Charming Minnesota Towns: Part Two

I wanted to call this blog post ‘Adventures in Taylors Falls’, but I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t have enough content quite yet to officially create a travel guide. I have more exploring of the area that needs to happen before I’d be able to put something together that I feel good about. Instead, I thought my recent visit could be a nice addition to my ‘Charming Minnesota Towns‘ series. Part One focused on a few charmers in the River Bluff region of southeast Minnesota. This included Red Wing, Wabasha, and Winona.

For Part Two of the series, I’m focusing on two charming cities a bit north along the: Marine on St. Croix and Taylors Falls.

Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota

I didn’t know about this place until my dad had mentioned it a month prior. He said they stumbled into a small riverside town that had a cute general store and downtown area. After doing a quick Google search, I felt as though it was a good place to stop on my way up to Taylors Falls.

When I say “small” that’s not an understatement. The population is just 689 souls, and one city block essentially makes up the historic village. And yes, you heard that right, it’s considered a historic village. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places thanks to what seems like an untouched village from years past.

Right as you drive in, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. The downtown is quite cute, with an old school general store, cafe, a Scandinavian restaurant, adorable chocolate shop, and a library. Oh, and a bank, if you care.

Things To Do In Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota

  • The old Marine General Store is the place to stop if you’re going out on the river and want to prep for a picnic. You can buy snacks, meats, cheeses, sandwiches, soup, and a selection of drinks here. It’s the perfect spot to pick up all of your goodies for the day. And fun fact: It’s the oldest continuously operating general store in Minnesota! Cool, right?
  • Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, make sure to stop by the award-winning St. Croix Chocolate Co. The adorable shop is just off the main drag on Parker Street and has some yummy treats for you to try. If you love it, try taking one of their chocolate making classes as well.
  • If you’re looking for a winery, you’ll have to try out the new Rustic Roots Winery just outside of town. They opened a few weeks ago with rave reviews. The estate-style venue overlooks very infant vineyards, but it’s still quite pretty.
  • Are you a green thumb? Stop at the cute Crabtree’s Garden Gate to pick up some plant babies. They also have home decor, accessories, and kitchen gadgets that you can check out. It’s a fun, quirky stop on the way up to Taylors Falls.

Where To Eat In Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota

  • If you’re looking for a quick breakfast or lunch spot, make sure to head over to the Marine Cafe. I stopped in on a hot day and ordered their iced chai latte. It was delicious. Plus, the cell phone service isn’t great, so getting access to their wi-fi was a nice perk.
  • The Brookside Bar and Grill is located right on the main drag of Marine on St. Croix. You’ll notice it right away because it’s in an old Scandinavian building. They serve American fare and have an outdoor patio where they have live music concerts in the summer.
  • Marine Landing is a cute cafe located next to the St. Croix River. It sits just above a small marina with an outdoor patio that has a great view of the river. It’s an informal dining joint. Their breakfast reminded me of what you might get at a diner. So if you’re looking for a big, greasy breakfast, this is the spot for you.

Taylors Falls, Minnesota

As you leave Marine on St. Croix, you’ll officially be on the national scenic riverway as you make your way up to Taylors Falls. It’s a pretty drive that’s just about 20 minutes north of the village, with a lot to see on the way.

Things To Do In Taylors Falls, Minnesota:

  • The Gammelg√•rden Museum has been on my must-see list for a while now. In Sweden, it means the old farm. It’s a set up of the first Swedish settlement in Minnesota. It looks charming, right?
  • Hiking in Interstate State Park has always been a fave of mine. The main hiking trails are along the bluffs above the St. Croix River, which makes for beautiful scenery. Especially in the fall time.
  • If you’re not up for a hike, I’d recommend booking a boat tour with Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours. They have daily excursions seven days a week for a 45-minute or 80-minute trip.
  • You also have the option of kayaking or canoeing along the river. You can easily rent one, or if you have your own, just jump in from one the many river access points.
  • Hungry? Thirsty? Stop at Wild Mountain Winery for some vino and wood-fire pizza. They also have live music now and then, so make sure to check out their website before you go.
  • If the kiddos are along for the ride, a great family-friendly place to stop is Adventure Falls Mini-Golf. It’s right next to the Drive-In Restaurant, so after dominating the course, you can pull up to the restaurant for burgers, malts, hot dogs, and more.

Where To Eat In Taylors Falls, Minnesota

  • Head over to the adorable Juneberry Cafe for lunch. You can eat in or take your goodies to go for your next adventure. They service sandwiches, soups, ice cream, and all kinds of other goodies.
  • If you’re looking for something fancier, Tangled Up In Blue is a good restaurant to checkout. They have seafood, steak, and all kinds of wine.
  • Coffee Talk (part of the Northwoods Roastery + Coffee Shops) is right on the main drag of Taylors Falls and right next to the cute public library. Stop in for local coffee, small bites, and a cozy atmosphere. And then head over the library to add a bit more charm to your day.

Like I mentioned earlier in the post, there’s still so much more exploring I need to do if the Taylors Falls area. If you’re making the trip, check out the nearby cities of Osceola (across the river in Wisconsin) and Scandia, MN. There are quite a few waterfalls in the area, too, but more on that another time.

And that’s a wrap. Hopefully, this overview provides you with a good start as you plan your trip to Marine on St. Croix and Taylors Falls. They are two charming towns in Minnesota indeed. I hope you agree!

Let’s go places,

Sarah

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