A couple of weeks ago, as part of my “rediscover Minnesota tour”, I asked my mom and sister if they wanted to have a girls’ weekend in the Stillwater. If you’re not familiar, it’s a charming town along the St. Croix river that makes for a great rendezvous any time of year. In fact, at one point, Forbes voted Stillwater one of the prettiest small towns in America!
As fall begins to show its colors, I always think about visiting Stillwater. It’s a sweet little town to explore on a nice fall day. And there are apple orchards nearby, so it’s a great day trip to make if you’re in need of fall vibes.
When deciding where to stay, I immediately knew that I wanted to check into a bed & breakfast. Similar to Duluth, this old historic lumber town has all kinds of beautiful mansions that have been converted into lovely spots for out-of-towners to enjoy.
That’s when I discovered the beautiful Rivertown Inn. What first caught my eye was the intricacies of decor and attention to detail throughout the house. It was like stepping back into the 1880s, when the mansion was originally built.
When you pull up, you’ll find a lovely yellow mansion sitting up on a street corner, with views down to main street and the St. Croix river.
You’ll see the wrap-around porch, where you can sit out on wooden rockers. It’s a perfect spot to relax after breakfast in the morning or happy hour in the evening.
And if the porch is occupied, there’s a private gazebo that you can use as well. It’s sitting right next to a pretty garden, which makes for a relaxing spot in morning. In fact, we stepped into the gazebo with our cups of coffee after breakfast for a quick chat before getting on with our day.
The owners, Jeff and Julie Anderson, have brought in period pieces from their travel, like this amazing Gothic wall in the main dinning room. It was originally part of an old church which they bought at an action, and I thought it was absolutely stunning.
The main level is where you’ll have a gourmet breakfast in the morning, along with various commons room that you can enjoy throughout the day.
We enjoyed sitting on the large red sofa during happy hour, where you can nibble on small appetizers and enjoy a glass of wine next to the fireplace.
But I also really loved the room at the front of the house, with the rich brown hand-painted wallpaper, a grand piano, the Oriential rug, and stunning white-brick fireplace with a Victorian-era mantel.
The guest suites, also known as bedchambers at Rivertown Inn, were my favorite to date! Each bedchamber in the mansion is themed after a 19th or early 20th century poet or literary figure. Think Oscar Wilde and Agatha Christie.
Here are a few snaps from various rooms in the main house and the carriage house.
I booked the Jane Austen room, which is an elegant A-framed room up on the third floor of the mansion. Upon entering, you feel as though you’re in a romantic English bedchamber, which I thought was fitting for the young author of Pride + Prejudice.
I loved the green and pink canopy over the king-sized bed, the cushioned reading nook next to the window, the antique chandelier, and the Jane Austen books scattered throughout the room. The gas fireplace added to the charm of the room as well.
A nice contrast to the bedchamber was the modern bathroom. I especially loved the shower, because it comes with two fun surprises. The first you’ll discover right when you look in. There’s a gorgeous arched stain glass window over the shower’s built-in bench. Now that’s something I haven’t seen before!
The second surprise (at least for me) was finding out that I had a steam shower. You can still take a normal shower, of course. But if you want to turn on the steam, all you have to do is press a button. I used mine in the morning before breakfast, which was such a nice way to wake up.
I loved my room, and I know that my sister and Mom loved their room, too. All of us left the next morning with nothing but good things to say about our stay. We raved about the beautiful details throughout the house, and we even started to plan our next trip back!
And before I forget, I wanted to make sure to mention a few other things I loved about Rivertown Inn:
- Be on the lookout for the stained glass windows throughout the mansion. They’re stunning.
- The chef makes an incredible gourmet breakfast. Our menu included a zucchini muffin, veggie scramble, and a roasted pear.
- On that same note, the inn offers cooking classes on Saturday! Just check out the schedule on their website to see when the next class is.
- Make sure to enjoy the antiques, paintings, vintage fixtures, old parquet floors, and oriental rugs that you’ll find in all the rooms.
Things To Do In Stillwater, Minnesota
Alright, well you have the details on where you stay, but now what to do, right? Well not to worry, because I have a great list of things to do and places to eat. All that you’ll need to add to your itinerary (if you can fit it all in!).
- Stop at an apple orchard. Just head to Aamodt’s Apple Farm, where you can pick your own apples, go on a hayride, stomp grapes, listen to live music, and more!
- Get tickets for a boat cruise. They have several options that go up and down the St. Croix river. We bought ours through Stillwater River Boats, mostly because I loved the old look of their white and red paddlewheel vessels. Tickets usually include lunch or dinner, depending on when you book. But if you get a cruise during the day, you’ll get to enjoy the bluffs on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin side of the river.
- Go antiquing down Main Street. There are so many great options. Just start at one end of the street and walk down to the other, stepping into different stores as you go.
- Don’t miss out on a wine and/or beer tasting. I’d recommend stopping at Domacin Wine Bar if you’re craving vino, or Maple Island Brewing if you’re looking for craft beer. They have a brew that tastes like blueberry, which I surprisingly liked!
- Have a sweet tooth? There are two little old-fashioned candy shops in town: Tremblay’s Sweet Shop and Candyland. Both have a candy counter and are filled with the most delicious smells.
- If you love Christmas, visit Stillwater around the holidays. Why? Because the charming city does all kinds of charming things to get you into the holiday spirit. You can take a horse-drawn wagon ride through town, be greeted by the Victorian-era styled carolers strolling the streets, catch a glimpse of Santa on Main Street, and watch Lowell Park light up during the tree ceremony. It sounds kind of magical, right?
Places To Eat In Stillwater, Minnesota
These are recommendation based on places I tried and recommendations from locals.
- Brick + Bourbon is a good spot if you’re looking for those signature American restaurant dishes and tasty craft cocktails. It also has a rooftop bar which is a nice spot to hang out in the summer.
- If you’re looking for some southern charm, head to the Pearl And The Thief, right on the main drag. Thing bourbon and oysters, and that’s all you really need to know.
- Head to Marx Fusion Bistro if you’re looking for something a bit more eclectic. It’s a mix of taste buds, with a blend of Caribbean, Asian, and Italian American cuisine.
- Freight House isn’t a spot I’d recommend for food, but if you’re looking for a fun place to grab drinks, this is a good option. It’s in an old firehouse, and they have a huge outdoor patio with great views of the river.
- If you’re with a small group of friends, you might want to head to LoLo American Kitchen to share their small plates and craft cocktails.
- I loved our dinner at the Dock Cafe. It felt more like a romantic spot in the evening, but I’d love to go back during the day to watch the river rush by through the huge ceiling-high windows.
So, are you in love with Stillwater as much as I am? Honestly, I feel like every time I visit the little riverside town, I always find another reason to go back. I think it’s the quaintness that I adore. It feels old, but it also feels new.
If you do make a trip, you’ll have to share your experience with me. And don’t forget to check out the Rivertown Inn. It’s such a lovely place to stay!
Let’s go places,
All photos on this blog are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link back to the blog. Much appreciated and thank you for your support!
I have collaborated with the Rivertown Inn for this post, but all opinions are mine.