Stillwater, the “birthplace of Minnesota” lies on the St. Croix river about 30 minutes east of St. Paul. And while the town is best known as a haven for antiquing and romantic couples getaways there is plenty of fun to be had with your children in tow.
A tour of the Joseph Wolf Brewery Caves is informative for you and an exciting adventure for your little ones. After all, it’s rumored that the Stillwater caves were used by gangsters to hide money and liquor back when St.Paul was a safe haven. The tour is interesting and you will be amazed at how clear and still the water is below the ground.
If a larger body of water is more along your interests you’ll want to book a cruise on one of the historic paddlewheel boats that cruise the St. Croix River. A luncheon cruise is just the right length for getting your young ones to slow down. The river will relax them and the kid friendly lunch buffet includes deli meats & cheeses, fruits, salads and cookies- which are best eaten with a river view. If you’re very lucky you will get to go under the lift bridge. (If not there are great places to view the bridge from the river banks. My daughters were fascinated…)
Landlubbers (and history buffs) will enjoy the hour long trolley tours. The driver will keep you entertained with stories of lumberjacks and the Lumber Barons who built some of the town’s greatest houses.
If shopping is more your thing there is plenty of it. Along with antiques and artisans you will find wonderful boutiques. My girls really loved Doozie, which is filled with anything your little (or big) princess could want. From crowns and jewels to clothing and bags this is a store to find everything you must have that you didn’t know you wanted.
Another great store is Autumn Cottage. It’s a home furnishings store that will leave you wishing your home was larger, and their kids’ store is just as fabulous. The nostalgic feel of so many of their items will leave you wishing you had more room in your car to take it all home! I found a wonderful Map of the USA puzzle in it’s own little carrying box. Fun and educational.
And, before you leave, make a stop in Lily’s Grill and Malt Shop. Just don’t wait until the kids are starving because there is always a wait to be seated at this landmark restaurant. It’s located on the corner of Main street just a couple blocks up from the lift bridge.
Tip: Stillwater is very hilly. Make sure to bring a stroller or backpack for when the littlest ones get tired.