The county seat of Fillmore County is Preston, a scenic village of 1,400 in the Root River Valley. Preston was founded by John Kaercher in 1853. This location was desirable as the river afforded opportunities for a dam, land for houses and access to abundant supplies of timber, water power, stonework and railway service. Preston derived its name from Luther Preston, the town’s first postmaster, a friend and employee of John Kaercher.
Today, as you drive into Preston on Hwy 52, a designated National Scenic Byway, you will be treated to one of the most beautiful panoramas in Historic Bluff Country.
Preston is known as “Minnesota’s Trout Capital” and is home to the “National Trout Center.”
Downtown Preston, has a number of unique shops and service businesses built around the county courthouse square.
Visitors to Preston will find overnight accommodations to suit everyone. The 40 room Country Trails Inn & Suites offers an indoor swimming pool; The Historic JailHouse Inn is a uniquely remodeled former county jail, now a B&B, where you can choose to spend the night in a cell; The Trailhead Inn is located at the Preston trail head on the Root River State bike trail, and there’s Crestwood Country Cabin, a three bedroom cabin for rent with a campfire area and WIFI internet.
There’s camping at Valley View Campground, which sits on Watson Creek, the County Fairgrounds Campground, or Maple Springs Campground, which are both adjacent to the Root River.
Preston offers many excellent dining choices. Guests and locals frequent the Branding Iron Supper Club, where they have a panoramic view of the city and surrounding area while they enjoy good food at a reasonable price. If you are staying at the Country Trails Inn & Suites, you can walk across Highway 16&52 to the B&B Olympic Bowl Restaurant. Or it’s just a few blocks to downtown Preston where you will find Chic’s Pizza Restaurant, and The Sweet Stop & Sandwich Shoppe. On Wednesday evenings food is served at the Servicemen’s Club.
Preston is also noted for having two apple orchards and convenient access to Forestville State Park & Mystery Cave. Because of the many Amish communities nearby, you will see Amish buggies frequenting the streets of Preston. The Preston Trailhead is an excellent place to start your biking or hiking outing or cross-country skiing in the winter. The Preston Golf & Country Club on Hwy 16 is open to the public and offers 9 holes of golf.
The Old Barn Resort located on County Road 17 just outside of Preston offers camping, a hostel, an 18-hole golf course, driving range, restaurant and access to the Root River State bike trail and Root River.
Preston’s annual celebration, “Trout Days,” which includes a youth & adult fishing contest, car show, parade, dance, vendors and the annual Chamber Golf Tournament, is celebrated the third weekend in May.