EXPLORE RED WING, MINNESOTA VIA AMTRAK

Yes indeed, there is something for everyone in Red Wing, Minnesota. Thanks Kathy Silverthorn, Executive Director of Red Wing Visitors and Convention Bureau.  Red Wing truly deserves the honors of making it to top 25 in the Top Historic Destinations in the World by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine and also for making it in list of “1000 Places to See in the US and Canada before you die”.  Enjoy Red Wing for a perfect weekend getaway or much deserved R & R…from boating to hiking to fishing and skiing…and count me in as “American bald-eagles return to bluffs” watcher next Spring.

SWEET TREATS FOR SWEET DREAMS

We were met at the Red Wing Depot at 9 p.m. by St. James Hotel representative. And the depot is just behind the hotel, so we all opted to hike up St. James Hotel lobby for check-in registrations.   Pleasant night and to get that much needed “sweet dreams”, St. James Hotel made sure there’s a tempting sweet treat in the hotel room…and I yielded…fresh fruit tarts and chocolates, yummm!

GOOD DAY RED WING

(8:30 a.m. Breakfast at the Veranda Restaurant at the St. James Hotel)

Glenn and I both enjoyed the “corned beef-from scratch” with a stack of pancakes for breakfast.  Kathy Silverthorn of CVB joined the media participants for the much needed breakfast to endure a hectic “Explore: Red Wing” schedule. Minnesota writers Tricia Cornell and Lisa joined us for breakfast. It was time for a good morning start with Dorothy Westphal of Roaming Red Wing & Beyond as our official tour guide, and she really was fun and informative!

(10:00 a.m. Walk to the depot to the Red Wing Art Gallery)

Executive Director Dan Guida of Red Wing Arts Association briefed us on the incredible artworks at the Depot. The mosaic pieces in one part of the gallery earned lots of admiration from visitors and the wine label contest entries in another are topnotch. The diverse 2009 Gallery/Exhibition Schedule is just impressive…from photography to drawing the Human Figure (I think I’m coming back to Red wing for this!) to fiber art. Website: www.redwingartassociation.org

(11:00 a.m. Take a historic ride past the boat houses and Bay Point Park)

Lots to explore in one day….so we did some driving around, and tour-guide Dorothy showed us the 4 B & Bs (the Moonlight Inn has Jacuzzi in every room, please take note), Central Park Bandshell opening late this year for outdoor concerts, the only Catholic Church St. Joseph, Soren’s Bluff and of course the Red Wing Shoe Store (and locals still talking about the unforgettable huge Red Wing boot display during the 100th anniversary). And yes, the sight of boathouses at Baypoint Park was just out of this world. Colvill Park, the largest park, is very special to Dorothy and she and family would enjoy eagle watching in this park. At summertime, there are aquatic parks here with playgrounds that are handicapped-accessible.

(12:00 p.m. Stop for lunch at the Smokey Row Caf

é)It was past lunchtime, and yet the cafe was still packed with locals, enjoying paninis and wraps, among other lunch specials. Jenny Lind Bakery products (pastries, muffins and specialty breads like the Cardamom bread) displayed inside the cafe are simply irresistible. Just a quicky lunch and then we walked through various shops inside the Pottery Place Mall and I discovered some new kitchen gadgets from Peter Valtakis of Pete’s Kitchen Corner (and Pete obliged to show some gadgets for the Celebr-EAT-y Circle, and I could only wish I have an hour to explore his kitchen gadgets).

(1:00 p.m. Tour Hobgoblin Music, the home to Stoney End Harps)

This is really a reformed barn, but once inside Hobgoblin Music, one can’t help but get mesmerized by the Stoney end harps on display. And one beginner lady (so she claimed) produced good music from that floor harp, and what a treat when she did all adjustments to create different musical notes just like playing a piano. Gary Stone, owner and lover of woodworking, showed us the concert area at the 3rd floor (for musical concert series, harp workshops and even available for weddings and birthdays) and the production area at the ground level. And really, really, these Stoney End instruments, specially the light weight harps, available in lap or floor models and prices range from $ 250 to over $ 2,000, are well crafted, reasonable and I must say owning a harp is one good investment. Guess how long it takes to make a harp. The answer is 3 weeks and the strings are made of stiff nylon. Website: www.stoneyend.com.

Can you tell I’m uncomfortable with this musical instrument?

(2:00 p.m. Wine tasting at Falconer Vineyards Winery)

Yes, we all agree this stop was a must. Earlier at the Depot (Red Wing Art Gallery), I couldn’t keep my eyes off the winning wine label bearing John Faulkner face with his long beard and the idea of meeting this bearded winery icon just excited me more. The scenic vineyard (lots of wedding events in this vineyard too, complete with water pond) and the wine tasting that ensued was worth it. I love a Riesling but after tasting Potter John’s Special Edition, I just had to buy 2 bottles…it was that crisp, fruity, semi-sweet and yes, smooth. Glenn and I consumed it for my birthday, and it brought us back again to Red Wing’s fun moments. When asked if business slackens as a result of poor economy, John grinned and replied, “wine industry is recession-proof, there is nothing to worry!” Website: www.FalconerVineyards.com

 

 

 

(4:00 p.m. A tour of Sheldon Theatre) 

 



The restored 1904 Sheldon theatre opened its doors to the public in 1988 and its elegance from brass chandeliers to marble columns to stained glass makes just about any theatre performance (contemporary dance, solo to group vocalists, comedy to serious plays) an enjoyable entertainment to Red Wing locals and visitors. At the time of our tour, cast of Evita were rehearsing on centerstage. Website: www.sheldontheatre.org

(4:30 p.m. A tour of St. James Hotel)

There is definitely lots of history revealed from our tour of St. James Hotel, established in 1875, with representative Nicole Miller. From the casual Veranda restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner to the Patio and Porch enjoying an appetizer and the picturesque Mississippi river to Jimmy’s in the 5th floor for a truly classic pub fare, this is the best place to stay when in Red wing. Website: www.st-james-hotel.com

THANK YOU, REDWING…THANK YOU, AMTRAK

And always, AMTRAK will get me to Red Wing, and for me it is not just about the destination, it is also about the journey…and AMTRAK does everything, anything to ensure the trip isn’t a long one but an enjoyable trip instead. Experience the AMTRAK travel soon, Website: www.amtrak.com.

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