Sunday, September 8, 2013

MISSISSIPPI RIVER TOWNS

Just got back from a relaxing two days away with my husband. We made a loop around the Mississippi River ( well, part of it anyway ) stopping at our favorite little river towns. We made stops for ice cream, special treats at a chocolate shoppe, our favorite antique, book, and art shoppes, and stops to just relax and enjoy the beautiful weather, scenery, and eagles flying overhead.

We started in Wabasha, Minnesota where the townspeople were busy setting up for their Septoberfest Festival. The little town was hopping with people decorating. We visited some antique shoppes and watched the townspeople decorate while we ate ice cream. Despite the beautiful warm weather, the decorations helped me get motivated for Fall, something that has been hard to do this year. We then crossed the bridge over the Mississippi to enter Wisconsin. The Mississippi River is the dividing line separating Minnesota from Wisconsin. But there are only so many places where there are bridges to cross over to Wisconsin. We passed through the little towns of Nelsen ( cheese factory there ) and Alma and headed to Pepin, Wisc.


 Pepin sits at a point on the Mississippi where the River widens into Lake Pepin. There are many sailboats here as there is plenty of room to sail in the wide open waters of the lake. Across the lake on the Minnesota side is Lake City which also enjoys the beauty of Lake Pepin.We enjoyed the serenity of the lake and weather here. Quaint little signs direct you.



Next stop was Stockholm. A little community sitting on the side of a bluff. No, not in Sweden. Minnesota and Wisconsin are states where many Norwegians and Swedes settled years ago, including my own ancestors.You see many evidences of this as there are Scandinavian shoppes in almost every town. Yah, sure! The town is charming with little shoppes all over, plenty of flowers and places to sit and enjoy the scenery. The railroad is between the town and the river and you hear the rumbling and whistles of the trains as they rumble through.

Often shoppe owners will sit outside their shoppes and visit with each other, which was the case as we entered the local used bookstore. The owner just let us go inside on our own to look around. We came outside to pay him for our purchases. I bought a book called, "Coffee Made Her Insane, and Other Nuggets from Old Minnesota Newspapers", a book with authentic newspaper articles from the 1800's and early 1900's that are hilarious. My husband picked up a hat that said FREE on it.
Stockholm is an interesting quaint little friendly village inhabited by many artists and authors. It attracts many from all over the U.S. as it seeks to be a place where the arts are embraced, hosting at least two major art festivals a year. We enjoyed visiting with many of the shoppe owners and even a local author.

We moved on and made another stop along the way at another favorite  little antique shoppe. The friendly gentleman we always see there proudly talks about how his wife goes out and collects the antiques and he "mans the shop" and sells them.

We crossed the Mississippi again heading back into Minnesota entering the town of Red Wing which is famous for its Red Wing Pottery. If you're from Minnesota you know about Red Wing Pottery. It's the pottery everyone's Grandma collected, my Gramma included. I have a few pieces of hers that I use all the time and love. The Pottery Place is the old factory where the pottery was made. Now it's a Mall. We go there for the big antique Mall they have there.

We stayed in Red Wing at the St. James Hotel. The St James first opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1875 after a group of 11 civic minded businessmen recognized the need for a first class lodging establishment in Red Wing, the wheat trading center of the world. It has been one of our  favorite places to stay to celebrate anniversaries. Much of the character of the Inn remains throughout with original antiques in the hallways and old photos on the walls. Every room is named connecting it to the past. We stayed in the Quincy room named after a steamboat that traveled often through the city back in the Inn's earliest days. We had lovely views of the river and the outdoor Restaurant, The Veranda.


The St James Hotel



                  They provide silk robes in the bathroom and chocolates in the evening. If you'd like, they come in and straighten your room in the evening, pulling the bed covers down for you and leaving the chocolate on your pillow. We prefer pulling our own bed covers down, so they leave our chocolate at the door.

The Veranda


Heading south along the river we stopped at Lake City, Mn., known as the birthplace of water skiing. This little city is almost home to me as my parents had a small cabin and boat here and we spent many summers here. My grandparents also had a summer place here so we had a lot of family fun over the years. We stopped here to shop at the antique shoppes, one being housed in an old button factory. I DID buy some antique treasures over the weekend but I'll show you those in another post. This one is getting too long. If you've come this far, thanks for hanging in there with me. If you are ever near this area, you really need to make this little village trek a "must see". You will LOVE it! You betcha!

5 comments:

  1. Great tour but.....no mention of Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House in the big woods'?? And their journeys that began on the shores of Lake Pepin? ;) (can you tell I'm a fan?)

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    1. Sorry about leaving Laura out of the story. We DID go past her birthplace in Pepin, Wisc.Too many little tidbits of info to keep track of.

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  2. I enjoy visiting little towns like those, especially this time of year. I'd love to visit Red Wing and check out that pottery.

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    1. We'll probably take a day trip around the same loop when the leaves turn their beautiful colors. We don't live that far away. I don't know where you live but you'll have to make the trip there sometime. And you'll find the Red Wing pottery all over.

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  3. What a very special trip! I love this kind of thing! I love poking around old shops looking at antiques, pottery, dishes, books. Sigh.

    Your hotel sounds delightful as well.

    Deanna

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