Our kid-free trip to Stillwater, MN. and why Stillwater is a must for getaways!

Hey you! My husband and I were able to get away for a kid-free 2-night getaway to Stillwater, MN. Have you been to Stillwater? It’s so great! It’s located along the St. Croix River and is so close to Wisconsin that it’s actually a little bit confusing when you officially cross from one state to the other. Apparently it becomes Wisconsin somewhere on the walking bridge. Since COVID started, we had a one-night stay in Duluth and this was our first 2-night stay without kids since February 2020. It was great. Having little kids can feel so all-consuming of your time and energy so I felt very refreshed getting to have some peace and calm and to get to enjoy being with Andy.

We stayed at this great bed and breakfast called Aurora Staples Inn. The Victorian home was built in 1892 and has the most amazing wood detailing throughout its rooms and suites that feature decor consistent with the era. A couple owns the inn. The wife, Rachelle, grew up in Stillwater right by the inn and always dreamed of living in the beautiful home. When she asked the former owners a few years ago if they would sell it to her, they said yes! Rachelle has owned the inn for about 4 years now.

We stayed in the Peacock Room that had a comfy bed and a big whirlpool tub, a cozy gas fireplace, and a private bathroom. All of the rooms are different with their own themes and with different amenities. The breakfast was so delicious and kept us full both days until dinner with coffee, orange juice, desserts, quiche, egg bake, fresh fruit with yogurt, and some other great items! Apparently Rachelle is a great cook!

Possibly my very favorite thing that we did was renting bikes from Herman Electric Bikes Rental. Riding conventional bicycles is already one of my favorite outdoor activities, but electric bikes take the fun of biking and add to it by the fact that you get to go so fast and you don’t have to huff and puff up big hills. I loved it. I still felt like I was exercising, but, not surprisingly, it didn’t seem like as good of a workout as a regular bike. Be sure to check out the great coffee shop, Green Bridge Coffee Shop, that is attached to the bike rental area. They brew coffee from UP Coffee Roasters located in my old neighborhood in Northeast Minneapolis, so the coffee is both delicious and locally brewed! They also source fair trade and organic beans for a high-quality taste with no harmful chemicals.

We also stopped at another great coffee shop called Made Coffee that is connected with Lora Hotel in Stillwater. It’s a little hole in the wall coffee shop, but is great for takeout and has a great patio area to sit and enjoy your coffee when it’s nice out. Their pastries are baked locally and fresh and are visually beautiful…our bed and breakfast has delicious and huge breakfasts that they give you each morning so we were still very full from breakfast and unfortunately didn’t get to try one of the pastries.

Brix Music Cafe just opened about 3 weeks ago in Spring 2021 with a great venue for the live, local music scene focusing mainly on jazz and swing music. Right now the shows are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights so we unfortunately didn’t get to see a show, but OH MY is the food delicious! Smoked Southern Style Mac and Cheese? Fried chicken wings with some spices that taste like a fusion between Asian and classic Southern BBQ? Ummm…everything was SO good. You have to check this place out for their good live music and delicious food. It’s definitely worth the trip just for the food too. I have brisket tacos that were so amazing. All of their food comes with these sauces that are simple but add so much flavor to the meals and really enhance the flavors. I don’t enough about complicated cooking to really know what I’m talking about here, but just go…you won’t regret it!  

Our second and final night we went out for dinner at MatchStick Restaurant & Spirits that is located in the Hotel Crosby. The restaurant opened in November 2018 so it has been around for a few years. I asked a few locals what restaurants we should check out and MatchStick was always mentioned. A cool thing about MatchStick is that their meat and fish is locally sourced farm to table with a huge selection of spirits, wines, and craft beers. The menu is made up of predominantly small, shareable plates. We started with the Carmelized Brussel Sprouts, which were absolutely amazing. MatchSticks was on it with their sauces. Enhanced the flavor of the foods while not drowning out the natural flavor of the food itself.  I don’t know how restaurants always make brussel sprouts taste so amazing. If I make them, they always taste slightly burnt and don’t really encourage anyone to get their veggies in;) I’m a huge fan of cauliflower already, but their Cauliflower Fritters were probably my very favorite thing that we ate there. They are so good, and pretty filling which can be nice with the shareable plates. Their MatchStick Salad is a good choice to fill up on something healthy. It’s not your traditional salad though as it’s mostly cut up apples with only a few pieces of lettuce roasted walnuts, cranberries, scallions and cinnamon creme fraiche. 

We made a stop in to the Velveteen Speakeasy, which was seriously so cool. It was my first time visiting a speakeasy and I loved how cozy and how it was decorated. It looked like how I imagine a speakeasy back in the day would have looked. Their drinks are delicious! I tried their Bees Knees drink (rosemary infused gin, lemon, honey, angostura) and it was perfect with a little sweet but not too overpowering.

We also stopped at a cute shop called Minnesota Made in Stillwater that features…can you guess it?…items that are locally designed and made in Minnesota! I bought this really cute t-shirt that is so soft and comfy in a great soft pink color! I wanted to buy my son this green Camp Minnesota tee, but it only goes up to a size ⅚ so he would outgrow it too quickly so I got him this insanely soft Little Dipper sweatshirt instead. I also found this cool soap company called Sota Suds that is made in small batches in Stillwater. I got this lemongrass soap that can be used as shampoo, soap and for shaving. Lemongrass helps repel bugs and perspiration too so that’s a win for choosing the lemongrass kind. It’s environmentally friendly as well since it the only packaging it uses is a small, recyclable cardboard box. Perfect for throwing in your bag for camping, hiking, bike trips or just because you would rather pack one soap bar than bringing along the shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles.

A shout out to my in-laws for watching the kids so we could have a nice getaway. It was great to have some time alone and reconnect as people and not just as co-parents like it feels like sometimes in this busy season of parenting little kids. I think it’s so important to have time away as a couple a few times each year if possible. I know it’s not always possible for some people so I appreciate that we were able to make it work this time.

What about you? Where are your favorites getaways? With kids or without kids?

Published by Megan A. Nash

I'm Megan A. Nash. I'm a momma to two kids and a wife in the frozen tundra of Minneapolis, MN. Coffee is one of my very favorite things! Has my day really started before I've had my first cup? Probably not! I like sparkling water so much that my husband got me a machine to make all the sparkling water to my heart's content! I love learning how to improve myself as a person, mom, wife, writer, entrepreneur, employee...if it covers self-improvement I'm probably interested in it! I have worked as a journalist for newspaper, magazines and publications. I have an undying desire to keep writing. Putting it simply: writing Megan is a happier Megan! I spend so much of my time acting as momma to my kids and working part-time, but a momma has got to try to do things for herself sometimes too! So here I am, trying to scrape out time for myself with intentionality and fighting the urge to procrastinate.

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