Overnight retreats near Minneapolis
June 20, 2013 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me relax for a night away near Minneapolis.

I want Grand Marais, but without the 6 hours drive. I don't want to camp, but "cabins" are welcome. Share your 'hidden gems'.


- 90 minute drive or less (from south Minneapolis. Duluth is TOO FAR. Hopkins is too close.)
- neat small-town, or food, or history, or trails, or other weirdness (including MeFites!)
- nerdy stuff. If this is St. Mankota Falls GameCon Rendezvous weekend, please tell me!

- travel with a newborn-ish kid.

Itineraries welcome as well! Example: "Go to Red Wing. Stay at X, eat at Norton's". Or "drive to Mankota, get a bun at Emma Crumbee's, stay at X, go to the public library and read X".

(Since giving is sharing: my one for south Mpls might be: crash at my house, go to Tower Games and the Salt Cave, walk along Minnehaha Creek, watch a free concert at Hosmer library - Saturdays at 2!)
posted by gregglind to Travel & Transportation around Minnesota (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you been to Northfield? It's a small college town south of Minneapolis, with lots of shops, restaurants, and charm. The Archer House is an old inn in the center of town. I haven't stayed there, but it's supposed to be nice. You can also go hiking in Carleton's arboretum.
posted by Tsuga at 1:06 PM on June 20, 2013

Last year, I went to a wedding near Wabasha (home of the Grumpy Old Men) and was struck by how beautiful it was. Both the drive down (we took the Wisconsin route), and the town itself.

I don't recommend the hotel we stayed at (Best Western), but there are lots of B&Bs around, and my husband and I have made a note that we want to do a weekend getaway down there this summer/fall (if we can, actually, get away).
posted by sparklemotion at 5:41 PM on June 20, 2013

It's a fine line between camping and a cabin, but several MN state parks now offer camper cabins. There's not much in the way of amenities - you get a bed, but no bedding. And a fire pit. But they're pretty decent otherwise. Plenty of trails; for nerdy stuff, there are a number of Geocaches in the park.

If you can stomach that, consider Afton State Park. Afton has an Art Fair the weekend of Sep. 28-29, as well as a wine shop with free wine tasting most Friday evenings. Hudson is (more or less) right across the river and has a bandshell with concerts some nights, and its own art festival the same weekend. There are also various riverboat rides up and down the St. Croix for fall color viewing.
posted by SquidLips at 7:46 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Okay, this may be too close, but Excelsior is a lovely little town with lots to do. Here is a list of upcoming events. Other things you can do in Excelsior:

- shopping. Lots of cute little shops.
- visit the Commons. There are two nice beaches there and the bandstand has concerts sometimes.
- Rent a boat and go out on Lake Minnetonka
- Go to a lakeside restaurant and eat on the patio. In the summer, there aren't many places that are prettier. Maynard's and Lord Fletchers are popular spots, but I prefer Lola's out in Waconia (it doesn't seem as scenester-y and the food is really good.
- If you're into it, there is Oake on the Water (now called Sun Soaker Thursdays, I guess)
- The Dock Cinema is a classic movie theater
- Licks Unlimited and Adele's are old-timey little shops where you can buy ice cream or frozen custard (respectively). I think both of them still only open for the summer
- Take a steamboat ride
- Here is a B&B

These are just a few things. There's actually a lot of stuff to do in the Excelsior/Tonka Bay area.

Another option which is also charming and a nice getaway place is Stillwater. Unfortunately, I don't know as much about it as I do about Excelsior, but I have stayed at the Elephant Walk and really enjoyed it.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:46 PM on June 20, 2013

Head down to Stockholm, WI and stay at the Spring Street Inn or the River Road Inn. I've done the overnight in Red Wing with my family, and was really underwhelmed.
posted by lstanley at 9:51 PM on June 20, 2013

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