Stillwater Paints the Town Red

Stillwater, minnesota, rivertown inn
Rivertown Inn. Photo by Todd Buchanan.

Some celebrate Valentine’s Day with flowers and chocolate. Some splurge on a memorable meal complete with fine wine or champagne. What would happen if you combined all of that for one fantastic, romantic weekend in Stillwater? Marketing director of Discover Stillwater Christie Rosckes says, “Romance is all about doing something out of the ordinary. Coming to a town like Stillwater takes you back in time to feel like you’re away from the normal.” I can’t help but agree. Pull out your pen and paper, here’s my guide to the perfect holiday in Stillwater.

Where to stay

Two words: Victorian mansion. If you’ve ever wanted to step into a novel, Rivertown Inn is the perfect place to spend your Valentine’s. Pick from an assortment of novelist inspired rooms, like the Jane Austen Suite or the Lewis Carroll Bedchamber. Rivertown Inn manager Larry Loyer particularly loves the Oscar Wilde Suite because of its two fireplaces and skylight over the tub.

From the romantic décor, to the luxurious bathtubs, to rustic fireplaces, Rivertown Inn offers a one-of-a-kind experience in the quaint, yet lively town. “We’re the closest inn to downtown, just five blocks off of Main Street,” says Loyer. Plus, he says, Rivertown Inn is more of a boutique hotel than a B&B, as proven by its full staff and professional chef on hand. You’ll feel the comforts of home, but with more privacy and additional ammentities.

It’s no surprise that Rivertown Inn is booked for Valentine’s Day weekend, but if the holiday has inspired you to get away for one-on-one time with your sweetie, Stillwater is a just a quick jaunt from the Cities and offers other opportunities to celebrate love. While holding hands, you and yours can stroll through downtown by foot to shop and visit local boutiques and eateries, or take one of the free carriage rides along the river. I’m just saying, Cinderella had a carriage, and she lived happily ever after. (Let’s just hope these carriages don’t turn into pumpkins.)

Where to eat

Stillwater native Carolyn Light classifies her hometown as “the most beautiful place in Minnesota.” Light shares her top three favorite Stillwater restaurants, each offering a different type of date night experience.

Marx Fusion Bistro: This Stillwater favorite is a quick drive from the Rivertown Inn. Though it is a bit on the spendy side, the food is worth it, especially for the occasion. A few standouts on the menu include the lobster artichoke dip and the homemade spinach pappardelle.

Luna Rossa: Who counts calories on Valentine’s Day? Luna Rossa boasts authentic Italian food in a more casual dining experience. A candlelight dinner, wine, and shared appetizers seem like the ideal way to get your romance on.

Dock Café: This restaurant is the favorite of my native intelligence. Dock Café specializes in seafood with a fantastic view of the St. Croix River. Its walls of glass provide a panoramic view of the river, creating an ambiance that is unrivaled by any other restaurant in town. In the cooler months, a few cozy fireplaces keep the restaurant toasty for those bitter nights.

Where to energize

Tin Bins: Don’t forget your caffeine fix! Before hitting the road Sunday morning, make time for a frothy latté and perfectly crumbly scone. They not only serve breakfast essentials, but also a collection of unique artisan sandwiches. In a building full of character, Tin Bins is the best way to get your last fill of historic Stillwater before heading home.

Just because Valentine’s Day comes around once a year doesn’t mean that we can’t be spontaneously romantic the other 364 days. Even after Valentine’s Day, Stillwater remains what it has always been—a beautiful town filled with romantic escapes.

Learn more about finding romance in the everyday life of Stillwater at Discover Stillwater.

Stillwater, minnesota, rivertown inn
Rivertown Inn. Photo courtesy of Rivertown Inn.