MTL Christmas - Page 59

Stillwater, Minnesota by Cynthia Ruchti Whether viewed from the lift bridge across the St. Croix River that separates Wisconsin and Minnesota just north of the Twin Cities, or from a paddlewheel boat, kayak, Venetian gondola for two or canoe, or from the vantage point of a hot air balloon during nearby Hudson’s balloon festival, Stillwater, Minnesota offers stunning vistas. Its historic downtown district (on the National Historic Register) hugs the shore of the river. Its residential area— rich with Victorian and Italianate mansions and steepled churches—clings to the abrupt hills that create an even more spectacular vantage point from which to take in the four-seasons scenery. Antiques, museums, art galleries, eclectic restaurants with almost two dozen outdoor dining patios and 100 owneroperated shops in the downtown district alone add to the experience of the natural beauty of the river valley. Stillwater is a popular wedding, event and year ’round getaway destination for people from around the world. Families or couples participate in self-guided walking tours of more than 14 historic sites, ride the 13-person sideways bicycle, book a ride on a paddleboat, rent a surrey, take a tour of Stillwater by trolley, tour the historic caves, travel the hiking trails, ride the bike trail to St. Paul or take advantage of one of several parks in Stillwater. Winter offers additional recreational and entertainment opportunities—skating, snowboarding, cross-country and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snow-tubing, ice fishing, horse-drawn rides and December’s lighted “Twinkle Parade.” Christmas tours, candlelight strolls, a festival of lights and holiday teas dot the St. Croix River Valley’s other small towns near Stillwater. Stillwater—voted one of the “Prettiest Small Towns in America” by Forbes—lives up to its reputation. Stillwater’s romantic and family-friendly atmosphere made it the perfect setting for the hardcover novella An Endless Christmas. On author Cynthia Ruchti’s girlfriend getaways and anniversary trips with her husband to Stillwater, the town made an imprint that finds its way to the pages of this touching Christmas story. For more from Cynthia Ruchti, check out An Endless Christmas on / MTL Magazine 59