As Covid season continues we are really making the most of re-discovering Minnesota and all it has to offer. One place that wasn’t really on our radar until recently was Alexandria. It’s a common city to pass through as you’re making your way on 94 but most of the time I never pop in to stay! It’s been several years since I’ve been back and there have been some awesome changes made here!
I had hoped to catch some of the fall colors, but sadly they were just about done when we went but even so, it was a beautiful area to explore! I had forgotten that this was indeed lake country and so much to do and see! Read on for where we stayed and what we did! Even as winter approaches, I highly suggest adding Alexandria if you’re looking for a fun, low-key, and history filled weekend!
*This trip was partially sponsored by Alexandria Lakes Chamber, however all views are my own.*
Stay and Relax at Spirit Cove Lodge
This was probably the best hidden gem of the trip! When the Chamber helped coordinate our stay, they reserved us a room at Spirit Cove Lodge which is a Bed and Breakfast. Full transparency, I have never stayed at a B&B and was a little nervous about it! All that worry went away when we pulled in and met Craig, the owner, who then showed us around the property, our room, and told us a little about the place!
Located actually just a few miles past Alexandria in Garfield, this place is so peaceful and relaxing. They are normally booked but we were extremely lucky that weekend we had the place to ourselves! Each room was named after a bird you would see on property, so we had the corner Turkey room downstairs. The rooms are no frills, but have everything you need to have a relaxing time. Our room had a walk out patio that overlooked their small lake on property and as well as connected us right to the walking trails too! If you’re really looking for an escape – you really don’t even need to leave the property it was so peaceful! 🙂
Craig & his wife Janet, moved down from the Iron Range to tackle this property and start this adventure! They have made some great updates and additions to the property making is a perfect family or couple escape! Each morning they prepared a delicious meal, complete with our place settings adorned with our names in Scrabble letters. I always looked forward to seeing the menu on the chalkboard for the next days meal and well as popping up to see what cookies Janet made that day. 🙂
Get Coffee at Common Ground Coffee House
If you know me or have read any of my other posts, you know I only drink lattes so I’m always in search of where to get one in the morning! While Alexandria has your fill of chain shops + restaurants, there’s also a great selection of local shops to grab a drink! I decided to pop into Common Ground Coffee House for a quick and tasty latte. While I took it to go – it was such a cozy space, friendly faces, and of course was nice to support local!
The downtown in Alexandria is HOPPING! I had no idea they had this many fun shops and boutiques and wow, we definitely spent the majority of the day checking all of them out! Here’s some shops we popped into and would definitely recommend!
Kindred – A stylish women’s boutique, Kindred People brings you the latest styles and trend at popular prices. I saw SO many cute things there. They also feature local brands too!
Raw Natural Products – Started by a holistic doctor, all items from Raw are made with simple and safe ingredients. We popped in there and chatted with the owner for a while and picked up some amazing products to help us survive cold and flu season. I highly recommend stopping in!
Creative Touch – A great home and gift boutique, Creative Touch also highlights some amazing MN companies too!
Yesterday’s – The first antique store of the day, there are some amazing gems in Yesterday’s. I do have to say their merchandising was on point and was already ready for the holiday season! Eric and I found quite a few gems here. They have a basement too!
Now and Then – 4 Levels of amazing antiques, this was another fun treasure trove to browse!
Grab fresh pressed juice at Nice Juicery
While you’re shopping around town, make sure to stop and refuel at Nice Juicery! They are open weekdays and Saturday morning and into early afternoon so snag a fresh juice or try on of their smoothie bowls or toasts -yum! Definitely try their Blue Steel!
Say hey to Big Ole!
You can’t make a trip to Alexandria without seeing (and taking a photo of course) with Big Ole! He was created to accompany the Kensington Rune Stone to the New York World’s Fair in 1965. He stands 28 feet tall and weights 4 tons and is cared for by the town’s museum! If you’re exploring downtown at all, you really can’t miss him! 🙂
Try a flight at Copper Trail Brewing
Located in a cozy new space downtown, check out Copper Trail Brewing for all their cool beers! I can’t even tell you the last time I ordered a flight at a brewery (I usually am particular and only like a few certain ones!) but their beer list was SO enticing I just had to try the flight! I had to try the “Oletoberfest”, a sour, and the Mule (think Moscow Mule in beer form!) They always have a rotating list with lots of unique and seasonal flavors so there’s really something for everyone. They even have a quaint patio with a fire pit and Patio heaters for a cozy visit!
Grab Take out from Pike & Pint
While we are still doing take out and limiting our time inside places, we decided to do take out from Pike & Pint Grill for night! The locals rave about their cheese curds so I had to try them! And, WOW, they were delicious. We ended up ordering a few apps to share while we settled back in at Spirit Cove for a cozy night in with some tv on the iPad (Can you guess which show we are watching?!) The menu was both classic and adventurous and everything we had was delicious! It was ready super fast and the staff who helped from start to finish were all super friendly.
Cozy up at Carlos Creek Winery
My last visit to this winery was for a close friends wedding maybe 6+ years ago, so needless to say I was incredible impressed with the additions Carlos Creek Winery has made! We luckily visited during their Oktoberfest so the property was so lively and festive. The winery itself has has tastings, live music, and puts on so many events throughout the year, you really can’t miss Carlos Creek when you visit Alexandria! Their brewery on property hosted the fun and there was live music, axe throwing, and hammer schlagen galore! 22 Northmen Brewery was founded on the history or 22 northmen traveled to Alexandria, MN back in 1342. The name and legend comes from the Kensington Rune Stone which is located in town and continues to be an on-going debate.
Visit the Famous Runestone
Speaking of this on-going debate, you can visit the Runestone in town at its own museum! When it opened in 1958, the Kensington Rune Stone was the only artifact in this Museum. Now, it has grown to 40 artifacts all found in Minnesota that relate back to Middle-Age Nordic explorers. They are open year round with indoor and outdoor attractions! After Nov 1, they do start their winter hours and their outdoor portion will be closed!
Shoot the Minnow at Corral Saloon
A local favorite, Corral Saloon & Eatery isn’t just your typical bar and restaurant. Come for the Friday night meat raffle or a beer for the game on Sunday but the real treat is the Shoot the Minnow! Take a shot with a minnow and once you do, you even get a t-shirt to prove it! They even made special edition ones for 2020 complete with the minnow in a mask!
Cozy Up with Hot Cider & Donuts at Country Blossom Farm
Located just minutes from our B&B is Country Blossom Farm and wowza, it was greater than I expected! Since we visited during MEA and fall there was a TON to do! Pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and other fun things for kiddos! Their retail space was gorgeous and they had an amazing selection of home decor, gifts, and goodies! Head to the the left corner and find fresh donuts, cider, apple pies, and so many more goodies you can take home. We ended up coming here twice for cider and donuts and then I actually picked up some gifts for myself and a fresh pie and apple to take home with me! It was one of my favorite stops during the weekend!
While we explored Alexandria for less than 48 hours, it was so relaxing! It’s definitely worth a trip back as I didn’t get to everywhere on my list! Have you been to Alexandria yet? Where should we go on our next trip?