Friday, October 13, 2017

Another Birthday Adventure… Stockholm and the St. Croix River Valley: Part II

Attending an art fair is another great reason to explore a new town.  There are pros and cons to visiting a new town during an event, so just be prepared for anything.  You may have to wait in line to visit a long awaited establishment, and depending on how far you’ve traveled, if you will be visiting in the future (or will make future visits/plan to visit again), and your mood; you will have to decide if it is worth the wait.

The purpose of this trip was to celebrate a friend's birthday… and explore some of the towns along the St. Croix River (WI HWY 35 and MN HWY 61).  Ted and I had traveled to Maiden Rock, WI and Stockholm, WI in the spring and had been dying to go back to visit again.  Even after this trip, we would still like to go back again.

Prescott, WI

First stop, The Twisted Oak Coffee Shop in downtown Prescott.  It is hard to see the sign if you park across the street as the complete logo Twisted Oak Coffee Shop is on the window pane and not the wood awning.  It is worth finding this coffee shop, though.  The cozy shop has only a handful of small tables inside, but has overflow tables out on the sidewalk.  Inside, the lighting and furniture are dark like a cabin.  The drinks are delicious and the scone (from Emily’s Bakery & Deli in Hastings) was a little lighter and fluffier than expected, but still rather tasty.  I would have preferred it without the icing (even though the icing had a nice flavor).

If it is nice out, take your coffee across the street by the river.  Prescott is the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers.  You might (have flashbacks to childhood) feel like you are in a Disney movie as the railroad bridge towers over the river look like Mickey Mouse ears!

Maiden Rock, WI

As we were thirsty, we stopped at Ole’s Bar & Grill.  The new bar owner, and her good friend, the bartender settled us in right away with crisp, slightly spicy bloody mary’s

We stopped at the Green Queen artists’ shop, a lovely little shop specializing in all things pollination, across the street.  In addition to jewelry, art, and wind chimes; they also carry…

Stockholm, WI

After pulling off the road at a few scenic lookouts, we arrived outside of Stockholm… cars lined HWY 35 (and the neighborhood) for about a quarter of a mile in either direction of downtown.  Anxiety was high while we navigated the streets, dodging cars and people; however, we were persistent and ended up finding a perfect spot just outside of town.  As we walked into town, we stopped at several of the small artist shops…

Our spirits sank when we saw the line at the Stockholm Pie Shop as it was out the door.  So, rather than wait in line (as we were already quite hungry), we went to Lena’s Lucky Star restaurant to grab lunch.  Again, our spirits sank as we opened the door and saw the crowd of people waiting for tables.  We took a chance and put our name in anyway and ended up waiting less than five minutes!  Whew!  AC and good food on a 90 degree day.  As it was a busy day, a limited menu was served, but all we needed was something light and a cold beer… so the Nacho’s Grande (with ground beef, beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes) and Mango Blonde (from Lift Bridge) were a perfect combination.  The nachos were nice and light and the perfect size for sharing (for two).  

The main event: the Stockholm Art Fair!  The fair is held past the railroad tracks by the river at the Stockholm Village Park.  The giant trees (and artists’ tents) were a blessing in the heat of the day.

The art was fabulous, of course… going to an art fair is like going to an art gallery, only in a more casual atmosphere.  Browsing with a friend is a great way to spend the day!

Pepin, WI

After Stockholm, we stopped at the Pickle Factory Pub… fancy restaurant upstairs… casual bar downstairs… great place for people to stop when they are boating…

Wabasha, MN

We crossed back over the river through the beautiful Nelson-Trevino Bottoms State Natural Area (so beautiful in the slanting rays of the afternoon sun!) to the home of the Grumpy Old Men Festival… stopped at Slippery’s Tavern Restaurantthe clam chowder is as good as they claim!!

After taking pictures with the Grumpy Old Men benches we headed home along HWY 61 as we were sleeeeepy… again, a lovely drive along the river!

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