Day Trip to Stillwater

Stillwater is a relatively small town near the St. Croix river along the eastern edge of Minnesota. It’s only about a 40 minute drive from the Twin Cities, and I have long been eager to go for an afternoon and explore the town. My impression was that Stillwater had lots of cute restaurants, shops, and antiques, and I loved the idea of spending an afternoon in a scenic, little, Minnesota town.

When we pulled into Stillwater in the early afternoon, we saw that lots of people had a similar idea to us and the main street had a bit of traffic!

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After parking, we immediately walked down by the St. Croix river to check out the elevated water level:

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Stillwater has A LOT of hills. There are several historic staircases around the town that serve as a way to get up and down as well as a great sightseeing opportunity.

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Going up was quite exhausting, but the views were definitely worth it!

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After all the activity, it was time for a break…

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…and a trip to Nelson’s Ice Cream.

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Nelson’s is a Stillwater classic with lines out the door and a gajillion flavors to choose from. The flavor selection is impressive, to say the least, but the real madness of Nelson’s is the size of their scoops.

This is a child’s size:

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Yes, that is real life. I ordered monster cookie and zanzibar (dark chocolate) and Noah ordered java chip and cookies ‘n cream.

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Needless to say, we did not finish our child size cups. NOT EVEN CLOSE!

After the ice cream insanity, we were in need of some activity so we got out our bikes and went for a short ride:

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We started our ride on a protected path near a lake within a residential area of town. The lake path didn’t go too far (maybe only 10 minutes of riding), so we ventured out along the roads for a bit before backtracking to our starting spot and then heading to main street again for some window shopping.

Highlights of mainstreet were Tremblay’s Sweet Shop:

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And Stillwater Olive Oil Company:

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While we were walking around, Noah spotted a place called The Wedge & Wheel.

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The Wedge & Wheel is a specialty cheese shop. Rather than simply providing a wide selection of gourmet cheese, however, they also offer sit down service with custom designed cheese plates, simple dishes, and a large wine menu. Noah is a cheese fan. Or, should I say, CHEESE FAN. Read: has a lot of affection for cheese. Thus, it would have been pretty sad to leave Stillwater without visiting this store.

We waited until right before we were ready to head home and then stopped by The Wedge & Wheel for an early dinner. As soon as we walked in, we were  immediately impressed by the cheese case and then shown to our table and given a menu to peruse.

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The menu was brief but included an American cheese board, European cheese board, cheesemonger’s flight (hand picked for the customer), a grilled cheese sandwich, and a few cheese-focused salads.

We decided to order a cheesemonger’s flight and grilled cheese sandwich to share. To best assemble our flight, the waitress asked if we had any particular cheese likes or dislike (yes to chevre, no to blue cheese) and then came back with this:

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Our custom made board included a soft cheese from Jasper Hill Farm (we can’t remember exactly what type!), Red Barn Cheddar, and a goat’s milk cheese. The cheese board came with pickles, dried fruit, and toasted baguette. The grilled cheese sandwich (pictured on the right below) came on a cranberry bread and was also accompanied by pickles.

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Everything was delicious! Cheese is not a food that I generally consume in large quantities, so I did feel a little cheesed-out after having it constitute nearly my entire dinner. Nonetheless, this was a really neat and unique restaurant, and I would highly recommend it to any cheese (or food!) lovers who take a visit to Stillwater.

Bestowed: May

It’s amazing. The excitement never seems to lessen any time I see this beauty in the mail:

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It’s Bestowed time of the month again!

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Bestowed is a monthly delivery program of healthy living products – mainly food with some beauty and fitness thrown in. Each month’s items are unique and provide a fun way to try new products without buying them myself (or having to buy a large size).

Inside May’s package were….

Simply Sprouted Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips – These chips are gluten free and will be good for a low sodium/low saturated fat snack when I want some crisp!

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California Olive Ranch Everyday EVOO – This item seemed especially appropriate since I just listened to a Balanced Bites podcast about olive oil. I learned that a lot of olive oils have the nutritional content severely diminished because the olives are pressed a long time after they are removed from the tree. Additionally, olive oil needs to be stored in a dark cool place to maintain its nutritional superkick, and the large clear bottles sitting on the top shelf near the light at the supermarket achieve the opposite effect. The #1 lesson: don’t buy olive oil in clear bottles! This olive oil from California Olive Ranch goes from branch to bottle in just a few hours and is stored in protective green bottles.

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Navitas Coconut Water Powder – Coconut water is all the craze these days – or so I hear. I actually haven’t tried straight coconut water, but I do drink coconut milk on a regular basis. I haven’t looked into it too much, but I think the idea is coconut water provides several natural minerals and vitamins. My thought is that is also provides calories though, so it’s not necessarily the greatest replacement for plain water all of the time. This is a coconut water powder that you can mix into 8oz of water for an on-the-go hydration fix.

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TeeChia Seeds Cereal – This is probably the item I am most excited about in this month’s package. It’s a cereal made from super seeds! It’s made particularly to be quick and easy, and even though it has the consistency of a hot cereal (like oat bran), you only need to add water (hot or cold) and let it sit for about a minute. No cooking or anything required!

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Dark Chocolate Sun Cups – Dark chocolate + sunflower seed butter = enough said.

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Larabar Uber – I’ve actually had several of these newish larabar varieties already. The uber Larabars are made with more nuts and protein than the original larabar varieties. I like them a lot as a quick and tasty snack, so I was happy to get another on in the package!

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Good Eating Salads by Parragon Books – The final item was something I’ve never gotten in a Bestowed package before: a cookbook! The cookbook offers over 140 different salad ideas, full color photos, and step-by-step instructions for everything from grilled meat to dressings. I flipped through and some of the salads looked really yummy, but I don’t foresee myself using this book too much since I have a tried and true salad recipe that never lets me down: throw a mix of whatever veggies I have on top of some lettuce. Done.

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That sums up the May Bestowed package. I’ll keep you updated on my thoughts as I sample all of these new products!

Make sure to check out my other Bestowed posts:
April
March
February
January