As a non-native of the Twin Cities area, I’m constantly mesmerized by its seemingly endless number of restaurants and coffee shops—so many that I’ll probably never get to all of them. Coming from a smaller town in Nebraska, it can be a relief to escape the hustle and bustle of a big city and find something simpler. My dad is a St. Olaf alum, so it seems fitting that I discovered Northfield to be the perfect escape. After a few visits with family and friends, here is my guide to experiencing the best Northfield has to offer.
Spring and Summer Events
Plan your trip around Northfield’s MayFly and June Bug Music Festivals, which take place the last weekend of May and June. The festivals include two days of outdoor (weather permitting) musical performances Friday and Saturday night at the Contented Cow, a local British-style pub in downtown Northfield.
Founded in 2010 by local artists and entrepreneurs, Northfield’s Riverwalk Market Fair begins on June 4 this year. Held every Saturday, the open-air market is strung along the scenic Cannon River. Expect to find locally grown produce, artisan foods, and a juried selection of art work, as well as musical entertainment, special events, and activities for the whole family.
Want to pick your own fresh produce? Stop by Lorences Berry Farm to pick berries to take home with you. Enjoy pre-picked asparagus in May to mid-June, pre-pick or Upick strawberries mid-June to July, and pre-pick or Upick raspberries early August to late September.
Where to Sleep
The Magic Door Bed and Breakfast: Step back in time with a relaxing night at Northfield’s Magic Door Bed and Breakfast. Built in 1899, the Magic Door is a stately, three-story Victorian home located just blocks from downtown Northfield. This is a bed and breakfast with a reputation for amenities and constant attention to detail.
Archer River House Inn: Open since 1877, the Archer House River Inn is a grand four-story red brick building that rests on the banks of the Cannon River at the center of downtown Northfield. It offers two full-service restaurants, the Bittersweet Café for caffeine and goodies, a lounge with a river deck, retail stores, and an exercise room.
Where to Caffeinate
Goodbye Blue Monday: Goodbye Blue Monday is a locally owned coffee shop located in downtown Northfield. Not only is the coffee unique and delicious, but the vintage, eclectic décor is unlike anything you’ll find at your go-to national chain. When I last visited, the line was almost out the door—it’s clearly a local favorite. (I also distinctly remember purchasing an enormous chocolate chip cookie, and forcing my mom to buy her own because I just couldn’t share its deliciousness.)
Where to Nosh
J. Grundy’s Reub ‘N’ Stein: Reub ‘N’ Stein was my dad’s favorite when he was a student at St. Olaf. I can see why it’s still his favorite when he passes through town. When I last visited this tavern, I ordered a cup of chili and split the bacon cheeseburger with a black bean patty between my mom and I. As delicious as it was, I don’t recommend eating here for lunch. Put off this feast until you’re done shopping and are at liberty to unbutton your jeans to make more room.
Where to Shop
Antiques of Northfield: I’m a sucker for a good antique store, and boy, is Antiques of Northfield a good one. The store literally overflows with all things vintage, crafty, and old-fashioned. You can’t visit a historic town like Northfield and not partake in a bit of harmless antiquing, right?
The Rare Pair: This locally owned treasure specializes in comfortable shoes, clothing, and accessories for men and women alike was once home to my favorite cool weather companion, a burnt orange wool scarf. The Rare Pair is my first shopping stop whenever I visit Northfield. With a helpful staff and wide selection, you’re sure to find something you just can’t live without—I know I have.
Explore more as you plan your trip to Northfield: