Whether piling into the car or hopping on a bike, the virtual Lake Minnetonka History Tour is a great way to spend a summer day. The tour features over 20 historical sites around Lake Minnetonka, according to Rachel Houck, executive director of the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society.

Those who take the tour can drive through the Northome Stone Arch in Deephaven, see the Cottagewood General Store in Deephaven, which opened in 1895, tour Excelsior and see how virtually unchanged the Water Street buildings are and much more.

The tour is a partnership between six historical organizations around the lake, Houck said. The organizations include the Excelsior- Lake Minnetonka, Deephaven, Minnetonka, Wayzata and Westonka historical societies and the Museum of Lake Minnetonka.

The organizations, which are run mainly by volunteers, wanted a way to stay up to date and support their missions while being closed during the pandemic. So, they decided to work together, she said.

The tour can be accessed in two ways. My Maps is best for those driving and biking to the sites because directions are easily accessible. For those who are homebound, such as people living in senior facilities, Google Earth is the best option. Through the Google Earth tour, viewers can pull up 3D images of the buildings next to the historical photos.

The volunteers at each organization selected sites in their area that were meaningful to them, Houck said. The sites have written descriptions and historical photos to go with them. Each historical site is accessible by car or bike and is still standing so visitors can see what the site looks like now.

The tour will be available indefinitely on all of the organizations’ websites. The organizations may even update the sites from time to time, Houck said.

Info: elmhs.org/virtualtours

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