Hotel at a Glance: The Outing Lodge
The Outing Lodge dates back to 1858, where it stared as a dairy farm (one that would go on to be award-winning for 100 years, no less). The Georgian-style estate was rescued from demolition in the 1980s by the inn's current owner, Lee Gohlike, who gutted the interior and installed wooden floors and paneling cut from 100-year-old pine and fir trees. Today, the lodge is surrounded not by farmland but the 360-acre Pine Point Regional Park, on the eastern outskirts of St. Paul. Just steps from the lodge, you can cross-country ski or horseback ride on five miles of dirt trails that weave through the woods. Or, cuddle up with a good book in front one of the inn's many fireplaces.
- In-room amenities: All have private baths and electric fireplaces; some come with whirlpools. The Pablo Picasso room also has a three-season sun porch.
- Wake up to a breakfast buffet of freshly baked pastries, cheese, fruit, cold deli meats, yogurt with homemade granola, coffee, and juice
- Sign up for a themed dinner, which the inn hosts regularly; a typical feast includes a European-inspired spread of fresh baguettes, organic produce, and meats, followed by dessert and coffee
- Pet-friendly place: bring along your own four-legged friend (for an additional fee) or visit with the innkeeper's brown lab, Choco
- Included perk: This deal comes with a two-hour art studio session for two. You'll be supplied with a variety of painting and drawing materials, along with a fresh platter of cheese and a glass of wine
- Pedal to St. Paul on the 18-mile Gateway State Trail, whose trailhead is located near the inn
Stillwater, Minnesota: Historic Territory Town near the Twin Cities
Downtown Stillwater, Minnesota dates back to 1848, making it one of the oldest towns in the state. Many of its 19th-century buildings are still standing—more than 100 restaurants and shops line the downtown, tucking into what were once brick factories and warehouses. Nearby, paddleboats and steamboats chug down the St. Croix River, which forms the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its charming main drag is peppered with trees, towering church steeples, and historic red-brick buildings.
In the nearby Twin Cities—about 18 miles away—the paved Gateway State Trail is a popular choice for bicyclists and stretches from Pine Point Regional Park into St. Paul. Neighboring Minneapolis is more than just the geographic epicenter of the city—it’s the cultural heart too. Sports venues for the Timberwolves, Vikings, and Twins are neighbors to the lively nightclubs of the Warehouse District and the neon-lit marquees of the Hennepin Theater District.
In recent years, the city’s arts scene has gotten a lot of attention, and for good reason: Minneapolis has more live theater shows per capita than any other US city except New York. Additionally, dozens of eclectic galleries complement the wide-ranging exhibits at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which showcases everything from Japanese woodcut prints to turn-of-the-century European advertisements.