Chateau Jazz Festival – Chateau St. Croix Winery

We do our best to stick with events, festival and locations in Minnesota.  Occasionally we do see something with a location across the border that grabs our attention and we feel deserves a mention.

The Chateau Jazz Festival takes place this Saturday, July 22nd from 12-6pm. The Chateau St. Croix Winery is located just outside of Saint Croix Falls Wisconsin.  If you’ve never been, it’s worth a bit of wandering to check it out.   The Jazz Festival is FREE admission.

Enjoy food from local food trucks, tour the winery and of course drink delicious Chateau wine. For those guests who prefer beer, we will offer a selection of local craft beers by the bottle. This is the perfect mid-summer event!

Music:
Babatunde Lea Quintet – 12:00pm
Steve Kenny Quartet – 1:30pm
Twin Cities Latin Jazz Ensemble – 3:00pm
Atlantis Quartet – 4:45pm
Andrew Wallesch – 1:00pm, 2:30pm, 4:15pm

Food Vendors:
A Wandering Fire – Wood Fire Pizza’s
Jessica’s Cucina – Wraps, Soups and more

Kayaking in Southern Minnesota

Just this past weekend, on a bright sunny day we decided to give kayaking a try.  All four of us have tried it at a friends cabin, just skirting some lake shore.  This time we decided to step it up a notch, we rented some kayaks and headed down the Zumbro River.

I wish I could I tell you that we found a secret free adventure, we did not.  What I can tell you is that we found one of the least expensive options.  We found some discounts for places that offer kayaking on lakes but we wanted to go down a river.  We chose a smaller business called Zumbro Falls River Ratz, as they were the least expensive we found for what we wanted to do.  We each wanted our own kayak, not tandem for this excursion.  The company we chose offers several different kayak options as well as tubes and canoes.  The Zumbro Falls River Ratz is a company that offers transportation, another thing we were looking for.  They drove us up the river and then we kayaked down, ending up where our vehicle was parked.  Thankfully we chose an almost perfect day, nice and sunny and not too hot.  It took us a little over two hours to go the six miles route on the river.

Just a few tips if you decide to give kayaking a try:

  • Make sure you’re prepared with the right type of payment, the company we chose is cash only.
  • Check the water conditions or weather with the place you want to rent from the day of day or day before
  • Wear Sunscreen
  • Be prepared that you will get a little or perhaps a lot wet, sort of your chose which one will happen.
  • If you want to bring lunch or a camera make sure to bring waterproof containers
  • The right footwear, especially if you plan to get out during the ride
  • Watch for wildlife along the route, we spotted:  turtles, a beaver, as well as several different birds and bugs.

We all enjoyed our day and will either be back to this same company and location yet this summer, or we just might branch out and try a completely different river in MN.

If you’ve rented kayaks in MN, is there a company or location you would recommend?  We still have a lot of summer left and would love to go exploring so please share your tips and suggestions. 

 

Wandering the State Forest Areas of Minnesota

The best part about Minnesota is the variety of landscape it offers.  Sure, we don’t have an actual mountain range but we still have plenty of areas to climb on rocks.  There are pine trees, prairies and everything in between.  Lakes, rivers, and even some puddles to be found.  If you want to go exploring, check out the State Forest areas around Minnesota.  A great, budget friendly and thrifty way to enjoy a bit of nature.  If you go to the website, you can get more information on all the different places you can explore.

 

State forests

You can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities – hiking, camping, wildlife viewing – in any of Minnesota’s State Forests.

State forest campgrounds and day-use areas are developed with a minimum of disturbance to the natural environment and are often in remote locations. This means that they are less likely to be as accessible as many state park campgrounds and facilities. Also, state forests do not have full-time staff available.

 

What we offer:

  • 1000 campsites at 46 campgrounds,
  • 44 day-use areas,
  • about 900 miles of trails, and
  • 142 water accesses.

Campgrounds

There are two types of campgrounds in state forests, developed and primitive.

Developed campgrounds charge a fee and have at least one accessible campsite with a level surface, accessible picnic table, and fire ring. Accessible paths lead from the campsite to a well and accessible vault toilet.

Primitive camp sites are also available at no charge. Most of these do not have accessible features.

  • State forest campgrounds do not have electric hookups or showers.
  • Most drinking water is provided from hand-pumped wells. Some campgrounds have accessible wells with a concrete pad and level approach.
  • Reservations at state forest campgrounds are not required or accepted.

Day Use Areas

Many state forests have day-use areas equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, drinking water, and toilets. They are often located on lakes and have hiking trails, boat access, and swimming beaches. Some have accessible picnic tables, vault toilets, and wells. Overnight camping is not allowed at day-use areas.

Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and Museum

It’s no secret, Duluth is a popular tourist destination.  You might be familiar with the many state parks that are in the area, and have probably watched the ships come in and out of the harbor.  We recently discovered a hidden gem in Duluth. Right along the shores of the “Gitche Gumee”  and located in the historic Canal Park area, you will find the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and Museum.  This hidden gem is always free, but be sure to check the hours as they vary depending on the time of year.  In the summer the center offers special films as well as Pier History Tours.  The Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and Museum also offers a live webcam of the lake area, check it out here.

Photo from Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and Museum website

 

 

The Long Prairie Drive-In Open for 2017 Season

Yes it’s April and yes the Long Prairie Drive-In is open for the 2017 season.  The Long Drive-In, is located on the edge of Long Prairie in central MN.  It’s been around since 1956 and is one of the few Drive-In theaters left in MN.  It’s only open on weekends and you can find information, directions as well as the the schedule here on their website.  We mentioned this last year, but the drive-in also has camping, so if you need to road trip, that’s a great option as well.

