Historical Mansion Close to Quaint Downtown
Housed in the natural environment of the St. Croix River Valley, Stillwater, Minnesota, was once a major lumber city—logs from the surrounding forests were floated down the river to sawmills in town. Built in 1882, Rivertown Inn is housed in a restored Victorian mansion that once belonged to a lumber baron. It sits on elegantly landscaped grounds located three blocks from Stillwater’s historic downtown and the riverfront. An expansive front porch wraps around the exterior, and on the inside you’ll find crystal chandeliers, 100-year-old parquet floors, and elaborate stained-glass windows.
Each room is lavishly decorated and named after a famous author or poet. In the Jane Austen suite, there’s a gas fireplace, a window seat, a built-in king size bed, and an arched stained glass window in the private bath. In the third-floor Lewis Carroll bedchamber, meanwhile, an ornately carved bed stands a few steps away from both a fireplace and a double whirlpool bathtub. A framed painting of the Cheshire Cat and antique box cameras decorate the space.
The inn hosts a social hour every evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., during which complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres are served and guests can get to know one another. In the morning, the attentive staff sets out a coffee service on each floor as in-house chef Ray Remler prepares a three-course breakfast downstairs using organic eggs from a Wisconsin farm, fair trade coffee roasted locally, ocean-friendly fare, and high quality artisanal cheeses. Sample breakfast dishes include egg soufflé with tofu, roasted shallot, and asparagus paired with potato gratin covered in Bella Vitano cheese and poached apricot turnover with strawberry compote. After breakfast, you can sip hot cocoa in front of the fireplace before heading out to explore downtown Stillwater.
Stillwater, Minnesota: Small-Town Charm Along the St. Croix River
Located on the southeastern border of Minnesota in the St. Croix River valley, Stillwater is a thriving city with a small-town feel. Its historic and picturesque downtown draws day-trippers from Minneapolis and St. Paul, which are only about a 40-minute drive away. Antique stores, B&Bs, and upscale restaurants line the old streets, also the shooting locations of several major motion pictures, including Grumpy Old Men, The Cure, and Fargo.
You can take a narrated historic tour of the city on an old-fashioned trolley, which trundles past Victorian mansions while a guide talks about Stillwater’s early days. If you’re taking a stroll, head toward Lowell Park for sweeping views of the St. Croix River. Afterward, reward yourself with a visit to Saint Croix Vineyards, one of the largest wineries in Minnesota, for a wine tasting and tour.
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