The Great Minnesota Bucket List: Luxurious Locales

Toast these relaxing getaways with a bottle of wine—no knapsacks, kid packs, or achy backs in sight.

Graves 601 Hotel

Step Out for a Night

Something about visiting the town with the world’s biggest shoe makes for a romantic getaway. It could be an elegant dinner over candlelight at The Port, located in the signature St. James Hotel, or perhaps it’s spending an afternoon antiquing, followed by a hike to the top of the nearby bluffs to watch eagles soar high above town.

Whether it’s the sights, the shopping, the eating, or merely an uninterrupted night of sleep, Red Wing offers an easy escape to Minnesota’s own version of Pleasantville. 406 Main St. Red Wing, 800-252-1875


Plan for luxury accommodations and a decadent breakfast at Golden Lantern B&B. Think baked grapefruit smothered with brown sugar. 721 East Ave., Red Wing, 651-388-3315

>> Stop by Red Wing Shoes (the lower sale level is a must) and nab a shot of the 16-foot-tall, size 638 1/2-D boot—after all, it is the town’s namesake.

Dream in the Trees

Yes, it is possible to spend the night in a treehouse. Simply call Ludlow’s Island Resort, located on a private island in the middle of Lake Vermilion, and ask for the Dreamcatcher. Designed by SALA Architects, the new three-bedroom cabin sits tall and proud among the island’s towering Norway and white pines. With four levels of living space and floor-to-ceiling glass panels on the third-floor family room, no other view on the island can top it. 8166 Ludlow Dr., Cook, 877-583-5697


If you’re looking to pull out all the stops, book The Fireside Romance package, which includes lodging, dinner in your cabin, massages, and a boat for a cruising.

Sleep In

Make date night more interesting with an interactive five-course murder mystery dinner. A trip to Spicer Castle Inn is sure to spice up your evening as you speculate about who among you is the culprit. Plus, with 18 lodging options, the bed and breakfast offers everything you need for an evening away. The only thing you need to figure out is whodunit: the maid with the candlestick or the inspector with the rope? 11600 Indian Beach Rd., Spicer, 320-796-5870

Sleeping under the stars may sound like a romantic adventure—sleeping outside sans modern-day plumbing and a mattress, not so much. Burntside Lodge in Ely offers the best of both worlds: authentic log cabins nestled quietly away in the wilderness equipped with amenities such as bedding, fine dining, and electricity. Without televisions or telephones, you’ll still spend your vacation at one with nature, but when nature calls, you needn’t worry about bears or bug bites. 2755 Burntside Lodge Rd., Ely, 218-365-3894

Stay in Town

No need to leave town for the perfect getaway. Plan a staycation and see the Cities the way you’ve always wanted.


Hitting the gym, followed by an afternoon of indulgence.

STAY: HOTEL IVY 201 S. 11th St., Minneapolis, 612-746-4600

PLAN: Earn an afternoon of pampering in the luxury spa by first working up a sweat in the fitness facility. The Ivy Ritual includes a body wrap, milk bath, mini facial, and a massage.

WHAT TO PACK: Lululemon gear and something to lounge in. The in-room robe will be perfect for room service from Porter & Frye.

TIP: Ask about the birth year deal. For the second and third nights of your stay, you pay $100 plus the year you were born.


Art—creating it, surveying it, experiencing it.

STAY: LE MERIDIEN CHAMBERS 901 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-767-6900,

PLAN: Start at Burnet Gallery, with more than 200 pieces from the private collection of the hotel's owner. Then move on to the Walker Art Center. Top the night off with a show at one of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s stages.

WHAT TO PACK: Whatever you need to feel artsy and inspired—a beret? A paint-smattered smock? All black, perhaps?

TIP: Chambers guests gain free admittance to the Walker Art Center by presenting their artist-designed “Unlock Art” key card.


Cozying up by the fire for a romantic getaway.

STAY: NICOLLET ISLAND INN 95 Merriam St., Mpls., 612-331-1800

PLAN: Cross the bridge to explore St. Anthony Main. Share a bottle of wine at Vic’s. Then head back to the island for dinner.

WHAT TO PACK: A good book to read in the newly renovated lounge and something sexy—this is the Twin Cities’ most romantic getaway.

TIP: Stay till Sunday for breakfast. The Island Package includes champagne and petits fours, dinner for two, and the five-course brunch.

Graves 601


Feeling like you’re part of the “in” crowd every now and then.

601 1st Ave. N., Mpls., 612-677-1100

PLAN: Start at the hotel’s Bradstreet Craftshouse. Head to the North Loop for cocktails at HauteDish. Then grab dinner at Bar La Grassa. End the night at Marvel Bar or the hotel’s newly revamped Cosmos.

WHAT TO PACK: That one outfit you’ve never been brave enough to wear. If you’re going to play the part, you may as well look it.

TIP: Sign up for The Giving Room special, and the hotel will donate housing for one night for a needy child.

St. Paul Hotel


History—mixed with luxury.

350 Market St., St. Paul, 800-292-9292

PLAN: Take in the exquisite interior of the four-diamond hotel before heading out to explore downtown St. Paul. Have cocktails in Lowertown, dine at the St. Paul Grill, and nab a ticket to the Ordway Center.

WHAT TO PACK: Your Sunday best. You’ll want to blend in with the fresh floral bouquets and the opulent décor.

TIP: Ask for the Pirate Package, which runs during the Real Pirates exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota and offers breakfast and $20 in pirate treasure.


Shopping, but you never seem to find enough time to hit everything.

Galleria, 952-567-5000

PLAN: Tiffany & Co., Ampersand, Gabberts, oh my! The collection of stores is enough to keep you occupied all day. Savor your shopping high over dinner at Crave or Pittsburgh Blue.

WHAT TO PACK: Your most comfortable kicks, so you can cover the Galleria from Louis Vuitton to Len Druskin.

TIP: With the Galleria’s Getaway Package, you receive $200 in Galleria gift cards, $75 to any Galleria restaurant, and sparkling wine in your room.

Swirl, Smell, Sip, Repeat

St. Croix Vineyards

If If you think the finest grapes this side of the Atlantic are only in Napa Valley, think again. We have everything from award-winning reds to unique rhubarb and raspberry blends. These standouts left us thirsting for more.


Stop here first—it is, after all, the oldest winery in Minnesota and the first modern winery cooperative in the United States. 223 N. Main St., Stillwater, 651-430-1032


It doesn’t get more Minnesotan than rhubarb wine—decide for yourself whether it’s a taste better left for pie. 35295 Minnesota 64, Laporte, 218-224-3535


With more than 45 national honors under its belt, the Voyageur blend makes the trip worthwhile. 18200 Kirby Ave., Hastings, 651-437-1413


The vineyard’s century-old barn showcases decades’ worth of award-winning blends you’ll want to bring home to your wine rack. 6428 Manning Ave. N., Stillwater, 651-430-3310

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