Welcome to The Long Drive-In Theatre! The Long Drive-In has been a favorite summer destination for central Minnesota since opening in 1956. Generations of theater-goers have had the opportunity to enjoy movies under the stars from the comfort of their car, lawn chair, or blanket.

GATES OPEN 6:30 on the nights we have movies (Weekends only) 

Enter the Drive-In before nightfall to ensure you catch the entire movie. The second movie follows the first after a brief intermission for snacks. Please see the “movies & menu” tab for concession prices. We do NOT close due to rain. We only close if it is life threatening weather. To ensure if we are open or closed, call (320)732-3142 for the answering machine.

PRICE (includes both movies)

Adults: $6.00 **6-11: $3.00 **5 & under: Free

 

National Beer Day in Granite Falls

Have you ever heard of Andrew Volstead?  I have to admit, I hadn’t until I was looking for events and things to do this weekend. I also learned that it’s National Beer Day on Friday, April 7th.  What does this have to do with Andrew you might ask.  Andrew was from Granite Falls and played a part in the ending of prohibition.  If you stop by the Chamber of Commerce in Granite Falls,  you can pick up the Prohibition Story walking tour guide.  If you can’t make it on Friday, you can check the website for other hours and dates when Andrew’s home will be open for tours.

Celebrate the end of Prohibition in Andrew Volstead’s hometown. Stop in the chamber office at 807 Prentice St and pick up a copy of the Prohibition Story walking tour guide. The Andrew J. Volstead House is open from 4-6 with local history of what happened on this day in 1933.  Then enjoy a beer at one of our bars and restaurants. The Granite Falls American Legion Post #69 has a  Free Beer special: Buy one domestic bottle, get one free from 4pm to 10pm.

Hiking and Walking in the Three Rivers Park District

I hope we can safely say that it’s spring, soon the white snow will be out of site.  With each day, I see more and more signs of spring. Thankfully we live in state that offers a lot of public land for us to be able to enjoy the outdoors.  So, even if you live in the middle of a town, you too have access to hiking and walking close by.  The Three Rivers Park District offers access to over 27, 000 acres of parks and trails.  Hiking and Walking is a way to get out and enjoy what spring has to offer.  The Three Rivers Park District recently updated and revamped their website, making it even easier to find a place to hike or walk.

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
― John Muir

12th Annual Randolph Railroad Days

All Board, it’s time for the 12th Annual Randolph Railroad Days.  It takes place this weekend, March 25-26 at the Randolph High School.  Randolph is located just 20 minutes south of the twin cities and 45 minutes north of Rochester.  Each year the Randolph Railroad Days gets bigger and better, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Hours are Saturday 9-3 and Sunday 10-2. Admission is $6 for adults and children 10 and under are free.

Joining us will be “Cannonball” Paul! (America’s Premier Old-Fashioned Railroad Musician) and Bookworm Bonnie (International Queen of the Hobos 2013-14).  Cannonball Paul will be doing shows but also will be serenading throughout both days of the train show.  Bookworm Bonnie will be doing railroad folklore presentations both days as well.

And of course once again we will have the CHOO CHOO BOB TV show’s Engineer Paul!  He will entertain families with sing-a-longs and story telling.  He will also be doing performances on both Saturday and Sunday.

Remember at the Randolph school we have gymnasiums (and more in the hallways) of Operating Layouts and our Swap Meet.  Also be sure to check out our and Museum and its railroad artifacts.  The School AND our Museum are both handicapped accessible.

There will also be railroad slide shows and presentations on both Saturday and Sunday.

There were to be train rides this year.  But unfortunately the local railroad now finds it has limited resources the day of this year’s Randolph Railroad Days.  The railroad is however optimistic that they may be able to do rides later this year.  Hopefully better than they originally had planned!  We’ll keep you posted.

In any case an Engine and Caboose WILL be at this year’s show to explore.

Admission is $6 for adults and children 10 and under are free.

 

 

Wells Fargo History Museum

Just when I think I’ve learned about all the museums in our area, I discover another one.  The Wells Fargo History Museum is located in Minneapolis.  The best part about it, it’s free.  It’s open M-F from 9-5, so it might take some planning to get to it if those are your work hours.  It’s family friendly and includes some aspects geared towards kids.  It’s self-guided but if you want to schedule a large group they do offer guided tours.  You can find more specific information here on their website, about the location, special events and more.  History is a great thing and fascinating to see how things have changed.

The museum is on the skyway level of the Wells Fargo Center at 6th Street South and Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The Wells Fargo History Museum offers visitors hands-on family fun.

Step off the skyway and into a storied past. Examine an authentic stagecoach from 1863, see the glimmer of real gold nuggets and coins, send coded messages by telegraph, ride in a rocking stagecoach, sing along to the Weatherball jingle—and much more!

Soar With the Eagles, Weekends in March

March is time to head to Wabasha.  It’s time for Soar With the Eagles, each weekend will have something for everyone.  There will be live animals, bird shows, arts and crafts, and more.  Check out the full schedule here.   You can find directions as well as admission information here.

March is here and it’s time to SOAR with the Eagles in Wabasha! This year’s lineup of presenters and exhibitors includes some exciting new things and some old favorites including flying bird shows, live animals, arts & crafts, exotic birds, insects and more! Don’t miss out – there’s something for everyone, so bring your family and friends! Our featured presenters are:

MARCH 4TH-5TH
EARTHQUEST

MARCH 11TH-12TH
WILD WORLD OF ANIMALS

MARCH 18TH-19TH
WINGS TO SOAR

MARCH 25TH-26TH
WINGS OF WONDER (CINCINNATI ZOO)