I’ve had a bit of a “staycation” this week and in trying to decide what to do, a driving tour came to mind. It’s probably been ten years since I’ve made the trip around Lake Pepin. For those that don’t know, the wide area of the Mississippi around Lake City in Minnesota and Pepin in Wisconsin is what’s known as Lake Pepin.
I took off at mid-morning on Sunday and, it seems, picked one of the best days of the past week. The sky was mostly blue with just a few high clouds and the temperature was in the mid-sixties. It was a surprising temperature for late July in Minnesota, but I was happy with it.
The first stop was for coffee and a late breakfast at Karl’s Red Rock Cafe in Hastings. I’m not a huge fan of the normal bacon, eggs, toast, juice coffee thing for breakfast so I almost ordered a taco salad until I ran across the taco omelet with tasty sliced hash-browns. It was the perfect compromise.
Next stop, Red Wing. Home city of the famous Red Wing Boots and Red Wing Pottery. How do you suppose these two companies come together?
It is a short drive from there to Frontenac State Park. Frontenac itself is also a beautiful old village. It’s home to several turn of the century Bed and Breakfast Inns as well as Villa Maria, Frontenac, a retreat center and wonderful birding area these days.
Then on to Lake City and a wander out on the pier of their very nice harbor. The sail boats were lined up to leave as I walked the pier.
I crossed the mighty Mississippi at Wabasha and pointed the car back up the Wisconsin side toward Pepin for dinner at an old favorite, the Harborview Cafe.
The final stop of the day was in Stockholm, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I arrived about 5:00 pm so there wasn’t much open. I did run into the newest Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Gifts and they were still open. It’s a very different shop than their store and deli on Lake Street and had some high end specialty crafts from Norway and Sweden. The most interesting stuff was from the Jokkmokk Winter Market.
I rolled into the driveway about 6:00 pm and was just in time to take the dogs around the park before their dinner. A wonderful neighbor was doing dog sitting duty for the day, so they didn’t act very neglected.
All in all, it was a relaxing day full of water and valley views, food, history and conversation.