Stay and Play
Top 20 Things to Do & See This Summer
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You’ve been daydreaming of these lazy, hazy summer days long enough—when the puffy cumulus clouds dot a clear blue sky, a gentle breeze cools you off in the heat of the day, and the evenings are just about perfect. Make the most of this all-too-short season and take advantage of the unique activities and destinations Minnesota and neighboring Wisconsin has to offer.
The glaciers carved their way through Minnesota thousands of years ago creating a perfect blend of lakes, wooded hills, and open prairie in Alexandria, just two hours northwest of the Twin Cities metro. While in the area, stay at Arrowwood Resort on Lake Darling, complete with a 30-horse stable with riding ring and trails (45-minute guided trail rides are available to guests 8 and older), championship golf course, full-service marina, 38,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, indoor/outdoor tennis courts, spa, evening bonfires, and Camp Arrowwood for kids ages 4-12. Accommodations range from suites with private balconies to townhomes and cottages. Carlos Creek Winery and affordable boutique shopping in downtown ‘Alec’ is nearby. www.arrowwoodresort.com
2—Discover Historic Bluff Country
Take the scenic route along the Great River Road to Winona, a dual arts powerhouse and recreational paradise along the mighty Mississippi, offering everything from casual bike rides on bluff trails to white-linen dining before seeing nationally-acclaimed Shakespeare or impressive art inspired by the water at the Minnesota Maritime Museum. Whether you’re into paddling or Picasso, Beethoven or bluegrass, history or hiking, Winona is the perfect blend of natural beauty, vibrant arts, and Old-World charm. www.visitwinona.com • www.minnesotamarineart.org
3—Stay in a Treehouse
Built on steep wooded bluffs above the limestone cliffs of the Mississippi River Valley, Hawks View Cottages provide adventurous travelers—prepare for stairs— with an opportunity to see the hilltops and birds up-close, all while staying in what feels like a luxury treehouse. Visit the nearby towns of Fountain City, Alma, or Nelson, and the tasting room and wine bar at Seven Hawks Vineyard. www.hawksview.net
4—Raise your Glass
Summit, Lift Bridge, Fitger’s, 612, Harriet, Lucid, Surly, Fulton, Angry Man, Indeed Brewing Co.—so many local brewpubs and microbreweries, so little time. Tours and taprooms are the least expensive way to experience Minnesota’s booming craft beer movement. Each beer—and each location—has its own vibe. Call or visit the company’s websites for tour times and taproom hours.
5—Escape to an Island
The allure of an island vacation is the isolation, and part of the charm is actually getting to the island. To get to Madeline Island, take the Madeline Island Ferry from Bayfield, Wis. (a 25-minute trip) and enjoy spectacular views of Lake Superior and several of the Apostle Islands. Once on the island, walk along beautiful wooded trails, rent a bike and explore the area, visit the museums, embark on a sailing adventure, or check out the restaurants and pubs. Lodging options range from camping under the stars to luxurious homes and condos right on the shoreline. www.madelineisland.com