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Interested in Stillwater

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6,173 posts
117 reviews
105 helpful votes
Interested in Stillwater

I'm surprised this forum doesn't get more posts. I'm interested in neat area lodging, good dining and area attractions and things to do. What shouldn't I miss if I'm in the area? Any input is appreciated from locals/travelers who know. I would love the inside scoop that goes beyond forum perusing and just links. Thanks!

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4,711 posts
17 reviews
15 helpful votes
1. Re: Interested in Stillwater

I would not call myself a Stillwater expert, but I get out there about 3 times a year. There is a nice old-timey, classic quality about Stillwater and a natural beauty that keeps me coming back. And referring Mpls board visitors looking for a nice day trip spot that's not too far away.

I have stayed twice at the Water Street Inn and liked it. Fits the old-timey theme but I couldn't talk to you about rates because it was always part of a wedding and I can't recall the rates.

Other than that I stay with a friend after a night at the Mad Capper drinking Lift Bridge or some other beer you can't find many other places. Wife likes wandering the downtown streets finding nick-nacks to waste money on ... er, buy. We use it as a stopover as often as we can -- for lunch usually -- on the short drive up to one of the state parks north of there on the river. William O'Brien or Interstate. Or sometimes as a stopover on the way over the river to Willow River for pseudo-camping.

Destination Expert
for Minneapolis, Minnesota
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1,311 posts
224 reviews
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2. Re: Interested in Stillwater

There's a great little winery (next to the co-op, or very close I think) where you can purchase samples and enjoy them on the back deck overlooking the St. Croix. It also overlooks PD Pappy's if that's any help locating it. It's fabulous on a summer day due to the great breeze and insulation from the noise on the streets from all the Harleys.

Another great respite is Stones - the patio is stunning and very intimate.

I enjoyed biking the Gateway Trail that starts/ends in Stillwater. But it does have major hills, one or two that you'll need to push up. It's more fun coming in on the north side of town.

The outdoor activities at Interstate Park are fabulous - kayaking, canoeing, hiking - definitely worth a day trip.

There also is a company that provides gondola rides - I'd love to try that sometime:


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379 posts
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3. Re: Interested in Stillwater

Have breakfast Saturday or Sunday morning at Savories on Main Street. It's a 30 mile trip for us but we try to get there about once a month.

Dallas, Texas
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2,459 posts
60 reviews
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4. Re: Interested in Stillwater

We lived there for several years but that was back in the late '80s. The library (one of the Andrew Carnegie Foundation builds) is worth seeing. really cool old building that was renovated a few years ago. Nice views of river from there too.


The paddlewheel boat dinner trips are fun. A lesser known but excellent restaurant is the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter in the woods just west of town. Excellent German food and beer. About 20 miles north at the bridge to Osceola, WI the National Park Service has a small park and picnic area on an island in the St. Croix River. Part of the national scenic riverways. Not real well known but still a popular place on summer weekends. Less busy than Interstate Park.

The Lowell Inn is a clasic old place. Sort of an institution but unique.


Edited: 29 May 2010, 06:12
Saint Paul...
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30 reviews
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5. Re: Interested in Stillwater

Stillwater is a great day trip from Minneapolis/St Paul - there is something for everyone the young and the young at heart. While antique stores and historic sites are plentiful there are also popular date spots like taking a walk along the river, ice cream at Nelson's, drinks at one of the neighborhood taverns (or for the 20-something's the Frieght House).

For a special occasion or traveling with a large group the paddle boat trips down the St. Croix are a great way to spend a night. (St. Croix Boat and Packet Co. does group rentals, not sure if there are trips open to individuals)

If you want to really experience the river rent a canoe or kayak at one of the outfitters north of town (Taylors Falls or Osceola) and spend the day (or a couple hours) heading down the river. There are typically several spots along the river the outfitters offer transportation back from so your car isn't abandoned at your starting point.

And depending on when you are visiting the spring is amazing for the Riverwalk Art Fair and Lumberjack Days are a lot of fun in late July.

However if you're coming to town on for one of these popular events, or even just on any nice sunny weekend, know that parking in town is always tough. If you are coming into town off hwy 36 there are parking lots just as you enter town on the right. If you plan ahead I recommend entering town from the north where it is much less crowded and where traffic waiting for the lift bridge across to WI is less likely to be backed-up. Also if you want to avoid the crowds watch-out for the big concert weekends that are happening across the river in Somerset, WI at River's Edge (outdoor concert venue). Or if you enjoy a good outdoor concert River's Edge can be a great time...I hear Jack Johnson is coming this summer!

Woodbury, Minnesota
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397 posts
37 reviews
27 helpful votes
6. Re: Interested in Stillwater

You have to eat at Tara Phil's Hideaway, it is so good. Though they claim to be Greek, there is food on their menu for anyone. It is my new favorite restaurant in Stillwater. I also like Luna Rosa for Italian. Downtown Stillwater is adorable. There are lots of shops and places to eat. Antiques galore. For drinks, The Freight House is tons of fun at night. A river cruise out of stillwater in the summer is fun. Lots of people in boats line up on the river and around the islands on the weekend. Maybe rent a boat and party it up on the river.

Level Contributor
473 posts
7. Re: Interested in Stillwater

Another vote for :

Tara Phil's Hideaway, Luna Rosa and the Freight House.

Luna Rosa offers a cave wine tour. Sounds interesting. We bought some half price tickets and are going this summer.

The place is packed for Lumberjack Days.

8. Re: Interested in Stillwater

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Removed on: 05 August 2010, 21:59
Edited: 05 August 2010, 21:59
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9. Re: Interested in Stillwater

The Marx Wine Bar is very good. For a burger/malt place check out Leo's. The Lowell Inn for fondue is very elegant. I also recommend the Stillwater Trolley tour, a narrated historic tour of the mansions surrounding town. There is a lot of history about the lumber barons that is very interesting to learn about the area.

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2 reviews
10. Re: Interested in Stillwater

There is a lot to do in Stillwater!

Restaurants I recommend: Domacin Wine Bar, Savories, and Marx Wine Bar. For casual dining, The Dock Cafe is nice and looks out over the river.

Places to Stay: Rivertown Inn is an out of this world luxury inn. It is a must-see even if you don't stay there, the rooms are unbelievable! The William Sauntry Mansion is also worth a visit. I would skip Water Street Inn unless you are with a wedding party, it isn't much different than your typical hotel and service is sketchy.

Things To Do: Take a gondola or paddleboat ride on the St. Croix River, visit Northern Vineyards or St. Croix Vineyards for wine tastings and tours, Take a cave tour downtown, hop on a pedicab from St. Croix Pedicab for a little ride around downtown by the river, stroll along mainstreet and take a look at all of the little shops, so many options!

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