Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Red Wing Anniversary Getaway

Jesse and I decided to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary (7.5 years together!) by getting away for a night. I sensed we really needed more than a night out to dinner and suggested we check out someplace within an hour or two from home where we would spend the night. We settled on Red Wing, MN since we'd be heading south anyway to drop Riley off at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Red Wing actually holds a lot of history for me, but I've never gone there just for the enjoyment of it. When I worked in the adoption field I had to go to the hospital there to visit with birth and adoptive parents. And when I was really young I spent random weekend days with my parents visiting my brother in juvie.

Red Wing 1977? One of my favorite pictures of my brother.

My parents were divorced at the time so my memory either includes driving with my dad in the 1969 Custom Newport Chrysler to visit, or hopping on the Greyhound bus with my mom who was going blind. The bus driver was nice enough to drop us off at the bottom of the hill to the juvenile center instead of dropping us off in town. While these weren't terrible memories, I was excited to add a visit as a tourist. I was looking forward to exploring the city of Red Wing and what it has to offer - even if we were going to be there for less than 24 hours.

The plan was to drop Riley off with grandma and grandpa, but when we got to their house they weren't quite home yet. So naturally, I took this picture and texted my mother-in-law " Hope she's still here when you get home. See you tomorrow". Luckily, grandma and grandpa pulled up right after that. Who knows what would have happened. : )

We arrived in Red Wing around 1:00 pm on Saturday afternoon and walked around until we found a place to eat. Actually, we parked the car and followed the smell of grilling burgers to Bev's Cafe. I really wanted to have a burger because it smelled so good, but couldn't bring myself to do so since I technically had two the day before (one regular beef, one wild rice turkey). Instead, I had the crab salad wrap and Jesse had the gyro salad. They were both ok, but I think the gyro salad was the winner of the two.

Check in to the hotel was still at least an hour away after we ate lunch so we took advantage of the sunny day and warmer weather (although still way below normal) and hiked up Barn Bluff.

There are numerous routes to the scenic view at the top and we decided to take the most difficult - the North trail.

The North trail runs along the Mississippi river side of the bluff so the view is a little more appealing than the South route.

We saw guys rock climbing, and ran into a guy named Mike G (at least that's what was on his coat). Mike was a nice, older gentleman who shared the story of the quarry that we just passed.

There wasn't a ton of snow, but this is where we saw the most snow the whole time we were in Red Wing. They obviously had less snow overall than the Twin Cities. We got about a half mile in when we came across a 'closed' sign and had to turn around. It might have been nice if they had noted that at the beginning of the hill, but I'm glad we went that route for the view alone.

We headed back down and took the south trail which wasn't exactly easy either. It was a long steady incline to a set of stairs that took us to the very top. I was still feeling the strain in my legs and knees several days later.

Once we got to the top we got to take in a great view of the city and the river. It was perhaps about 44 degrees that day and the motorcycles and boats were out soaking up every bit of the sun and warmth that they could... and we could see it all from about 400 feet above the river.

We ran into a lady who shared that the flower below is the first flower to bloom in the spring. She and her friends were beyond excited to see a whole bunch of them sprouting up from beneath the dead, crunchy grass. They took multiple pictures of the flowers and once they were gone I did too. I can't remember what she said the name of these flowers were, but surely a good sign to see them.

Another good sign? Bugs! Gnats, actually. Normally, I would not be a fan of these, but I welcomed them as an indicator that spring was here (never mind that it snowed the next morning).

After our hike, we explored a couple stores in town. Of course we had to check out the Red Wing shoe store and museum, but we also wandered into a furniture store and walked out with a dresser. Well, we didn't buy it right away, but we did fall in love with a Paula Deen dresser. Yes, Paula Deen of food lore. Apparently she makes furniture too. Who woulda thought. We'd been looking for a new dresser recently and hadn't found something that we liked enough in our price range. Thankfully, we were able to afford this gem due to a very slight crack on the bottom. Jesse wanted to go home and take more measurements (even though I had them in my purse), but I wanted to commit to it. The next morning I told him I would be sick if we lost out on that dresser so we headed back and purchased it. And now we have an excuse to go back with my dad's truck for a day trip with our kid to pick it up.

After shopping we checked into the Country Inn which we found to be quite nice and modern. I'd go there again.

Once we cleaned up we headed out to the Falconer Winery to sample some wine and eat some food. We showed up at the tail end of a busy period where we were able to experience a bunch of inebriated people sipping on their wine samples. It took a bit for us to get service, but once it started to clear out our server gave us her full attention. Jesse is a fan of red wine and, well, I am too, but I can't drink it so I sampled some white wine while Jesse tried the few red wines they had. They had a lot more white wine so I didn't try them all, but the ones I had were quite good. In the end I walked out with two bottles while Jesse had none as he wasn't in love with the red wine offerings. The food was delicious. Many of the ingredients were apparently grown on site. Actually, the desert (brownies with melted Ghirardelli chocolate) was to die for. To DIE for. I'd go back for that alone.

As we were heading back to the hotel after the winery we decided to stop at Walmart like any good couple celebrating their anniversary. Actually, I sorta hate Walmart. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I just have issues with their business practices. At any rate, we were given a gift certificate over a year ago to Walmart that we hadn't used yet. As we waited at a stop sign with Walmart straight ahead we decided now was the time to use it. My husband declared that they were winning if we didn't actually use the gift card so that's how we ended up buying a video game, some kids clothes, and a bead bracelet making kit for Riley while slightly liquored up.

It was still fairly early (8:00 pm) when we got back to the hotel, but we're not the partying type so we were a-ok with that. Jesse read while I watched cable. We got rid of cable long ago, and even though I came across some interesting shows I still found myself surfing through all the channels repeatedly. No regret that we no longer have it at home. Jesse fell asleep by 8:30, but then woke as I was posting the following picture on Instagram. He wasn't all that exited about that, but he married me so I assume he knew what he was getting into (I like to take me some pictures). Happy Anniversary, Babe.

Sleep wasn't as glorious as we hoped. Some neighbors came 'home' around 1:30 and stomped around. Plus, even though I probably only had the equivalent of two glasses of wine, I had about 5 different wines which I think contributed to me sleeping poorly and feeling cruddy in the morning. 

Even though the hotel provided free breakfast we decided to check out the St. James, partly because it was recommended and partly because Jesse was craving an omelet. While eating breakfast we had a nice view of Barn Bluff in the distance. It actually looks like someone is standing up there which seems ridiculous because it was snowing and then started to rain.

It was at breakfast that I talked Jesse into buying the dresser so we swung by the store just to see if they happened to be open and they were. It was still fairly early and most stores were closed so we debated about what to do after we sealed the deal on the dresser. We wanted to check out the pottery mall, but that didn't open until 11. Finally, we decided to head back so we could pick Riley up before her nap. Plus, we knew we'd be back in a couple weeks for the dresser and could check out the pottery stores then. Not that I am huge into pottery, but it's the thing to do while there, right?

Not long after we arrived at Jesse's moms' house Riley asked us if we wanted a 'spot of tea'. Well, of course, my dear... especially if you are offering crumpets (aka animal crackers). Where does she get this stuff? So cute.

Seriously, this trip was so amazing even though it was short. I love my kid, but it was so delightful to have a conversation with my husband at a restaurant where we weren't constantly interrupted. I almost had forgotten that it was possible.

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