Red Wing has several top-notch bed-and-breakfasts, each in antiques-filled, historic homes. A few miles outside of downtown Red Wing, you’ll find the intimate Round Barn Farm (28650 Wildwood Ln., 651/385-9250, www.roundbarnfarm.com, $159–249), which calls itself a B&B&B—or bed & breakfast & bread—after the sourdough bread the proprietors bake in the wood-fired stone oven.
Five double rooms with feather beds, massage tubs, and fireplaces make this a welcoming retreat, and with extensive hiking trails on the farm itself, you may never feel the need to explore much further.
The colorful Moondance Inn (1105 W. 4th St., 651/388-8145 or 866/388-8145, www.moondanceinn.com, $185) is an 1874 Italianate with a large front porch and museum-quality living room. Two of the five large guestrooms have views of Barn Bluff, where the stone for the house was quarried, and each has its own double whirlpool.
The Pratt-Taber Inn (706 4th St. W., 651/388-7392, www.pratttaber.com, $99–150) was quite a stunner in its day. The 1876 red-brick Italianate home with a wrap-around porch has intricate wood carvings and other details just not seen today. After years of neglect, the current owners have lushly restored the home and created four guest rooms—decorated with seasonal themes—with private baths.
The only hotel right downtown is the venerable St. James Hotel (406 Main St., 651/388-2846 or 800/252-1875, www.st-james-hotel.com, $129), which opened in 1875. It now oozes with European elegance and charm; there’s even a pipe organ in the lobby. All 61 rooms are decorated with Amish quilts and antiques, and most have river or bluff views.
There are a number of chain hotels out on the highway. The nicest is the Best Western Rivertown Inn and Suites (Hwy. 61 & Withers Harbor Dr., 651/388-1577, $139), with indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpool suites, and specialized decor. Ask about ski packages at Welch Village.
For something a little different on longer trips, rent a houseboat from Great River Houseboats (1009 Main St. E., Wabasha, 651/565-3376, www.greatriverhouseboats.com). The family-owned company rents boats sleeping two to four people for a minimum of two nights ($600), or 10 people for the long weekend ($1,100–1,600) or the week ($1,700–2,400). The boats are fully equipped and—provided you’re ready to pilot a 48-foot boat—can move up and down the river within a 70-mile range.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition