Rooms in and around Northfield fill up fast—as in four years in advance—for St. Olaf and Carleton graduation and homecoming weekends. During the Defeat of Jesse James Days festival (the weekend after Labor Day) and the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, rooms are also hard to come by.
The undisputed top lodging option is the Archer House (212 Division St., 507/645-5661 or 800/247-2235, www.archerhouse.com, $75–160), a grand French Second Empire inn right downtown. Erected in 1877, the hotel has been completely modernized without sacrificing its historic character. The 36 individually decorated rooms have various little extras, such as claw-foot tubs and four-poster beds.
If the Archer House is full, consider the completely modern Country Inn (300 Hwy. 3 S., 507/645-2286 or 800/456-4000, $95) across the river.
For longer stays, or for more convenience during a single overnight, the Froggy Bottoms Suites (309 Water St. S., 507/650-0039, www.froggybottoms.com), next door to the pub of the same name, are a unique option. The one- and two-bedroom suites sleep four or six people and come with fully equipped kitchens and on-site laundry facilities.
The price is the same no matter how many in your party: $100–150 for a weekday overnight, more on weekends and during special events, $600–900 weekly, and $1,800–2,700 monthly. The suites are homily decorated, like spare, comfortable student apartments, with a goofy frog theme throughout. Several have decks directly overlooking the river.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition