26 04 2011
Minnesota As A Romantic Getaway
Today Norm Goldman editor of Sketchandtravel and Bookpleasures welcomes as a guest, travel author and writer Tim Bewer, who is an expert on Minnesota. Tim is also the author of Moon Handbooks Minnesota, as well as many other travel books and travel articles.
Good day Tim and thank you for agreeing to participate in our interview:
Tim, could you tell our readers something about yourself, how long have you lived in Minnesota, your writing experience, and your expertise pertaining to Minnesota?
I moved to Minneapolis in 2000, but I spent most of my life living next door in Wisconsin and visited the Land of 10,000 Lakes often before making it my home. After two years of exploring every nook and cranny in the state I published my Moon Handbooks Minnesota with Avalon Travel Publishing of Emeryville, California in December of 2004. Other countries I’ve written, edited, or updated books on include Wisconsin, Ecuador, and El Salvador.
Could you tell our audience something about Minnesota, where it is situated, its climate, geography etc, and why, as mentioned in your bio that I recently read, you consider the upper Midwest to be the most beautiful place on earth?
Minnesota is in the north central United States. It spans the boreal pine forests of Lake Superior’s western shores in the northeast down to the tallgrass prairie and farm fields of the Great Plains in the southwest. The culture is quintessential Midwest–modest and friendly. The winters are as cold as you’d expect, but the weather the rest of the year is usually mild and comfortable.
As for being the most beautiful place on earth; well, no one can argue with the majesty of mountains, but I personally think the intimacy of a forest-fringed lake tops it and we’ve got some twelve thousand of them. Plus, there is an abundance of waterfalls, soaring bluffs lining the Mississippi River and Lake Superior, and large patches of tallgrass prairie.
Do you consider Minnesota a great place for a romantic getaway or wedding destination and if so, why?
Absolutely. There are many historic small towns with luxurious bed-and-breakfasts or you can go “Up North” and find a remote lakeside cabin with a fieldstone fireplace and bearskin rug. And, no matter where you base yourself, you’ll have sublime scenery around you.
If you had to choose the five most unique and romantic venues in Minnesota, what would they be, where are they situated and why would you consider these five?
- If someone wants to be pampered, then they’ll love Stillwater, which lies just outside the Twin Cities. This historic lumber town on the St. Croix River has reinvented itself as a retail and relaxation destination. You can indulge yourself at a four-star restaurant, stroll along the riverfront promenade at sunset, take a moonlit gondola cruise, and finish the night at any of the elegant bed-and-breakfasts.
Little Lansesboro, nestled in the rugged hills of southeast Minnesota’s Amish country, is more down home than Stillwater, though the top-notch lodging and dining is no less indulgent and the surrounding scenery is even more spectacular.
Grand Marais, a flourishing arts community up in the far northeast corner of the state, looks out across Lake Superior. Outside town is the vast Superior National Forest, home to the million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Besides paddling, there is fantastic hiking, biking, dogsledding, and just about any other outdoor activity you can imagine. Spend the night in one of the town’s quaint inns or opt for a lakeside cabin nearby.
If you want more of the outdoors, consider taking a houseboat through Voyageurs National Park, which runs along the Canadian border. There are no roads here, just a 100,000-acre chain of lakes, endless forests, hundreds on moose and loons, plus a few interesting historic sites to mix things up. A houseboat lets you explore everything with all the comforts of home.
Finally, for something out of the ordinary, the Delta Queen Steamboat Company runs timeless paddlewheel riverboats along the Mississippi River between St. Paul, Minnesota and St. Louis, Missouri. The weeklong voyages stop in various river towns and feature luxurious accommodations.
When is the best time to visit Minnesota from the point of view of weather, costs, etc?
You can’t beat Minnesota in the fall. The mild temperatures and stable atmosphere of autumn results in lots of sunshine and very little rain. This ideal weather often lasts well into November and sometimes even December. Late September through early October is my pick for the absolute best time to travel across the state; not only is the weather ideal, but you’ll find fall colors, fewer visitors than during the busy summer, off-season discounts, and no mosquitoes. The one exception to the fewer visitors rule is that hotels along the North Shore of Lake Superior are booked solid during the fall color season.
What should people know about celebrating a wedding in Minnesota from the point of view of requirements, experience of the various hotels, etc?
The most important thing is to book as far in advance as possible. Lodging in the destinations I mentioned above will often be full up months in advance. The bed-and-breakfasts and smaller inns are renown for personal service and can certainly assist you in making the most of your special day while big resorts have extensive experience with wedding parties and can handle just about everything for you.
Marriage licenses must be applied for in person and then there is a five-day statutory waiting period after applying; however, waivers to the waiting period are routinely granted with a little extra paperwork.
What resources are available on the Internet pertaining to Minnesota?
The Minnesota Office of Tourism (www.exploreminnesota.com) has a pretty comprehensive Web site covering the state. The lodging search is particularly handy.
Is there anything else we have not covered that you would like to tell our audience about Minnesota?
Whether someone is planning a honeymoon or wedding, or just a regular vacation, I have the same advice for everyone: Take some time to visit different parts of the state. The culture of the Twin Cities and the lakes and forests of the northeast attract most of the visitors, but the historic small towns or the southeast and the vast open spaces of the largely agricultural western half of the state have their own charm.
Thanks Tim for giving us the opportunity to learn more about Minnesota.
Tim: You are most welcome.
Norm and his artist wife Lily are a unique husband and wife team in that they meld Norm’s words with Lily’s water colors focusing on articles about romantic getaways and wedding destinations.
You can learn more about them by going to their site at: http://www.sketchandtravel.com.
Norm and Lily are always open for invitations to romantic destinations particularly in the New England States and Florida.
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