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Christmas Time at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN

he popular Kahler Grand Hotel across from the huge Gonda medical build- ing at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Photo by Ann Crawford.

The popular Kahler Grand Hotel across from the huge Gonda medical building at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Photo by Ann Crawford.

12/12/12—It looks like Roy, Sr. and I will be at Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a month or more. The long stay is necessary because of a special eye surgery that Roy, Sr. is having; it needs to be checked weekly. Also, he cannot fly home until he is released by his superb doctor. I will be working from here at least two weeks before you receive this issue of R&R Travel News®.

We are having a good time here—it is beautiful with snow and Christmas lights. Without our car, we stay on the Mayo area almost all the time. On arrival, we had a big snow with as low as zero degrees temperature, so we did not get out of the famous fully renovated 80-year-old hotel, the Kahler Grand. There is a skyway and “subway” underground to go from one place to another within the Mayo and downtown area. There are also some some good dining spots where you can walk to on the subway or skyway without a warm coat.

The first time we came here I envisioned a real subway train below the hotel, but it is really a way to travel underground by foot and enjoy the shops and restaurants along the way. There is also a “skyway” with all kinds of places one can visit such as the office center or just spend some quiet time in very pleasant surroundings in the hotel. The modernized, old hotel is wonderful, and we are meeting lots of interesting people. I have met at least ten other military retiree couples as well as people from around the world.

We dined at the special Grand Lord Essex Dining Room which was open for a Dickens-type Christmas dinner, complete with the staff dressed in the costumes of that time; (Middle) The table service was beautiful; food very spe- cial, indeed. Photo by Ann Crawford.

Grand Lord Essex Dining Room which was open for a Dickens-type Christmas dinner.Photo by Ann Crawford.

What a place!! I saw Elvis day before yesterday—he was adorable in a beautiful showplace costume. “Elvis” was young and handsome, and he had a similar voice to the one I remember in the fifties. The lobby of the main Gonda Building, directly across from our hotel, was full of people singing Christmas carols, and Elvis sang quite well, indeed. For a few moments it seemed like he was still with us when he was about 20 years old! I laughed to myself as I thought that perhaps I was already in Heaven and just did not realize it! The last time I saw the real Elvis, he was a soldier stationed in Germany and was not doing any performances.

Last night,we went to the Grand Kahler Lord Essex Dining Room here at Mayo Clinic to have a historical, old-time Christmas feast. The Lord Essex dining room was all decked out in the spirit of Christmas, except from an earlier era. The dinner was called “A parodied a la carte menu referencing Ebenezer’s adventures”. This Dickens’ Christmas story was first published in 1835 and has remained famous all these years. The waiters were all dressed in authentically correct service staff costumes. We even had young ladies singing carols. The food was excellent. It helped us take our minds off Roy’s upcoming surgery.

You should see the huge Mayo Clinic. To me, it appears that all Mayo folks have been to charm school. It is known as the very best place for superior medical care, perhaps in the world. The doctors are paid a salary and take their time with each patient. Really some of the “cures” I have heard about here are miraculous.

Many people travel here from around the world bringing a staff or relatives with them. Mayo’s Kahler Grand even allows visitors to bring their pet dogs for a fee.

Story by Ann Crawford

Reprint from Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1


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