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Spring Getaway to the St. Croix River Valley in Minnesota

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Spring Getaway to Center City, MinnesotaAre you suffering from a little bit of cabin fever, and looking to go somewhere different this spring?  After being mired in cold, wintry weather for the past several months, now’s a great time to plan a spring getaway!  Thoughts of traveling to big cities like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles are enticing, as are warmer destinations like Mexico, Florida, and California. However, we’d argue that Center City beats out all of these getaway destinations.  For one, we’re less than an hour outside of Minneapolis, making getting here easy.  Also, a visit to the St. Croix River Valley in Minnesota gives you a chance to slow things down, to appreciate the finer points of life, and to truly relax in one of the most charming regions of Minnesota. Let 2018 be the year you discover our romantic Bed and Breakfast, located in Center City, Minnesota. Book your room with us today.

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Wine Tasting in Center City, Minnesota

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One of our favorite attractions for the Summit Inn Bed and Breakfast is that we live in wine-country. Not something you would think of when you think Minnesota but it’s true. Driving around the backroads in our county you will find vineyards, both private and commercial, peppering the rural landscape. Several of them are open on weekends, have beautiful facilities to visit, have wine tasting rooms and offer entertainment or dining! We thought we would offer an example of a “wine weekend” for when you come to stay with us.

Before we begin, we would like to remind you to please be safe while you’re touring. There is some distance between winery’s depending where you go. We do not have public transportation available in our area but we do have a limo service if you think you might need that. All the itineraries below are for the weekend of October 27-29 but making your own is as simple as visiting “A Toast to the Valley” for your info. Plan ahead to be sure your experience with us is stellar! We included directions to the locations via country backroads since the fall colors are beautiful this time of year.

October 27-29, 2017 Wine Tour Weekend 

3pm Check in at the Summit Inn Bed and Breakfast (or any of the Inns of the Valley if we are full)

4pm – Head to Northfolk Winery for pizza!  (43150 Blackhawk Rd, Harris, MN 55032) Scenic Route: Take County Road 9 West across Hwy 95, through Sunrise to Hwy 61. Take a  left on 61, go a few blocks and take a right on Stark Road/County Road 10. Continue on Stark Road. A few miles up take a left onto Blackhawk Road and the Winery is just up from there.

6pm – Dessert/Drinks at Don Julio in North Branch (5466 St Croix Trail # G, North Branch, MN 55056) then head back to the Inn. Scenic Route from Northfolk Winery: go out to Stark/Road and take a Right. In a few blocks, take a Right on Cedarcrest Trail. Follow Cedarcrest a few miles to Hwy 95 and take a left. This will bring you into North Branch. At the first stoplight you encounter, take a left into the strip mall and Don Julio’s is on the opposite side of the grocery store. NOTE: Innkeepers Amy and Dave highly recommend the Xango’s for dessert.

9pm – Head back to Summit Inn Bed and Breakfast  (208 Summit Avenue, Center City, MN 55012)  and settle in for the night.

Saturday October 28th

11am – Leave for “Paint and Sip” at Dancing Dragonfly (120th Avenue, St. Croix Falls,WI 54024)    * Be sure to have purchased ticket to the event ahead of time! * Scenic Route:  Take County Road 37 east through Shafer and into Taylors Falls. When you can no longer go straight (stop light in downtown Taylors Falls)take a right to the next light and a left at that light onto Hwy 8. Follow Hwy 8 east until the roundabout by Menards and take a left. You can follow the signs from there.

4pm –  Visit “Wine-O-Ween” at the Chateau St Croix Winery plus visit the art gallery featuring Jan Killian‘s art work (1998 Highway 87, St. Croix Falls, WI 54024). Scenic Route: (this will tack on a lot of miles to your trip and is a very indirect route). From Dancing Dragonfly, head back out to Hwy 8 and take a Right, heading east. Take a left on Wisconsin Highway 35 and head north. Go several miles through Centuria and take a left on County Road I/180th Ave. Follow that back west until you come to WI Highway 87. Take a right and head north. You will see the Chateau on your right.

6pm – Dinner at Eichten’s Bistro  (16440 Lake Blvd Center City, MN 55012) There isn’t a scenic route to here. However if you’re timeline is different and you aren’t in the dark while driving to Eichten’s, stop at Franconia Sculpture Park. You can’t miss it at the roundabout where Hwy 95 and Hwy 8 meet. Directions: From the Chateau, take a left on WI Hwy 87 through St. Croix Falls until you reach Hwy 8. Take a right onto Hwy 8 and follow it west to Center City.

8pm – Head home to Summit Inn Bed and Breakfast. (208 Summit Avenue, Center City, MN 55012) If you’re tired and wanting to settle in for the night, great. If not, park the car at the Inn, walk down to Al’s Saloon, have a few drinks while mingling with the locals at their hang-out. If you’re looking for dessert, walk a little further to Pizza Pub at the bottom of the hill in Center City and have a Rootbeer Float!

Sunday, October 29th

Two options:

If you’re heading toward the cities and need to get home, you can take Hwy 8 west to connect to the freeway (Interstate 35) stop at Winehaven for the Federweisser & Roter Rauscher Festival. They open at 11am. We have never been but it sounds like a lot of fun sampling the 2017 harvest!

If you’re heading home at a more leisurely pace and want the scenic route, head east on Hwy 8 and at the roundabout (by Franconia Sculpture Park) head south on Highway 95 to Stillwater where there are more wineries to visit along with a wonderful historic main street.

Now this will change as the weekend’s progress but we assure you, our communities have a lot to offer! Just ask any of the Innkeepers at Summit Inn Bed and Breakfast for more information, directions or suggestions.

Fall Foliage in the St. Croix River Valley in Minnesota

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A guest this summer shared with us that he was born and raised on the East Coast but after college he immediately moved to Minnesota. When asked what influenced his decision, he told us that “Minnesota is like living in a state park”. For someone who has lived her whole life in the North Star State, it was a welcomed observation. It made me slow down and take an unfiltered look at our community and the beauty of our state. We just happen to live in one of the most beautiful areas with the lakes, bluffs, rivers, waterfall, fields and hills alike, various trees offer a fantastic and colorful display of fall foliage. It is a small piece of paradise in our back yard that guests of Summit Inn Bed and Breakfast as well as community friends get to enjoy daily.

Now that it is fall our landscape truly puts on a show for visitors. Orchards, Vineyards and Gardens OH MY! Although you would not find any wizards in the Chisago Lakes Community, you very well could be a part of some fun and fabulous fall festivities. Try to say that 5 times fast. Ha! The cooler temperatures lend themselves to bonfires, apple picking, corn mazes, pumpkin patches and fall colors. Want a bit of spooky? Check out the Dead End Hayride at Pinehaven Farm. On your way stop at Lendt’s Pumpkin Patch for the best family fun photo ops out there! Don’t forget about the Shafer Corn Maze for more unique fall and Halloween fun!


Looking for a bit more earthy fall experiences? We recommend you check out Panola Valley Gardens that will take your breath away. Another great organic fall experience is to visit any of our amazing Vineyards! There is a great tour book called “A Toast to the Valley”  that can be found at Summit Inn Bed and Breakfast or any of the other Inns of the Valley. It is a detailed listing of the many vineyards near us including a map to find your way around! In an upcoming blog I will showcase some of the neatest Vineyards near us and share with you some of the fun things you can do while visiting them.

Last but not least, is a visit to the Pleasant Valley Orchard where you can not only pick off the tree several different types of apples but visit the gift shop for yummy treats. All the deliciousness without the mess in your kitchen. Not to mention that they also have hayrides, brat feeds, a bake-off, etc. It is a must-see if you’re in town! They have a listing of their fall activities on their website or you can just click HERE!

Now that we filled up your days, check out this blog post about what to do in the evening! And as always, feel free to check in with any of the Innkeepers at Summit Inn Bed and Breakfast for more information, recommendations, and/or directions.