Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stillwater, Minnesota—Beauty on an October Afternoon

MEA weekend is very special in Minnesota. The third Thursday and Friday in October are always the Minnesota Education Association's convention which means a four day weekend to all families with children in Minnesota schools. Our family has almost always used this as a travel weekend as it is off season for many vacation areas. This year we had to stay in town but my husband took off work anyway and I put my real estate business on hold and we spent a family day enjoying the fall colors along the river in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Okay Stillwater, Minnesota is not exactly a resort town but a great place to get away from it all. Since moving to Ham Lake we don't get into Stillwater on a weekly basis as we did when we were minutes away in North St. Paul. Yes, we used to walk the streets and check out the eclectic shops for antiques and treasures almost every weekend. The kids liked looking at the old stuff in the buildings that were once sawmills and department stores. We loved to ride the trolley when the line ran along the St. Croix river from the train station in north to the end of line near Brine's and The Freighthouse. It
was fun to watch the lift bridge stop for all the cars to let a boat through to head up or down the river. Some days we would just go up to watch all the people dressed up for the dinner train ride on the Minnesota Zephyr's afternoon run. It was like a treasure hunt for long lost memories.

As we strolled down memory lane...I mean Stillwater's main drag, my teens were disappointed to hear that the Minnesota Zephyr would no longer be running after December 2008. They had so many memories of that train. The first is more from my memory than theirs as it was when our oldest at 2 years old, decked out in his best pinstriped Oskosh bibs and train hat, met a real engineer and was taken to see the cab of the Zephyr. The boys remember the summer box lunch ride and the midnight ride on the "Hogwarts Express" when the sixth Harry Potter book was released. The train will stay as a stationary restaurant by the depot and not run the rails as it had in the past.

Though the red tour trolley was still there, Stillwater's yellow and green trolleys that used to run the tracks behind the shops along the river were gone. I think they had been dismantled after one of the last floods.

One of our last visits was at the time of the floods. The waterfront restaurant near the boat docks was flooded out and had to be rebuilt. It has been fully reconstructed now. There was a new walkway along the river tracks and wall to prevent future flooding. The lift bridge was saved from demolition and repaired over the past few years as well.

Here is the rest of the photo tour of our beautiful October day in Stillwater, Minnesota. A wonderful relaxing memory-filled getaway within the Twin Cities!

The Sawmill Antique Shop located on the north end of town across from the train depot is one of our favorite antique shops. The building features three stories of antiques from a variety of vendors. Also in the building is a hotdog/ice cream stand and an art shop for filled with beautiful paintings, photography and sculptures by local artists.

Another view of the Minnesota Zephyr and its dining cars. Note the beautiful fall colors on the bluffs that overlook the St. Croix River behind the train.

Stillwater is a popular place to dock your boat for summer fun along the St. Croix River. Not all the boats on the river have been prepared for winter.

Several boat owners are hoping to get in one last river excursion in before the snow flies. Across the river is a view of our neighboring state to the east, Wisconsin.

Here is a boat being removed from the river to be shrinkwrapped to protect it from the winter elements.

And one final shot of the Stillwater Aerial Lift Bridge from the north. We were hoping to see it lift but the boat was forced to turn and head down river instead.

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2008