Sometimes you just have to go in the opposite direction. In Minnesota, that means not Up North.

After years of loving the Brainerd and Park Rapids lakes resorts, my husband wanted to try trips near Rochester. He had heard that trout lurked in the rivers in what’s called bluff country.

We were immediately struck with its beauty. We knew we had found more than trout after a few trips to Whitewater and Forestville state parks.

We built our trout house in 1992 when we were in our mid-50s. It’s silly to call our hideout a cabin, because with its A-frame design it’s obviously not. A vacant lot on a township road lining the Root River was the beginning. It wasn’t a pricey piece of land, which was all we could afford with three children in college. We did bed-and-breakfasts nearby for years and visited our lot, waiting for our kids to finish college.

Then we met a young designer at a friend’s housewarming party. We told him about our lot. He got more excited than we did, so we took him to see it. He fell in love. This house is his creation. A local guy said he’d build it for us but not during deer hunting season. He hired local kids and the high school shop teacher.

The house has three levels with two bedrooms and a loft. Our designer wisely suggested a bedroom on the first floor — smart planning as we age. There’s lots of room for visitors because of clever use of sofa beds. The cabin is built into the side of a bluff overlooking the river 65 feet below — a breathtaking location. The trout bite when they want to, and we have all learned to fly fish.

This area of Minnesota gives us so much: miles of bike trails; golf courses that fit our skills and wallets; Mayo Clinic within 35 minutes; the charming town of Lanesboro with its theater and shops, and the bluffs with hawks and eagles. The kicker: There is no traffic to get here!

Betty Beier, EDINA