Weekend days are rarely entirely free, with no pressure, plans, or prepping for those ahead. So when I stumbled across a shockingly open Saturday, I knew just what to do: call my mom and head 30 minutes east to roam downtown River Falls.
It’s been on my To Do list for quite awhile actually, ever since I learned family friends the Nistlers, founders of Riverwalk Art and Antiques, had expanded their space—and I happened to have a handy gift certificate, won via their Facebook page.
After an easy drive on Highway 94, we barely made it onto Main Street before turning a quick U and backtracking to the Ace parking lot to check out the displayed lawn wares of Rays Concrete. (Yes, I’m a sucker for a meaningful, well-placed statue.) While I didn’t connect with the large deer and other animals, and only contemplated a flower basket, a garden stone caught my mom’s eye right away and friendly owner David gave us such a good deal we couldn’t help but lug it into our car before heading off.
Second stop: sustenance! Any decent shopping day is a fail without it.
Right away on Main there’s the darling Dish & Spoon Cafe, with all sorts of coffee concoctions, bakery items, and handmade goods. We went with iced coffee and a couple delicious savory scones (ham and cheese, and roasted vegetables), heated up. The warm, loungy interior would have been perfect for an ordinary day or study session, but we were too excited about the sun not to dine on their back patio.
Then on to all the gifty stores and thrifty shopping. (No driving necessary; just park and walk.) Stereotypical men, this is probably not your street.
A particular favorite was Karma Gifts. Jewelry, hand-made soap, clever cooking utensils, signs, cards—it’s a shopper’s and gifter’s delight.
Finally, with a couple more hours to spare (which we needed), we made it to Riverwalk. Every nook and cranny of the expansive 4,200-square-foot space is filled with vintage finds, home decor, shoes, jewelry, you name it—and another 800 or so square feet features artists’ work: paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry and more. It’s a cooperative and the merchandise is always rotating, so look at the tag to see which artist or antiquer is selling the goods.
I walked away with a couple necklaces for $5 each, a few vintage made by amy cards, and a refurbished pull-out-couch-esque chair to fill a long-standing hole in my living room.
Talk about success! But the greatest gift was an entire, leisurely day with my mom, with nowhere to be.
Rays Concrete Karma Gifts
Note: River Falls Days is coming July 11-14, 2013, but there’s no need to wait—go twice!
Rays Concrete: W12130 770th Ave, River Falls, WI – 715-222-4788 (David), firstname.lastname@example.org
Dish & Spoon Cafe: 208 N. Main St., River Falls, WI – 715-426-9392, dishandthespooncafe.com
Karma Gifts: 204 N. Main Street, River Falls, WI – 715-425-8600, email@example.com, armagifts.com
Riverwalk Art & Antiques: 127 North Main, Lower Level, River Falls, WI – 715-425-0149, firstname.lastname@example.org, riverwalkartandantiques.com