Busy Start to Weekend, Trip to Stillwater

Friday after work, the plan was to meet up with Jason and perhaps go to a bar.  Jason got off work at 1, though, and set out to kill five hours until we got home.  Well, you can see where this is going.  Jason went to the Green Mill down the street from our apartment, and struck gold when the power went out and stayed out for four hours, allowing him all the free food and drink he could handle!  Jason showed up at our place shortly after 6 and was out cold on the couch by 9, but we were very happy for him and his good fortune.

Saturday morning, Lauren and I drove 40 miles east to Stillwater, where we met with local jeweler James Hunt, who was recommended to us by Lauren’s sister.  This guy has his own studio where he makes rings, and we’re at the point where we better find some wedding rings.  He makes rings out of recycled gold and will make anything we want, whether it’s a plain ring or has lots of carvings or designs.  His prices were also shockingly low, so we were sold!  We’ve got a couple weeks to think of what exactly we want him to make.

For lunch, we found a place called Smalley’s Caribbean Grill.  We each ordered basically the same meal of spicy jerk chicken and brisket with some sides.  I was pretty impressed, but expected a little more heat, especially with this special firey atomic pepper they gave me for free as a novelty.  We were supposed to meet Walsh and Sarah for lunch, but we kinda jumped the gun and ate without them, and then they arrived and we sat and watched them eat at a different restaurant.

We spent an hour or two wandering the streets of town, looking in unique shops.  If you haven’t been to Stillwater, its downtown area is reminiscent of a place like Deadwood.  It sits next to the St. Croix River and has an unusual draw-bridge that raises to let boats through.  Kinda a charming little touristy area, but its roads are more reminiscent of San Francisco with steep hills.

Sarah told us of an ice cream store that we needed to try called Nelson’s.  We walked about a mile uphill to get to this ice cream store, where I ran into former Valleyfair co-worker Sean Devereaux.  The ice cream here was nothing special, as far as taste goes, so it must be the serving size that makes it famous.  Words can’t really describe how much ice cream they give you.  I ordered a waffle cone, single size.  I am pretty sure they packed a a half-gallon of ice cream onto that cone.  Walsh saw mine and ordered a child-sized cup of ice cream, and he too was blown away.  No , I didn’t finish, but could have.

I ordered the single scoop. Walsh ordered the child size.
I ordered the single scoop. Walsh ordered the child size.

Next, we went to the St. Croix Vineyards for a wine tasting.  For just $5, we got to try all ten wines they produce.  It was a very cool experience and of course reminded me of the movie Sideways.  It was just a little sip of each kind of wine, so we certainly weren’t drunk afterwards.

Sarah and Lauren try some delicious wine.
Sarah and Lauren try some delicious wine.

We got home around 6:40 and were supposed to be at the airport by 7:50 to pick up Tim and Kate, who were returning from a week-long trip to Colorado.  But we were so tuckered out from our long day that we both fell fast asleep.  Just by chance I woke up at 8pm and we sped down to the airport, a good 40 minutes late, to take Tim and Kate home.


  1. That sounds like a fun weekend…you’d be jealous of your dad and I…we spent like 6 hours in Menards, then drove to Lowe’s in Brookings, only to head back to Menard’s in Watertown. That was our weekend.

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