Last week was Spring Break for our kids. This meant I had the week off from teaching, so Mike took the week off as well. We didn't plan any large trip, but we thought it might be fun to take a few days to see some local sights.
We decided to drive down some of the "Great River Road". This route heads along the Mississippi from MN to New Orleans. Obviously we didn't get that far in only three days, but we hit some Minnesota highlights and a few Wisconsin ones along the way.
To begin, we headed to Hastings.
This was perhaps the coldest day we'd had in a couple weeks! Great timing. We walked around in the cold and the wet and still made the best of seeing some of this little town. When Maddie saw this wall she thought it was a definite picture moment and decided that she would get a picture in front of every town's sign that we stopped in.
There really wasn't much that we saw in Hastings. By this time of the drive we all needed a bathroom stop and Mike headed us in the direction of this little cafe. We didn't want to just walk in to use the facilities, so we stopped and had a little bite to eat with some hot chocolate.
We walked around, but unfortunately, not many of the stores were open at 10:30am on Monday morning. We headed to the Vermillion Falls, saw it for about 5 minutes, then headed out of Hastings.
Next up we stopped in Red Wing.
Maddie was extremely excited to find this wall!
We had planned to spend a little more time here. We first stopped at the Red Wing Pottery store. We waited around and were given a tour of their facilities. It's not a very big place, which surprised me. It was interesting but we enjoyed the end the most where we got to watch an artist throw a bowl. I think I could watch that all day.
We were hungry and headed to Bev's cafe. It's the oldest restaurant in downtown Red Wing according to it's website. The kids and I each had a shake or malt...complete with a blue cherry!
Mike ordered Gritwurst because according to the woman at the pottery place it was amazing. I don't know that amazing is the word Mike would use. It was oatmeal and sausage (?) mixed into one patty. He ate it, but I don't think it will be on his list of must haves for a special dinner.
After this we walked around through some little stores. We found the Red Wing Boot museum and the "Big Boot".
This is the largest boot in the world? Maybe just the United States. Anyway - it's 16 feet tall and was made exactly how they make their regular boots: real leather, soles, etc. The actual assembly took five months, but the process of idea to completion was along 13 months, I believe.
The laces were so big the kids couldn't even get their hands around them! The museum was upstairs and while fairly small, it was actually pretty interesting.
We walked around some more and ended up at the St. Jame's Hotel to walk around.
I"ll end with a little story that makes me giggle, but you'll need some recent history in our home. Maddie has spent the past six months researching and writing a paper on ghosts and other paranormal activity. The week before spring break, she had turned in her paper. We've all learned a great deal about ghosts, poltergeists, orbs, and spirits.
Maddie did not really want to go to the St. James because it is supposedly haunted by the first owner's wife, Clara. Once we convinced her that we were touring and not staying, she was much more willing to walk through the front door. We headed to one of the older parlors and she and I walked in and saw two very old pictures hanging on the far wall.
As we walked over, Maddie (who had not been willing to walk alone anywhere) asked if I thought that was Clara. We walked closer and I said it probably was, though I had no idea. As we both turned around I was behind her and very lightly blew across the back of her hair at her neck. She turned around wide-eyed and gulped in a big breath, "Omigosh! Did...I just..."
I just looked at her with a questioning look - I was obviously very interested in what she had to say. She just stumbled over some words and said, "Um...never mind," and was out of that room in about one second.
I never told her it was really me. She'll know it when she reads it here. Love you, Maddie!