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Lark Toy Store
Highway 61 just north of Highway 42
Kellogg, MN 55945

Because we were running behind, we nearly passed up our next stop, the Lark toy store, the largest independent toy store in the country. What a mistake that would have been. Never mind the many rooms stuffed with all kinds of toys, neatly sorted into categories like Science and Nature (mostly dinosaurs), Books (including reissues of many gorgeous classics and unusual old titles), the wooden toy section (made by the Lark company itself), Boomer (reproductions of classic old toys), Puppets and so on. We wanted to buy all of it. We settled for a nice carved wooden pig and cow, as symbols of our trip.

The flat out highlight was an entirely wooden merry-go-round, designed by one person, hand carved by another, hand painted by two more, the work of nine years and on-going. The animals are fanciful images--an ostrich pulling a cart carrying eggs with chicks popping out, a pelican with its beak full of fish, some spilling to the floor, an incredible stegosaurus (with the varnish still drying on it). It was right out of a kid's dream and every adult in the place wanted to regress, get on the back of a swan or a hippo and ride all day. It's the kind of creation that will be a treasure 100 years from now, a labor of love that blew us away.

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