Weekend Adventures!


Mom and I headed out for a weekend adventure on Saturday morning! Destination: Winona. We had a general schedule planned for Saturday-Sunday with plenty of room built in for spontaneous sights and sounds along the way. 

Highlights included:

Winona County Historical Society: This made for a terrific starting point for our journey. The upper floor of the building walks visitors through Winona history from about 500 million years ago through the present. The lower floor contains all kinds of interactive historical displays. I didn't know a lot about Winona prior to spending time at the Historical Society. We spent about 90 minutes there and it definitely gave us a lay of the land - past and present. 

Winona Farmer's Market: It's very early in the season and we got there about 11:30am (and it closes at noon). There wasn't a lot for food products, but there were quite a few vendors selling plants. We got some dried apple chips and beet chips. It would be fun to come back and check out this market in mid-July/August! Rochester has a great Saturday morning market, too. 

Watkin's Heritage Museum: I had no idea Watkins products were made in Winona! The heritage museum is free. Set aside 15-20 minutes of your Winona trip to pop in. It's some interesting history.  If you like spices or lotions, this would be a good place to come to stock up!

Acoustic Cafe: This is now one of my favorite restaurants in Minnesota. It's casual and delicious. And gluten-free sandwiches are such a luxurious treat! There are gluten-free soups, too. I HIGHLY recommend the turkey sandwich on a gluten-free bun. The Thai Espresso is also dynamite. I will be thinking about it all week. 

Marine Art Museum: Wow, wow, wow! Go to this museum. Set aside 2-3 hours at least. Wear comfortable shoes. Soak it all in! It is AMAZING that we have access to such outstanding pieces of art right here in southeastern Minnesota. Two of the security guards, Jim and Chris, were great to chat with, too. It was a gift to be immersed in so many seascapes and water images. Mom and I both really loved this stop on our trip! Huge highlight.

Garvin Heights Park: We stopped here twice! On Saturday, we stopped for the views. On Sunday, we did a hike. The hike was fairly long (allot 1-2 hours and bring water). It's very steep, too. GREAT exercise. Lovely views. And we saw a deer. 

Penguin Zesto: ICE CREAM! I didn't find anything about this ice cream experience to be particularly noteworthy, but we did find a terrific sunny spot for our ice cream consumption.

Waumandee House and Restaurant: This was the location of our overnight accommodations. There were definite pros and cons of this part of the trip. If you're thinking about staying the area, drop me a note and I can share more specifics. The drive from Winona to Waumandee is very peaceful and beautiful - bluff country! And on our Sunday morning drive back to Winona, we saw another deer frolicking right along the side of the road, pedestrian-style. It was quite a sight! 

Wisconsin Great River Road: We did a little driving on this picturesque stretch on Saturday and Sunday. GORGEOUS! I'd like to go back to Alma and do a little exploring there and in Fountain City. River towns are quite historic, and I'd like to learn more about their architecture and early settlers.

East Lake Winona (near Lake Lodge Recreation Center): This paved stretch was perfect for a mid-afternoon walk along the water on Sunday. It was a treat to pause for awhile and watch the fish swimming along. There were many kayakers and canoers, too! The views of the bluffs are breathtaking. Mom and I discussed that kayaking is definitely in the plans for a future summer adventure.    

Mr. Pizza North, Rochester: Our weekend explorations wrapped up at our favorite spot for gluten-free pizza in Rochester! Pepperoni, green olives, and spinach. Good + good + good. We split a pizza and gobbled it all up. Mr. Pizza does great work on the crust and toppings. It was a wonderful conclusion for a fantastic weekend. 
Stained glass at the Historical Society
This friend used to be on one of Winona's famous theaters. Now it resides in the Historical Society!
There's a small steamboat replica at the Historical Society, too!
I climbed on up the ladder to the top!
Standing outside the ol' Watkins Museum!
Watkins invented many products over the years! Both the Historical Center & the Watkins Museum
had many of the old bottles on display. 
Thai Espresso from The Acoustic Cafe. I would drink this every day!
So totally yum. 
Gluten-free wonder of wonders. I loved this turkey sandwich so much I ate it twice.
Two years of gluten-free living and this is one of my FAVORITE gf finds. 
Major trip highlight. Great food. Reasonable prices. Fun, funky atmosphere. 
Lovely views from Garvin Heights Park! Highly recommended!
Merrick State Park in Wisconsin didn't have much in the way of hiking. But we did see an oriel!  
For a great hike, try Garvin Heights! A long way down and a long way back up! 
Garvin views
Nature is lovely. 
More nature at Garvin Heights. 
Great hike! Loved it! But be warned: it's not a short jaunt. And it would be good to bring some water! 
Waumandee House
Waumandee cemetary
We walked along the East Lake Winona. Great views! And there were TONS of kayaks and canoes. 
The view from Garvin Heights.
So grateful for a fantastic adventure with @pamindeed!