Families found New Ulm a moving experience

Three families spend their first Christmas as New Ulmites

Photo by Clay Schuldt The Peterson, Dahl and Rubosky families all stand in front of the Hermann Monument. The three families are all actually part of the same family. Two sisters and their parents moved to New Ulm within months of each other. All feel it is the best community to continue growing their family. L to R: Brian Peterson, Susan Peterson, Eli Dahl (holding Eloise Dahl), Emily Dahl, Gwendolyn Rubosky and Zach Rubosky.

NEW ULM — In March, Gwendolyn and Zach Rubosky moved to New Ulm from the Twin Cities. Three months later in June, Emily and Eli Dahl moved to town with their young daughter Eloise. A month after that, Susan and Brian Peterson moved from Willmar to New Ulm.

The Rubosky, Dahl and Peterson families have more in common than being new to New Ulm. All three families are, in fact, part of the same family.

Susan and Brian Peterson are the parents of Emily and Gwendolyn. The two sisters, along with their parents agreed to move to New Ulm as a family. Gwendolyn said initially the plan was for everyone to move to New Ulm within five years, but they all managed to do it within five months of each other.

The Peterson family — including Gwendolyn and Emily — originally lived near Winona, but soon after the kids went off to college, Susan and Brian moved to Willmar.

Gwendolyn attended college at Cedarville University in Ohio where she met her husband Zach. The two graduated from college in 2020 and were married soon after.

Gwendolyn said she wanted to move back to Minnesota to be closer to family. First, they moved to suburbs around the Twin Cities. Gwendolyn’s sister Emily and her husband Eli were already in the Twin Cities, as was a brother.

Living in the Twin Cities during the height of the COVID pandemic was difficult. Gwendolyn said it was hard to meet new people and make friends. The pandemic forced many to isolate themselves from the larger community. In addition, her sister wanted to leave the Twin Cities to raise a family.

The idea of finding a smaller community appealed to Gwendolyn and Zach too. In addition, since most of the family was working remotely, they were not tied to living in any single city. In theory, the two sisters and their parents could all move together.

New Ulm came to their attention through family and friends. Emily and Eli had known a couple from the area, who talked up New Ulm as a great place to live. This inspired the Dahls to visit New Ulm to find an available home. Eli has a real estate license, which helped in searching for a new home.

The entire family was already familiar with New Ulm. Gwendolyn was actually born in Mankato and her father’s parents still live near Lake Crystal.

“Zach and I came down to New Ulm on a day trip last January,” Gwendolyn said. “We went to Lola’s and that was enough for us to decide we liked it here.”

They started looking for a house alongside Emily and Eli. Even though they began house hunting second, Gwendolyn and Zach found a home they loved right away. In addition, it was relatively inexpensive. Their first offer was accepted and the couple was able to move to town in March.

It took a few more tries for Emily and Eli, but the couple did find a house a few months later and moved to town in June. Their parents Brian and Susan followed along a month later in July.

It was a goal to move the entire family to New Ulm, but none of them expected it to happen so fast. Despite how fast it happened, none of the family has any regrets about the decision.

Gwendolyn said she was never nervous about moving to New Ulm. The entire family coming to this town made sense from a practical standpoint. Gwendolyn said from an economic perspective, New Ulm is more affordable than the metro area. However, the community itself was worth the move.

“There is a lot going on here,” Gwendolyn said. “Community events are always happening, much of it is family oriented.”

New Ulm is a smaller community, but many of the things they liked about the Twin Cities are available in and around New Ulm. The compact size of New Ulm also means it is not necessary to drive long distances for groceries or entertainment. The greatest benefit is the family is closer together. Gwendolyn’s new home is only five blocks from her parent’s new home.

As for making community connections, Gwendolyn said her family join Grace Community Church and were able to meet many friends immediately. The extended family has been in town less than a year and has not experienced every New Ulm event, but they are excited to be part of New Ulm.


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