When you are the only guests in a small, family-owned hotel, you get lots of attention. When you tell them you honeymooned there 25 years earlier, they welcome you like part of the family. That's how it was for Peter and me this weekend at Schumachers Hotel and Grill in New Prague, Minnesota.
The historic hotel has just six guest suites, all recently updated to include whirlpools, gas fireplaces, and flat-screen televisions. Some old-style amenities are present, too, including beautiful stained-glass windows and really tiny bathrooms. Overall, our room was spacious and comfortable, and we had a lovely time.
Over the years, the hotel had become noted for its restaurant; owner-chef John Schumacher specialized in lavish menus of Czech and German fare. We had gone back several times for dinner without staying the night--most recently just before the place closed in 2005. The establishment changed hands, the deal fell through, and last fall John and Kathleen Schumacher reopened with modernized guest suites and a simplified menu.
Our dinner Sunday night (pork schnitzel for me, Atlantic haddock for Peter) was well prepared, but not as spectacular as in the old days. The young man who served us said they were working hard to get the dishes just right and the kitchen functioning smoothly after the long hiatus. We chatted about our earlier visits, and I told him we'd learned about the hotel's reopening from Far Side of Fifty's blog, as described here. Dessert was on the house, and we shared a wonderful meringue torte with whipped cream, pecans, and chocolate bits.
This morning, Chef Schumacher showed us around the kitchen before cooking a breakfast of scrambled eggs (made to perfection), sausage, and French toast made from homemade cinnamon rolls. Then we headed home, 30 minutes through rolling hills and frosty trees and another 30 minutes by freeway to St. Paul. If you're ever in southern Minnesota, consider a visit to Schumachers. If not, do you have a favorite getaway spot where you can be just a little pampered, and maybe revisit old memories?