Autumn has returned to Minnesota, and many of us find ourselves bracing for the chill and bitterness of winter. But, don’t let the upcoming cold distract you from the wonders of fall! Fall means football, the World Series, bonfires, all things pumpkin spice, but perhaps best of all, the beautiful fall colors.
When we see that first gold leaf appear, we may cringe at the thought of ice and snow not far behind. But as the chlorophyll continues to break down and more and more colors appear, we’re stopped in our tracks year after year at the wonder of Mother Nature. And, you don’t need to travel to New England for breathtaking vistas. If you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, you can appreciate this phenomenon right outside your door.
The maple in your front yard, the oak in the back or the elms lining your street may indeed be breathtaking, but if you really want to be wowed, get in your car and drive toward the “big picture.”
The vastness of Minnesota and Wisconsin offer approximately six weeks of potential road trips planned around fall colors. Tons of information exists on the internet, but check out the maps linked to the States for a quick overview.
Romantic Road Trips
With its vibrant beauty, snuggle-worthy temperatures, and the absence of holiday stress, autumn might be the most romantic season. Why not suggest a fall road trip with your sweetheart? And, with many wineries and breweries in the path of autumnal splendor, you could make your romantic day even more festive.
The Stillwater and Hastings area represents a relaxing but quick trip from anywhere in the metro area. One of the area’s oldest wineries, Alexis Bailey should not be missed if you haven’t been there and may be worth another trip even if you’ve visited many times.
If you’re willing to travel a bit farther or you’re taking your trip in October, Pepin Wisconsin and the surrounding towns offer one of the most beautiful drives in the nation. Don’t miss Villa Bellezza, where you can taste their award-winning wines and enjoy a glass on the terrace as you gaze at the vineyards. Minutes away, feast on Swedish pancakes at Bogus Creek Café or pick up an irresistible pie in Stockholm Wisconsin or anything apple (including hard cider) in Maiden Rock.
If beer interests you more than vino, breweries also abound in and around the Twin Cities. One, of the most scenic drives, however, and some pretty good suds are found in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin at Leinenkugel’s Brewery.
Family Friendly Road Trips
Can’t find a babysitter? No problem. Take the kids along and tell them to put away their phones and tablets and look out the window! Besides leaves of red, gold, yellow and orange they may even see cows, horses, llamas, and on some trips deer and bears!
There are plenty of kid-friendly destinations too including many apple orchards which cater to the much younger set. And, if you’re in and around Elk River don’t miss the opportunity to visit Oliver Kelly Farm for a fun and educational experience.
And, if you’re lucky enough to be traveling on a warm Indian summer day, you’ll score a lot of points with your offspring by stopping at a Drive-In or Dairy Queen.
Duluth sees color a bit earlier, and opportunities exist for a family trip or a romantic getaway. But, if you can spare a weekend, keep driving for a couple of hours and head toward Bayfield Wisconsin and Madeline Island. Enjoy water sports and camp with your kids on the Island or treat your spouse to a Bed and Breakfast weekend at Lucy’s Place in Bayfield.
Of course, we hope your road trip goes perfectly, but if you get a door ding in a parking lot or run into a hail storm on the way home, you know who to call Gray Duck Dent Repair, of course! Happy Fall!