River towns in the fall aren’t just inspiration for artists. They can also be the perfect setting for a romantic getaway. Stroll hand in hand with your significant other while you enjoy the fall colors, the clear blue river and some inspired art.
Start your weekend with off with a stroll through the historic village of Marine on St. Croix. The town is transformed into a veritable arts wonderland for one weekend each year. The annual Marine Art Fair features 175 artists and craftsmen from the St. Croix Valley and beyond. Marine’s reputation as an outstanding art fair and the natural beauty of this river town combine to make this a must see fall event.
Tucked down by the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River, you will find Mary Jo Van Dell Riverhouse Studio. The acclaimed St. Croix Valley artist recently relocated her studio to this picturesque setting, and she is inviting some of her artist friends to join her open studio. In addition to Van Dell’s striking oil paintings, you will find pottery, jewelry and other works of art.
Want to get even closer to the river? Take a relaxing cruise with the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours in Taylors Falls, Minnesota. See the beauty of the renowned Lower Dalles first hand and witness the breathtaking beauty of the fall colors and crisp blue skies reflected in the clear waters of the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River.
Maybe a picnic and live music sounds like a lovely ending to the day. Head over to Franconia Sculpture Park for their annual Art & Artists Celebration. Larger than life sculptures are a backdrop for live music by local and regional favorites as Franconia celebrates the unveiling of this year’s new sculptures.
A romantic getaway to the St. Croix Valley isn’t complete without an overnight stay at one of the beautiful Inns of the Valley. Whether you choose an historic inn like Water Street Inn in Stillwater or a beautifully Queen Anne mansion like The Phipps Inn in Hudson, sleep in and enjoy a scrumptious breakfast before heading out for another day of art and nature.
Stroll among the shops in historic downtown Stillwater and have romantic lunch along the river at Dock Cafe. You will both find something to your liking with a superb selection of fresh seafood, many chef-created specialties and an extensive wine list to choose from.
Be sure not to cut your weekend short. A stop at the idyllic Abnet Farm Art Show and Sale will serve as a quiet place to relax, meander the gardens and restored barn, chat with artists and maybe even by a painting, pottery bowl or piece of jewelry to remember your fall weekend together.
- Abnet Farm Art Show & Sale, 16885 Square Lake Trail, Stillwater (Sept. 17-18, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; free admission)
- Dock Cafe, 425 Nelson St. E., Stillwater (Monday-Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-8:30 p.m.)
- Franconia Art & Artists Celebration, 29836 St. Croix Trail, Shafer, MN (Sept. 17, 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.)
- Inns of the Valley, 10 locations throughout the St. Croix Valley (more information, rates and availability online at www.innsofthevalley.com)
- Marine Art Fair, Historic Downtown Marine on St. Croix (Sept. 17-18, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; free admission)
- Mary Jo Van Dell Riverhouse Studio, Marine on St. Croix, follow the signs from the Marine General Store (Open studio: Sept. 17, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sept. 18, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
- Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours, 155 South Street, Taylors Falls (Weekend and weekday cruises, excursions vary by day, 80 minute cruises: $18.99 for adults, $11.99 for children; 45 minute cruises: $16.99 for adults, $15.99 for children)
- The Phipps Inn Bed & Breakfast, 1005 3rd St., Hudson, WI (reservations, rates and availability online at www.phippsinn.com)