It was nice to see a good story about Northfield.

    I will give a tour to any reporter that comes into the museum and you never know they might even get a bobblehead!


    October 24, 2007
  4. Holly Cairns said:

    Great! Positive remarks. We do have a lovely town.

    October 24, 2007
  5. Tracy Davis said:

    I liked the positive coverage….. but I have to admit I was a bit tweaked. The women of Northfield are either lunching, shopping, or wearing Birkenstocks, while all the serious people are “bearded professors” or “businessmen in polo shirts”.

    I mentioned this to Krin Finger yesterday and she said she noticed that too.

    October 24, 2007
  6. Holly Cairns said:

    Okay, Okay, somebody else said it before me. Women in Birks and bearded professors and business men . And what about this line:

    A matronly woman bought white bread and doughnuts at an old-school bakery.

    Thank God I haven’t bought bread at the bakery for a while.

    I wonder what would have been implied if she had said men in Birks and beardless professors and business folk?

    October 24, 2007
  7. Anne Bretts said:

    OMG, you people have way too much time on your hands. They’re lazy descriptions written in an attempt to add some human interest to a story by someone either too busy or inexperienced or short on space to be able to go into more detail. Perhaps the bearded guys were grading papers or reading textbooks or she walked on campus and saw them walking to class. Perhaps she heard the business men talking business and she didn’t hear what the women were saying, or perhaps she meant “business men in polo shirts and (business) women in Birks.”
    The writer probably had a couple of hours in town and a couple more hours to write and did her best. Or maybe she was a total hack. Perhaps she had so much fun she didn’t take enough notes and was just projecting her own fantasies on all the people she saw. Perhaps she scored some heroin and blew off the assignment and made it all up when she got back to the office.
    This wasn’t a sociology thesis, it was a quick day trip story. A free ad that would have cost thousands of dollars if the town had paid for that much space.
    Do what you do with that crazy sweater you got for Christmas or the macaroni art your kid made. It’s not perfect, but it’s a gift.
    Smile and say thank you.

    October 24, 2007
  8. Holly Cairns said:

    Yes, and perhaps we don’t care that much and we’re just having fun.

    Anne said:

    Perhaps the bearded guys were grading papers or reading textbooks or she walked on campus and saw them walking to class. Perhaps she heard the business men talking business and she didn’t hear what the women were saying, or perhaps she meant “business men in polo shirts and (business) women in Birks…

    October 24, 2007
  9. While it did seem really “storybook” and a projection of a fantasy, I have to say that I liked it. Despite the problems with the city administration, heroin, etc, a person can still fall in love with the town. It’s all in your perspective. I still walk along the Cannon River or through Way Park, and feel happy to be here.

    October 24, 2007
  10. Anne Bretts said:

    So sorry that I didn’t get the humor in your comments, Holly! It proves how easy it is to miss the punchline — or the entire joke — these days. Everything is just so darned serious. Like Scott, I was feeling the warm and fuzzy Hallmark moment and didn’t want it to end.
    Maybe now if we all get some tattoos and piercings and head downtown, we can get a feature in City Pages…

    October 24, 2007
  11. I’m down, I want a tattoo of Griff on my arm!!!

    October 24, 2007
  12. Holly Cairns said:

    That’s okay, Anne! Just having fun. Did I hear that you are next to get the Griff tatoo? I wonder if the tatoo will have special qualities (moves when you flex your muscles, or something like that.)

    Anyway, we’re putting our house up for sale. What an adventure! It’s lovely out here. Lots to do to get ready for Monday, though.

    October 26, 2007
  13. Anne Bretts said:

    Holly, where is your house and where are you going? (Griff shouldn’t be the only one to get a free real estate ad here).
    And speaking of fun…perhaps it’s time for another salon…one totally devoid of serious issues…just a chance for the quaint locals to wear their beards and polo shirts and Birkenstocks and matronly garb and drink and pray (in the guest room).
    As for tattoos, I like Griff, but maybe we could do temporary ones…Hey, maybe that’s the solution to the political mess…people could get tattoos so we know who supports the mayor or chief or council, but we could make them temporary so people can bail out and wash them away as their favorites bite the dust.

    October 26, 2007
  14. Ross Currier said:

    Hayes –

    Great show about Northfield on TPT last night!

    – Ross

    October 26, 2007
  15. Thanks Ross!! Now, on my other arm I will get a tattoo of you.

    October 26, 2007
  16. Holly Cairns said:

    Our realtor is Ruthie Gilbertson. Give her a call if you want to see it– 507-645-1162. I found a house that Ruthie’ll eventually help us move into– it’s in Northfield. We’ve actually got our eye on two houses… we’re going artsy.

    Anyway, we’re at 7344- 307th Street West, Northfield, MN. Soon to be listed (Monday, October 29, 2007).

    Two people in our family like change and the other two of us just go along for the ride.

    On that tatoo idea– Political tatoos! All the rage. Salons? Not so much the rage? What if the conversation is slow and boring? If there was a mission involved I’d be more inclined to go…

    October 26, 2007
  17. Anne Bretts said:

    We’re not moving right now…we really love the pond and trails and pedestrian friendly design and the great mix of housing in our neighborhood. And we love our house design.
    Trust me, the conversations are never boring! The last one was on atheism and was anything but boring.
    Suggest a topic — or two or three! We can have multiple groups or just switch topics if one gets dull. The mission is to get a little F2F time and have a little fun. Getting back to the theme of this thread, perhaps we could talk about ways to generate more positive press for our fair city…we could talk about story ideas, new media outlets, perhaps even invite some media types and ply them with liquor and treats, all bought locally, of course.

    October 26, 2007
  18. Jerry Bilek said:

    two customers in the store today came to Northfield because of the article. they wanted to know if the restaurant I recommended was in the article. When I mentioned Indian, they headed for chapati.

    October 26, 2007

Leave a Reply