MANTORVILLE, Minn. (KTTC) -- When people from most small towns describe their community as authentic, they're typically talking about the neighbors and small business owners who seem to care about those stopping through just as much as they do the families who've lived there for years.
Mantorville definitely has that feeling, but when the people there use the word authentic -- they're talking about something completely different.
As you drive around the corner and down the hill into Mantorville -- something changes.
You exhale. You slow down. And as you look around, your modern vehicle begins to feel almost out of place.
"It has this permanent, solid, historical feel to it," said Jane Olive, a Mantorville resident and owner of Jane Olive's Studio.
To put it simply, Mantorville has been around for a very, very long time.
"It's actually an authentic town that has grown up through the ages, but still retains that historic character to it," said Chuck Bradford, the town's mayor.
In Mantorville, that historic character is really a way of life.
"Mantorville is all about doing things the old fashioned way, and that's what we do," said Lynnette Nash, a Mantorville resident and owner of the Chocolate Shoppe.
From businesses like Lynnette's, where she uses machines that date back to 1936 and 1928, to the famous Hubbell House, the modern restaurant started in 1946 by the parents of the current owner Don Pappas, Mantorville is steeped in tradition and small town charm.
Despite its age, the town still feels like it has at least as many years ahead of it as it does behind it.
"If a community doesn't have a creative outlet of some kind, it kind of shrivels up and dies," said Marylee Lambert of the Mantorville Art Guild. "Or it becomes very boring, very dull."
Some of Mantorville's vibrancy comes from that art guild, which features the work of 50 local artists.
"The fact that some our things sell sometimes is just icing on the cake," Lambert said.
And more comes from the melodramas that bring in visitors and engage locals all summer long.
And then there are those ubiquitous hand-made costumes
"It's not so much just putting on a long skirt and having fun," Olive said about the costumes she creates herself. "There's so much more to it."
The costumes are a tradition that stems from the theater and speak volumes about Mantorville's way of life.
"It just seemed obvious that it would be so much more fun for the audience if the people out front were in the same Victorian costumes that the people on stage were," Olive said.
You can see it in the costumes and the culture -- the shops and the food. In this town you matter -- even if you're just here for an afternoon, a show or a meal.
It won't be long before you'll start to feel like these men and women are your neighbors and like you've lived here for a very, very long time.
"That kind of sums up the way Mantorville is," Nash said. "People genuinely care about you."
It's just authentic, in the most authentic way.
If you're looking to get out of town or head back in time soon, Mantorville is hosting their Old Tyme Days celebration on June 29 and 30 with events like the costume competition, a pets welcome wine tasting, vintage tractor show and plenty of living history.
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