I love old hotels and train stations almost as much as I love old books, and Red Wing has them and more! We are staying in the historic old St. James Hotel (built in 1875) which overlooks the Mississippi River and the old train station, where freight and passenger trains still roll in. Our room has a splendid view of both. The St. James is listed in the Historic Hotels of America Register. Whenever Ron and I travel, we like to include stops at historic hotels, sometimes overnight, sometimes just for a cocktail, meal or look-about.
The St. James has a both a beautiful modern lobby, and also maintains their old historic one…
Red Wing is situated among the beautiful Mississippi River bluffs, and is home to famous Red Wing stoneware and Red Wing shoes. Today we plan to leave Minnesota behind as we cross over the bridge into Wisconsin and visit some of the historic small towns along the east side of the river as we head south. One of these towns is Pepin, where Laura Ingalls Wilder spent part of her life and wrote a book focused on the area called Little House in the Big Woods.
Yesterday we said our goodbyes to close friends and family… we went to Molly’s Cafe in Silver Lake for breakfast with Rita, my Dad’s wife of twenty-seven years, and some of her family and friends. We stayed at her place in Silver Lake the previous night, where we had a nice campfire going but got chased indoors by mosquitoes. This happens frequently in Minnesota!
We visited two antique shops later in the day, one in Waconia, MN (Waconia Antiques) and one in Plato, MN (Pines-N-Tiques). At the second shop, we found an old Platt & Munk edition of Little Black Sambo, which we have been searching for over the past few months and this copy will make an elderly customer back home quite happy.
We spent the rest of the day with my sisters and their friends Lynn and Tom who were kind enough to take us on a wonderful boat ride on Lake Minnetonka, even past the house we sisters grew up in as children. Then we went back to their house for a terrific meal. Goodbyes are always difficult, but this had been a very special day– which made it a lot easier.
Goodbye to all our family and friends in Minnesota, and thank you for making our visit so special and memorable…for guiding us to old books, good food, fine company and cool water.