A few weeks ago we decided to take a random adventure up and down the Mississippi River. We drove down the Minnesota side through Hastings, Red Wing and Wabasha and up the Wisconsin side through Stockholm, Pepin and Ellsworth. It was such a fun and random day! I didn’t research much before we hit the road- except that I knew we wanted to visit the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.
Since we’ve spent a lot of time in Red Wing (more posts on that to come), we decided to drive straight through to Lake City. Lake City is the water skiing capital of the world because it was invented there in 1922— random fact for ya! I wanted to check out Lake Pepin Pearl Button Company because the building looked so awesome, plus there was a lot of history inside. Lake Pepin actually has fresh water pearls (a fact I never knew) and people used to harvest the pearls and oysters to make buttons, hence the name of the building. The building is now a fun antique store, but they have some awesome history displays about the Lake Pepin pearl buttons that you should check out if you like local and interesting history.
After a short drive, we finally made it to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha! I was probably the most excited of the 3 of us to see the Eagles :) We went in and visited them up close right away. Summit seemed to like the idea of getting in the enclosure with them, me not so much! They had some exhibits and a fun coloring area. Overall, I was impressed by the small but mighty museum- we might wait a few years to come back to see if anything changes though.
On a whim, I saw an ad for Lark Toys in Kellogg, MN in a free tourist publication at the Eagle Center. It didn’t take long to talk Matt into heading that way. Lark Toys is a toy manufacturer, toy store, toy musuem and attraction all in one! They even have their own hand carved and painted carousel. In warmer weather they also have mini golf and alpacas! I was SUPER impressed with this place. The toy store went on and on, and they even had little windows so you could see into their workshop where they hand make wooden toys. The toy museum was fun to walk through- I felt a lot of nostalgia so I definitely want to bring my parents there one of these days. The carousel was absolutely gorgeous, I was bummed that Summit was in no mood to take a ride.
After our fun stop at Lark Toys, we drove all the way up the Wisconsin side to Ellsworth. I really enjoyed looking out the window on our drive and found a lot of places to check out after Memorial Day, as it seemed like many of the small towns had closed for the winter. It took all my willpower to not stop at Villa Bellezza Winery - it’s one of my absolute favorite wineries in this area, plus the building is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to go back there this summer!
If you know my husband, you know that he LOVES cheese! So Ellsworth Creamery was on our list and I’m so glad we made it there 15 minutes before they closed for the day. We purchased regular cheese curds and some with taco flavoring. Both were delicious and we laughed almost all the way home as our teeth squeaked against the curds. Did you know that’s how you can tell they are fresh? By the SQUEAK! Anywho- we had a fun and random day exploring up and down the river… and we can’t wait to make a similar trip again in the spring!