1. Apple Picking
It’s officially fall when you arrive at an apple orchard and step inside a vintage barn to take in the fall scent of apples, apple pie, caramel apples and fresh family fun. Celebrating 70 years in business, Aamodt’s Apple Farm is in high season open 7 days a week for apple picking or activities such as hay wagon rides, honeycrisp express kids train, hay bale maze, and live goats. Check their website for days/times. For the adults, lounge in Thor’s Hard Cider tasting room or pop next door to Saint Croix Vineyards.
2. Fall Rivercruise
Spot the bright red colors of maple trees and yellow leaves of the oak trees along the shoreline of the St. Croix River. Wave to Minnesota and Wisconsin while enjoying lunch and dinner cruises offered daily (through October weather permitting) with an extra special live jazz band brunch cruise on Sundays. Come see the beauty of the river valley who’s celebrating 50 years as a nationally protected scenic riverway this year.
3. Fall Fashion
Touch and feel the fabrics of fall. Suede, denim, wovens, silks…it’s all downtown Stillwater with several women’s and some men’s clothing boutiques. You’ll even find an exhibit on how bicycles influenced women’s fashion, a new consignment shop, shoe store, tons of vintage pieces at several antique shops, a Ladies Night Outshopping event in September. Mix new and upcycled while feeling all pulled together for the new season.
4. Grape Stomp
Roll up your jeans and prepare to laugh out loud. You know a grape stomp is on your bucket list, so make plans to be a part of the fall harvest process at three wineries in Stillwater: Northern Vineyards, Saint Croix Vineyards, 7 Vines. Ask about tastings, tours, and special events like yoga in the vineyard. Stillwater has one of Minnesota’s oldest wine co-ops, award winning wines and a new event venue in the countryside.
5. Gondola Romantica
Enjoy the romance of Venice blended with the beauty of the St. Croix River and the charm of Stillwater. Plan an especially romantic proposal, celebrate a birthday, wedding or anniversary, or just get away to a relaxing cruise on the river in an authentic Venetian gondola. You can book a sunlit daytime cruise or a moonlit evening cruise with options to add a 5-course dinner at the Dock Cafe with riverviews first, a gourmet picnic or even roll out the red carpet and red roses!
6. Giant Pumpkins
A true Midwest experience, Harvest Fest & Giant Pumpking Weigh-off is a fall festival in downtown Stillwater on the banks of the St. Croix River famous for it’s pumpkin regatta, giant pumpkin drop, and Guiness Book of World Record pumpkin competitions. Fun for the whole family right downtown so you can also shop, dine and stay right in the action.
7. Fall Cooking
Pumpkin, maple, cinnamon…..ooh the crisp air inspires you to have fun in the kitchen, doesn’t it? Visit Stillwater to stock up on your spices, olive oils, and cookware, or for inspiration. Take the foodie tour with a group of friends or a culinary class at Cooks of Crocus Hill, try a new restaurant or look for special dinner events at The Outing Lodge, Rivertown Inn, or Water Street Inn.
8. Best Views & Colors
Stillwater was rated one of the Best Towns for Fall Colors by Travel & Leisure Magazine AND the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge connecting Minnesota to Wisconsin was voted Best View by City Pages. Come see the view! Pick your preferred transportation: Walk (new parking lot near the Stillwater exit on the MN side), rent a bike or bring your own, drive over the bridge, or take a guided segway tour from St. Croix Valley Segway or Stillwater Segway Tours. You can also drive the St. Croix Scenic Byway through downtown Stillwater heading north to Taylor’s Falls.
9. Local Art
Art is in the air….find art sculptures and murals on public display downtown and browse the artists and works on exhibit at Stillwater Art Guild Gallery, Art Reach St. Croix, Galeria Saro and the new Smith & Trade Merchantile. Well known fall art events are happening soon, too: September- Take Me to the River a unique gathering of art events in the valley and on Sat/Sun October 5/6 explore over 150 artists from the Midwest at the Rivertown Fall Art Festival downtown in Lowell Park featuring live music and local beer/wine/food vendors as well! Look for fun DIY workshops downtown as well to make your own at Sawdust Savvy or Kari’s Create & Paint Studio. And, don’t forget about the local performing artists at Stillwater Zephyr Theatre!
10. Unique Stay
If you’ve read this far, you’ve realized that Stillwater is no day-trip. You need more time, so plan to stay overnight! Stillwater has so many choices like never before, so you’ll find a place to stay to suit your style or budget. Swedish Hot Steam shower? Chandelier lit marble bath spa? Room with balcony? A Pool? A private home with kitchen? A loft above a downtown shop? An on-site bar & restaurant? A Main Street location? It’s all here. www.DiscoverStillwater.com/Lodging Rooms book quick in the fall, so don’t delay.
Psst: Visit and take photos for a chance to win a $1000 Stillwater Getaway Package or cash prizes. Photo Contest entries accepted through October 8th.