Last Chance for a Fall Riverboat Cruise


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At this time of year, it seems like one of every five Facebook or Instagram posts celebrate the beauty of autumn in the Midwest. This is our season to own, and I’m glad so many people recognize that and embrace it.   

I love that our Midwest climate, combined with the right mix of aspen, basswood, birch, butternut, elm, maple, ash, poplar, white oak, sumac, and witch hazel trees—creates this stunning kaleidoscope of color. You might get the same effect in New England, but you sure won’t get it in California.  

There are plenty of memorable routes for fall drives, but a really unique way to see the changing leaves is from a vantage point right on the water, and this weekend is one of the last to do so on a public riverboat cruise. You have a few options: The Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines, departing from either Afton or Hudson, Wis. and the St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., out of Stillwater.

If you opt for the Afton-Hudson Cruise, there's the Fall Colors Cruise ($21 for adults; kids 3-10 $11; kids under three $10) or the Sunday Brunch Cruise (adults $31.95; kids 3-10 $19; kids under three $9 plus tax and port fee). I've been on this cruise, and it's spectacular.

The St. Croix Boat & Packet Co. offers a prime rib Friday Night Dinner Cruise (adults $30.95; children 4-12 $25.95), Saturday steak and ribs dinner cruise (adults $32.95; children $27.95), or Sunday brunch and jazz cruise (adults $22.95; children $18.95). Really, you can't go wrong with any of these.

When I’m bundled in multiple layers this winter, teeth chattering as I push snow off my car and scrape ice off my windshield, I’ll try to hold onto the memory of a fall sight-seeing trip as a reminder of why I live here.

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