Perfect fall daytrips starting out in the Twin Cities

My favourite season of the year is probably early autumn. I love the fact that the trees are starting to shift in color, that the air is getting cooler making the perfect conditions for wearing knitted sweaters, socks and scarfs. Moreover it gets darker earlier in the day, which invites to tea drinking inside with blankets and lit candles. This time a year, I especially miss living in Wisconsin and all the small villages with farmers market on Sundays, kids running around “Trick or Treat?”-ing etc. For those of you living in the Twin Cities I recommend you to take a Sunday off in October and go on a little drive down south along the Great River Road and explore one of the small towns.

Picture from Google Maps.

Here some descriptions of a few small towns worth stopping by:

1. Stockholm, WI
As a former resident of this little town (and as a Swede) I of course have to recommend you to visit Stockholm. Despite its modest population of 66 people, there are still plenty of things to explore in the area. In the village centre there are of course the genral store and health clinic, but also a small hotel, a pie shop (the peacan pie is delisious) and most importantly art galleries and local craft shops. If you’re looking for something unique or the perfect gift, you’ll definitley find it here.

Stockholm General Store.

2. Nelson, WI
There is not much sites in Nelson, but what you definitely cannot drive pass is the Nelson Cream Factory. Here you can by Wisconsin made dairy products (cheese and more cheese) and state brew beer, but also Scandinavian goods such as Swedish pancake mix, gingerbread and “knäckebröd”. The factory also offers a lunch service including pizza, soup and sandwiches.

3. Alma, WI
Alma is another village with Scandinavian decent, but what makes this particular town special is their amazing view-point. From here you’ll get a perfect view of the Mississippi all year around as well be able to observe one of the floodgates where flatboats will be waiting in line, going up or down streams.


4. Wabasha, MN
Weather if Bob Dylan’s song “Meet Me in the Morning” in fact refers to an early morning in Wabasha of not, this song always starts to play in my head every time we cross the bridge from Nelson. Wabasha is an old town, made after the Chippewa River indian chiefs and stories of this historic town can be read in early American literature as well in Mark Twain’s diary. In Wabasha there is plenty of shops and restaurants to visit (The Irish Pub, T-bone and others) and for bird lovers there is the National Eagle Center by the lakeshore. Here you can encounter five, rescued eagles and learn more about them and the eagle as a specie and national symbol of the United States. In the end of September/early October every year the local pumpkin patch takes place and all over town you will find creative installations including the Peanuts and the classic Jack Lantern.

Artist carving pumpins.
Me and a giant pumping at the Septoberfest 2013.
Carriage and beautiful draft horses.
Eagle being feed at the National Eagle Center.

5. Red Wing, MN
Red Wing is an old industrial town and located just by the river on the Minnesota side. Here you can find the usual retailers and fast food stops, but I dare you to park the car by one of the beautiful brick houses and take a walk along main street or the lakeshore. If you feel like having a snack, stop at Hanisch Bakery & Coffee Shop to get a cup of coffee and a fresh made doughnut, they’re the best! Still if you feel like doing some shopping, you can visit the Red Wing Shoes Outlet and find a pair of quality shoes with a lower price tag than the market price.


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