Rooms in Winona can be very hard to come by on summer weekends, so plan as far ahead as possible.
Best of the budget lodging is the Midwestern Motel (7115 Martina Rd., Minnesota City, 507/452-9136 or 800/213-9136, www.midwesternmotel.com, $49), a few miles north of town on U.S. Highway 61. Little has changed at the Sterling Motel (1450 Gilmore Ave., 507/454-1120 or 800/452-1235, $45) since it opened in the 1950s.
The best-located hotel is the AmericInn (60 Riverview Dr., 507/457-0249 or 877/946-6622, $90), which sits by the river and has a two-story lighthouse room with Mississippi views. Facilities include a pool, whirlpool, and sauna.
The Carriage House Bed & Breakfast (420 Main St., 507/452-8256, www.chbb.com, $99–159), one of the longest-operating bed-and-breakfasts in the state, has its four guestrooms in a renovated 1870 carriage house that still maintains some original features. Each of the rooms has a private bath, and two have whirlpool tubs and fireplaces. After eating the continental breakfast, guests can borrow bikes, including a tandem, to explore the city, or they can take a ride in the owners’ Model A Ford.
Perhaps the most sumptuously, meticulously decorated bed-and-breakfast in Winona—or in the state—is the Alexander Mansion (274 Broadway E., 507/474-4224, www.alexandermansionbb.com, $149–179). The four guest rooms in this 1886 mansion show an over-the-top dedication to Victorian detail. Your hosts have reimagined the rooms as they might have been used by the family at the time—right down to Maude Alexander’s dressing gown hanging in the closet. Evening wine and hors d’oeuvres may be the highlight of your visit.
The rooms are plainer, but the views are unbeatable at the Village House Inn (Hwy. 14 & Knopp Valley R., 507/454-4322, www.villagehouseinn.com, $90), a brick house built in the 1870s at the base of the bluffs. The four rooms each have a private bath. The continental breakfast is self-serve and guests have access to a kitchen.
The 195-site Prairie Island Campground (1120 Prairie Island Rd., 507/452-4501, www.prairieislandcamp.com, $21 with electric hookup) north of town is your typical large municipal campground, though the riverside location, complete with a beach, is a bonus. Campers looking to enjoy natural surroundings should consider the nearby state parks or, better yet, take a boat or canoe out to one of the myriad islands around the city.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition