New Venues in town

This weekend, we have our friends Tim & Pat in town for a quick visit following our bike ride across Minnesota.  Yesterday, we went looking for the Big Wood Brewery in White Bear Lake. Our son Jeff told me where to find it “back behind the Kellerman’s Event Center“.  We asked about the venue and learned about some brand new fun options in the area.

Jeff helps produce a monthly variety show in White Bear Lake for GTN16 and told us about two new venues in the area, the Valhalla Ale House and the Alchemist Martini Lounge.  We spent a wonderful piece of the afternoon touring Big Wood, the Alchemist and Kellerman’s.

Tomorrow, Jeff’s show will feature these new venues and here is a pre-release copy.

  • Valhalla @ 1:07
  • The Alchemist @ 13:35

Day 8 – Winona to New Albin, Iowa

Day 8 – Winona to New Albin, Iowa – 58 miles

Highlights today –

This is our second hilliest day with a change in elevation of 3,910. Be prepared for our biggest hill today when we turn onto County Road 3 on our way to Great River Bluffs State Park. Visit Winona’s Historic District and the MN Marine Art Museum in Winona (open at 10am), Great River Bluffs State Park, Apple Blossom Scenic Byway, wineries, apple orchards, view Lock and Dam #6 and #7, and travel through the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge. We will celebrate the completion of our week together on the MRT!

Apple Blossom Scenic Byway – a variety of wineries and apple orchards.

La Crescent – known as the “Apple Capital of Minnesota” because John S. Harris planted the first apple trees in the Midwest here. Following the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, Nathan Boone, youngest son of Daniel Boone was among the early surveyors of this area.

New Albin – Named for the son of a RR investor, the town blossomed to a population of 683 in the 20’s after the Chicago, Dubuque, and Minnesota RR ran through this area in 1872. Milt Gantenbein, a Green Bay Packer from 1931-1940 was born in New Albin, Iowa, in 1910.


Day 7 – Red Wing to Winona

Day 7 – Red Wing to Winona – 70 miles

Highlights today –

The bluffs continue as we enjoy amazing views of the river and have our hilliest day with a total of 4,727 feet of up and down elevation change. View Lock and Dam #4 and #5, sit and enjoy Lake Pepin, visit Pepin Heights Apple Orchard, watch the eagle show at the National Eagle Center, climb the 600 steps at John A. Latsch State Park for amazing views of the river valley.

Lake City

  • Lake Pepin is the 1922 birthplace of waterskiing
  • Home to the Haralson apple

Reads Landing

  • Home of Wabasha County History Museum
  • Read’s Landing Brewing Company


  • Home to the 1993 film Grumpy Old Men
  • National Eagle Center Kellogg
  • Kellogg – Weaver Dunes Scientific and Natural Area

Day 6 – St. Paul to Red Wing

Day 5 – St. Paul to Red Wing – 55 miles

Highlights today –

National Park Service ribbon cutting for the MRT within MNRRA, cross the 525 foot longest free standing, tied-arch span bridge in Hastings, the “hills” part of the trip begins as we reach the bluff country, visit Red Wing Shoes, and Red Wing Pottery.

Hastings – With a current population of about 22,000, this is the county seat for Dakota County and a river town that brought many settlers via steamboats to take advantage of the logging and flours milling in the area. The name was selected by drawing a name out of a hat by the original founders.

  • Home of Lock and Dam #2
  • Vermillion River runs through town and into the Mississippi – official end of the MNRRA
  • Hastings and Allina Health have developed a new bike share system to promote a healthy city

Red Wing – The county seat for Goodhue County with a current population around 16,000, it was named after Sioux Chief, Red Wing, a friend of the United States during the War of 1812. Treasure Island Casino is nearby and part of the Prairie Island Indian Reservation.

  • Home to the Cannon Valley multi-use trail that runs east/west to Cannon Falls
  • Red Wing Pottery founded in 1861 when the clay was discovered near Hay Creek
  • See the 16’ tall size 638-D boot at the Red Wing Shoe Museum
  • Peek into the St. James Hotel built in 1875
  • Visit the Tourism Office/RR Depot/Information Center downtown – Amtrak Stop
  • Pass the historic Romanesque style MN Correctional Facility which was built in 1889 and can house up to 111 juveniles. It was also the subject of a Bob Dylan song called, “Walls of Red Wing”.