As I sit here on another rainy day, I can’t help but be reminded of the road trip that Sandy (my best friend) and I made to explore South East Minnesota over a long weekend. A place that has been our home for almost 30 years, and still left undiscovered by the two of us. After a lot of talking about this road trip my best friend and I made a list and head out to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things for the camping trip. Okay, not a few things… a lot of things, we started with a tent, some Boons Farm “wine”, marshmallows, Cheese-its and baked brown beans, the essentials for an amazing camping trip.
Day 1: Sandy was the navigator and I the driver. We started off on the road trip with the intent of having a few interesting stops along the way. Sandy directed us to our first location; a park, in the middle of nowhere on Vineyard Street, rather than a vineyard. I filmed the reaction Sandy and I had when we ended up at the park. Sandy explains where we are….
After regrouping, we headed south, on towards the casino to try our hands at the slots. While driving we discovered Trashy Lady road, and we knew we were in the right place. Lunch in Redwing, MN and we were finally on to our first vineyard Falconer Winery and Vineyard. Late for the brick oven pizza’s we still enjoyed sipping a variety of wine and a stroll through the grapes.
Shortly after the vineyard we settled in to our first camp spot. As night grew near we struggled to start a fire and needed the assistance of our neighbor to get a fire started. Eventually brats were made and s’mores enjoyed. We classed up the girl talk with some cheese-its and boons farm wine. Nothing was too classy for this camping trip.
Day 2: We woke up bright and early (just before noon), packed the car and headed towards Lake City, MN. Breakfast consisted of pulled pork sandwich’s, coffee and croissants from Rabbit’s Bakery and rainy walk along the pier.
The day continued with random stops in Winona, MN, and stops along the road in Southern, MN as we made our way towards the next vineyard. Vineyard #2 was Gavin Heights in Winona, MN. At this winery we were treated to chocolate peach wine and beautiful views of the vineyard. Next stop was to the Niagara caves in Harmony, MN. The caves were cold but interesting and provided some great photo opportunities. MapQuest Sandy was sidelined when our GPS failed and phones quit working and we were stuck relying on our internal navigation skills. None the less after two hours of wandering around southern MN, and with the help of our gummy bear friends we made our way to a KOA just south of Rochester. The camp fire was much easier the second go around and Sandy learned about the fun of cooking brown beans right over the campsite.
Another early morning had us up just before noon and on to the vineyard #3. The third and final vineyard was Cannon River Winery, in Cannon Falls, MN. This is the vineyard we were expecting to arrive at on day one, when we instead ended up at the park on vineyard street. This quaint winery was the perfect ending to our camping road trip.