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October Feature: Travels and Tourism

By October 11, 2016Uncategorized

Each month the blog will feature a specific theme.  October’s theme is “Travels and Tourism” and will have articles throughout related to it.  Our first feature article is from Deb Zwiefelhofer discussing  a recent day trip to the St. Cloud area. 

Day-Tripping to St. Cloud Minnesota

Recently a couple of college friends and I met up for a girls’ day in St. Cloud. I grew up in that area and was not expecting much in the way of unique and different!  I am glad to say the three stops we made on a Friday in September scored five stars with all of us. If you are looking for a nice ‘day trip’ I highly recommend the route we took and the stops we made.

Our first stop was The Grand Depot right off I-94 and Highway 23. This is a ‘foodies’ heaven for shopping and tasting. The Depot is a several times moved and renovated 1912 train depot – beautiful building as most old train depots seem to be! Currently there are two shops, Accentric and Corks and Casks, with another store planned to open soon. Our little group spent almost 2 hours oohing and ahhing over the various kitchen items, fun foods (and samples) and awesome gift ideas. This is the place to go if you are looking for a clever gift or that elusive kitchen tool!

After all the samples at Accentric in The Grand Depot, we probably didn’t need to eat lunch but it was noon and therefore lunch time! So, lunch was at Jules’ Bistro which is a quaint little restaurant and art shop located in the downtown area. They feature (and sell) work of local artists as part of their décor so there is more shopping here too. The “half” salad that I had with my homemade creamy chicken dumpling soup was seriously generous in size and wonderful. The salad and soup choices my friends made were satisfying to them too! We all shared two desserts – a crème brule and a chocolate cake – both earning two thumbs up. The menu offers a variety of sandwiches, wraps, pizza, salads, soups and desserts. They also serve breakfast and offer wine and beer. Someone of any age would surely find something on the menu at Jules’. Foods are sourced locally and homemade daily. The portions were hardy and the flavors were amazing. Prices were reasonable and in line with other eating establishments. It has been rated 4 out of 5 stars but our little group of three gave it 5 out of 5.

Our third, and final, destination for the day was the Munsinger and Clemens Gardens. These gardens sit along the Mississippi river and offer different kinds of beauty as they goes through the growing season. The roses are something to behold when in full bloom – we were a bit late for that but we did get to see all the fall flowers in their glory! You can stroll through the gardens (and gift shop) as leisurely or as quickly as you like. We probably spent another two hours wandering the different areas playing ‘name that plant’. Fortunately for us they had arborists and garden workers wondering around to identify the many plants that we could not name.

You can find out more about each of these destinations on their respective websites, which are linked in this article. St. Cloud is only about 45-60 minutes from the Minneapolis/ St. Paul metro area depending on your starting point.

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