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Discover Handcrafted Boots and Iconic Pottery in a Charming Minnesota Town

Day 1

Upon your arrival, whether it be by Amtrak’s Empire Builder, Highway 61 by car, or the Cannon River Valley Trail by bike, begin your exploration along the riverfront. The area not only serves as the city’s visitor center and operational depot but also houses an art gallery and store showcasing local artists’ works.

Take a leisurely stroll through the shops in the hotels and along the historic Main Street, where you can find a unique blend of Scandinavian housewares, holiday decorations, and gifts at [ppp1].

A notable attraction that visitors enjoy is the oversized 638½ work boot exhibit at the Red Wing Shoe Company. The second floor of the downtown establishment features the evolution of work boots in America, complete with interactive displays suitable for children. The store’s main floor offers a range of dress shoes, work boots, and hiking boots, while the basement is a treasure trove of outlet deals.

Before embarking on an afternoon adventure, indulge in a burger at [ppp2] or savor a sweet treat or a light sandwich at [ppp3].

For a panoramic view of Red Wing, consider hiking up He Mni Can/Barn Bluff or driving to [ppp4] for a bird’s eye perspective of the town along the Mississippi River. Keep an eye out for eagles, especially during peak migration and mating seasons in March. Additionally, a prime birdwatching spot lies just 10 minutes south of Red Wing at [ppp5], where trails meander through steep wooded riverbanks.

Conclude your day with a delightful dinner experience at the St. James Hotel, perhaps opting for a meal on the patio to relish a beautiful summer evening. Start with their renowned St. James Wild Rice Soup and then savor entrees like Swedish Meatballs or Roasted Lamb Stroganoff.

Retreat for the night at the historic [ppp6], boasting a heritage dating back to 1875 with halls designed wide enough to accommodate hoop skirts. Alternatively, venture south to [ppp7]. Both establishments have earned a spot on our list of recommended accommodations.

Day 2

Immerse yourself in the history of pottery at The Pottery Museum of Red Wing, where you can trace the city’s evolution as a pottery hub since the 1860s.

Explore the origins of Red Wing as a pottery town, stemming from a German immigrant’s utilization of local clay to craft durable salt-glazed stoneware. Witness the bowls, crocks, and jugs that adorned the homes of Minnesota’s pioneers at the complimentary, self-guided [ppp8]. With the advent of mechanization in the early 1900s, the Red Wing pottery company burgeoned into one of the world’s largest pottery manufacturers, diversifying into elegant dinnerware. Although Red Wing pottery production ceased in 2019, its legacy endures through the museum and various local sites.

Adjacent to the museum stands [ppp9], a repurposed warehouse renowned for its eclectic shopping offerings. Browse through collectible Red Wing pottery or add a touch of retro charm to your kitchen with a visit to [ppp10], housing over 40 dealers under one roof. The emporium boasts an extensive array of vintage items such as floral juice glasses, Watts ware, rare bottles, antique toys, beer glasses, old books, and vibrant quilts—a haven for antique enthusiasts.

If shopping is your passion, meander or cycle along the 19-mile [ppp11] to culminate your Red Wing escapade.