The 60-Mile Garage Sale Is a Bargain Hunter’s Paradise

And a great excuse to travel the Root River Trail

After a pandemic pause in 2020, the annual 60-Mile Garage Sale returns June 18 and 19 with sales lining the Root River State and Harmony-Preston Valley State Trails in southeastern Minnesota. Ten towns participate, and though the sale technically runs two days, the best stuff is usually picked over by Friday afternoon.

Team Minnevangelist wrote about its sale-hopping experience in the current issue of Minnesota Monthly. In Rushford, we met a mysterious stranger we nicknamed Zorro after learning that he’d scored himself a $2 sword — his second weapon purchase of the day. (His first was a Colombian bushwhacking machete with blood still dried on the blade.)

In the endless procession of secondhand books and snow boots, of Thighmasters and foot massagers, we caught little glimpses of humanity. How fun it is to spin stories about strangers based on what they’re unloading: hand-knit Nordic sweaters and commemorative church plates, half-used Halloween makeup and Red Wing crocks, back issues of Horse Illustrated and egg cartons packed with golf balls. Every object has its story.

In Houston, we spied a King James Bible for sale alongside the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, with the former priced at $2 and the latter going for the princely sum of $10. In Peterson, a Norwegian town with a thing for gnomes, we chatted with homeowners like Milford and Donna Olson, then 85. They’d already sold $275 worth of knickknacks and “big-ticket” power tools—all items they’d been unable to pawn off on their kids.

“Norwegians are tighter than all get out,” laughed Milford, a retired mail carrier. “We don’t throw anything away.”

Read our full report for Minnesota Monthly here. It includes tips on our favorite spots to eat, stay, and play in the Driftless region. Among the highlights: enormous Uffda breakfast wraps from Norsland Lefse in Rushford, Lanesboro-grown rhubarb pies at Aroma Pie Shoppe in Whalan; a visit to the nonprofit International Owl Center in Houston, the only one of its kind in the country; and petting newborn calves while stocking up on squeaky-fresh cheese curds at Metz’s Hart-Land Creamery in Rushford.