MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s that time of the week again, we’re hitting the road and Goin’ to the Lake on WCCO. This week, Frank Vascellaro and Natalie Nyhus are heading to Red Wing for River City Days. Dave Lee from 830 WCCO Radio will also be joining in on the fun.
Frank and Natalie stopped by Red Wing’s Old Miss Marina, which is just down the road from Bay Point Park — where thousands will gather this weekend for the festival. The marina is the largest in Red Wing and is run by the city. It has nearly 300 slips on two locations on the river.
To get a beautiful bird’s eye view of Red Wing — which is about an hour south of the Twin Cities — take a drive up to the top of Memorial Park on Sorin’s Bluff. The bluff was originally the hub of limestone. Once quarrying ended, 93 acres were purchased at the summit to create this park in 1929. It’s popular for hiking and biking and has a course for disc golf. It’s also a hot spot for picnics.
Another hot spot in Red Wing: Central Park. Every Wednesday night the city has free concerts in the park. The locals tell us people put their chairs and blankets out in the afternoon to save a spot. They also pass buckets to collect donations for the Red Wing Arts Association. The buckets were full Wednesday night.
Frank & Natalie Arrive In Red Wing
For the first time in 60 years, Red Wing is now home to a brewery. There were once five breweries in the city, but now Red Wing Brewery – which opened about two years ago on Old West Main Street – is the only one.
You might say Scott and Norm are reviving a bit of Red Wing history with every pint and growler they fill at the brewery. They serve nine of their own brews and a mix of other Minnesota beers.
But if you want to get a real taste of Red Wing’s history, you have to try Remmler’s Royal Brew. With help from the local historical society, Scott and Norm found an original recipe from 1896 and brought it back to life. Though it’s lighter than most of today’s microbrews, Remmler’s Royal was a unique flavor in its day.
There’s a little bit of Minnesota in every sip and bite at the brewery. Local grains are used in the beer and pizza dough. Back in the kitchen, those fresh-made doughs are topped with local meats and cheeses.
A Visit To Red Wing Brewery
The Red Wing Shoes’ flagship store is on Main Street. Their quality and fit are renown, and that craftsmanship is even evident in the biggest boot in the world – which is on display in the store. The size 638 ½ boot is 20-feet long and 16-feet tall.
The museum inside the flagship store is open seven days a week, where you can learn all about the history of the company. Founded in 1905, Red Wing Boots are now sold in more than 100 countries.
Red Wing Shoes’ Big Boot
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Red Wing, you have plenty of options. The St. James Hotel is in the center of town, and bed and breakfasts are sprinkled around the area. But there’s a new option that just opened to the public this year, and it’s definitely unique.
The Red Wing Church House was built in 1880 as a Norwegian Lutheran church. It’s now a vacation rental property owned by two couples in the Twin Cities. The church sleeps eight people with two bedrooms and a loft. There is free Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, pool table and an outdoor grill that help you feel right at home — and you’re only steps from the heart of Red Wing.
It took 10 years to turn this house of God into a home, but its history is apparent throughout the space, from the original pew in the dining room to the wood floors.
Red Wing’s Church House
Frank and Natalie had to stop at Kelly’s Bar, which is at an old industrial area on the water that’s really making a comeback. Kelly’s has a large outdoor deck with fire pits that overlooks the marina. And they have 30 Minnesota beers on tap — and 60 beers in total!
Just up the road is a more serene spot if you love a nature walk. Anderson Center Sculpture Garden and Nature Walk is home to a 15-acre park with stunning vistas of the Cannon River valley. There are currently over 30 sculptures in the garden and on Anderson Center grounds.
Red Wing Sculpture Garden & Kelly’s Tap House
Wakesurfing is quickly becoming a watersport of choice in Minnesota. Special wake boats allow surfers to ride a wave right behind the boat at a comfy, slow speed of just 10-miles an hour.
The boat Frank and Natalie went out on Thursday had a computer on board that actually lets you set custom waves for each surfer. But they needed a little more help than that, so they took up an offer from pro wakesurfer Brandon Tolliver to see how it’s done.
Big thanks to River Valley Power And Sport for taking them out on the water!
Wakesurfing In Red Wing
Red Wing’s not the furthest trip of our Goin’ to the Lake series this summer, so Frank and Natalie put together a relatively brief playlist for the road.
Spoiler alert: The Who are Frank’s favorite band. Everything else … those are Natalie’s picks.
Goin’ To The Lake: Frank & Natalie’s Road Trip Playlist
Here are highlights from other Goin’ To The Lake trips: