We have had 7 weekends in a row now of wonderful, sunny autumn weekends. It’s hard not to take advantage of that. Yesterday, both girls had plans, so Nate and I decided it would be a beautiful day for a fall color drive. Most of the leaves are peaking here in Burnsville this week, so we knew we had to head south, rather than north, since they are past their peak time. Our first town to pass through was Prescott, WI. This is very near where I grew up, so I haven’t been there since my high school days. I have to say, it was very pretty and would have been a nice spot to stop and picnic by the St. Croix. Since we had just gotten started, we didn’t want to stop yet.
We kept driving south and passed through the town of Pepin, WI, which is a very nice town. We did stop at a Historical Marker, and took few pictures of the Lake from the Wisconsin side. This is one of the prettiest lakes I know of. The weather was perfect for sailboats today, with a slight breeze to push them along the sparkly water as they enjoyed the colors along the banks.
A little about Lake Pepin…Lake Pepin is a naturally occurring lake, and the widest naturally occurring part of the Mississippi River, located approximately 60 miles downstream from Saint Paul. It is a widening of the river on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The formation of the lake was caused by the backup of water behind the sedimentary deposits of the Chippewa River’s delta. It is the largest Lake on the entire Mississippi River. The lake was named for Jean Pepin who settled on its shores in the late 1600s after exploring the Great Lakes from Boucherville. One last bit of history for my sister Terry…Lake Pepin is the lake that Laura and her family visit in the ‘Going to Town’ chapter of “Little House in the Big Woods,” the first book in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series. Laura’s family and their covered wagon then cross the frozen Lake Pepin in the chapter ‘Going West,’ the first chapter of the second book, “ Little House on the Prairie.” There you go Ter!
We continued our color adventure by crossing back into Minnesota and stopping in the town of Wabasha. We had no idea what to expect in this town, but saw some pictures on FB from my sister and it looked cute, so why not. We were pleasantly surprised by the fact that they were celebrating “SeptOberfest”. Yep, they have this festival starting in September and continuing through October. This made us laugh. I guess they enjoy their “Fests!” Wabasha is located on the Mississippi Rliver at the foot of Lake Pepin. We parked on a nearby street and walked down the bridge where all the festivities were happening. As we got closer, we could hear polka music happening under the bridge. Again, we laughed. It was the Riverband Polka Band! It was two men, one playing the electric piano and the other an accordion. Oh, how fun and total small town stuff. We loved it and continued exploring this town.
They had face painting, balloon animals, and my favorite was the pumpkin carvings. A very talented lady had a couple on display and they were impressive.
They also claim to have the largest pumpkins in their town. I found one that weighed in at 1,192 pounds. Wow, that could be a State Fair winner right there.
Next, we walked down the main street and headed towards the river. Again, we found a whole other area of games, petting zoo, and artsy things on display near the waterfront. Most of it was for little kids, but we couldn’t resist taking a look at the petting zoo. Very cute animals~
Being in Wabasha was very similar to my summer in Hastings. They looked identical and the bridge that crosses over the St. Croix is actually a sister-bridge to the Hastings one. We hung out by the water and enjoyed the sunshine, sparkling water, and colorful trees. So relaxing~
As we wondered some more, we found this neat fountain that had a statue of a Sioux Indian, who were founders of Wabasha, back in the day. Next to this, is the National Eagle Center, which we had never heard of. We didn’t have time to go inside and walk around, but would be interested in going back for this. The National Eagle Center is a world-class interpretive center located on the banks of the Mississippi River. They have five rescued eagles, four bald eagles and one golden eagle.
It was time to start heading back home and finish our trek. We enjoyed Wabasha a lot and would definitely go back for another visit at some point, on another one of our fall color journeys. As we walked back to the car, we needed to warm our fingers up, so we stopped in at their local coffee shop called, “Big Jo Espresso.” It was very rustic inside with antiques, ice cream counter, coffee counter, and even a chocolate shop. Perfect! I ordered a Chai Tea and Nate ordered an Amaretto Latte. Exactly what we needed in the middle of our trip. It warmed us up nicely.
What a great way to spend an autumn day. We drove back home and passed through Lake City and Cannon Falls before returning to Burnsville. We made one more stop at the grocery store and picked up some chicken, which Nate grilled perfectly with some butternut squash. We paired this with a lovely Cotes de Rhone and that just topped off our night. Fall just makes us happy~ I hope you are enjoying this season as much as we are. We will hate to see it end.