Chatfield

Chatfield, the “Chosen Valley”, is just twenty minutes from the bustle of the city, Rochester International Airport, and Mayo Clinic. A state safety and health award winner, the attractive city sits along the north branch of the Root River and Mill Creek, a series of pools ripe for trout fishing. Mill Creek Park, a 47-acre amenity-filled commons offers picnic areas, ball fields, sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, biking, skateboarding, and a horse arena, as well as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and a hockey and skating rink in the winter.

Wildlife abounds in the area, which makes its pristine hiking trails a draw. The Lost Creek Hiking Trail, west of town, is maintained by the Bluff Country Hiking Club and offers 6.35 miles of ranging terrain and ecosystems including forest, prairie, and pasture. The trail hosts several events annually, including the Fall Trail Run, the last Saturday of October.

If you prefer to take in nature at a bit faster pace, the newly developed 16-mile Chatfield ATV Trail sits east of town and is open to the public May through October. Following the rise and fall of the bluffs and valleys, and winding through woodlots, pastures, and along streams, the trail is geared for all ages and experience levels. A scramble area is available for more experienced riders.

For a quieter pace, Chosen Valley Golf Club offers a fun, 9-hole regulation course of 5,866 yards for a par of 35. The course rating is 66.8. Not a golfer? Take a few relaxing laps at the swimming pool or leisurely play a few matches at the city tennis courts.

Chatfield is also widely known for its arts and unique historical offerings. Dubbed “Bandtown, USA”, the city boasts a music lending library, the only one of its kind in the world today. Dedicated to the preservation of musical heritage and utilized by musicians all over the world, the library has collected and cataloged more than 30,000 pieces, many of which are no longer in print. In addition to the library, the city is home to the Chatfield Brass Band, a harmonic tradition for nearly a half century. Its more than 30 members, of all ages, play a variety of music in an effort to provide opportunities for amateur musicians to perform and grow musically and to continue the city’s proud custom.

The Chatfield Center for the Arts furthers the progress of arts in the area through both music and drama. Thursday evenings, June through August, the city hosts the Music in the Park Concert series in the city park, highlighting the impressive bandshell. The square also plays host to an interactive and engaging custom playground. Folk and other concerts are held throughout the year, across the street at the center for the arts, and showcase the musical styling of various artists and open jam sessions.

As part of the center for the arts is the historic Potter Auditorium. Built in the 1930s, the landmark has been fully restored. Assorted productions by Wit’s End Theatre also take center stage.

History enthusiasts won’t want to miss touring the two museums offered by the Chatfield Historical Society or the legendary Haven Stone Wall. Bordering on Old Territorial Road on Winona Hill, the wall, which began in 1927, taking 37 years to complete, features 157 notable artifacts and geological phenomena from around the world, all embedded within the limestone wall.

Several community celebrations are held annually including Chillfest, the fourth Saturday in January, Veteran’s Ice Fishing, the fourth Saturday in February, Trout Classic fishing tournament, the Saturday closest to April 15, and the Fall Festival of Color, the first Saturday in October. The granddaddy of them all is Western Days, held the second weekend in August. It includes a market, carnival, parades, concerts, dances, fireworks, a horse show, trail rides, and the Wit’s End Theatre’s Western Days Show.