Best Small Town for a Weekend Visit - Northfield - 2013 Best of MN

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  • Updated: May 20, 2013 - 11:04 AM

Stillwater, Red Wing, Lanesboro:  Each has its charm, but Northfield, a touch over 40 miles south of the Twin Cities, has charm and buzz — and not just because students from two colleges, Carleton and St. Olaf, set the tone. The Archer House River Inn, tucked up against the Cannon River, opened in 1877 but has kept up appearances with a major renovation completed two years ago. The hotel is nicely situated on the town’s main drag, lined with boutiques housed in 19th-century brick buildings. Visitors will no doubt want to stroll with wallet in hand. Stores such as the well curated Swag and Hodge-Podge Que entice with modern art and antiques. For a touch of history, stop by the Northfield Historical Society Museum to learn how the smart folks of Northfield ran Jesse James and his gang out of town. 1-507-645-5604; visitingnorthfield.com

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ginty16May. 21, 1310:32 AM

A weekend visit? How about 30 minute visit? Historic buildings and shops are cool - but then its relying on buzz from college students? What if I go on June 15? Then I'm down to old buildings with no youthful buzz. You list nothing else of relevance besides a museum. Northfield is cute and nice - fine, but these lists seem to recycle the same 5 towns over and over (Northfield, Stillwater, Red Wing, Lanesboro, Hastings.) There is more out there - Staff writer Christy DeSmith wrote about how proud she is of this list - but how were these choices vetted? Probably with no balance and with safe choices. A weekend getaway should describe entertainment, unique lodging, fun dining/restaurants, sports/activities, famous historical spots and so on. I'm sure that Northfield has this, but it's not written about. All I read was a city who's reputation has outlived its relevance.

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closner1964May. 22, 13 1:31 PM

My thanks to Ms. DeSmith for the mention of my Northfield store, swag - fine & funky art! We are in our tenth year of business and going strong. Sorry to add that Hodge-Podge Que closed several years ago (and is much missed). I disagree with ginty16 that Northfield has "outlived its relevance." We are a big arts community filled with a bunch talented and creative folks! We have much more to offer than a once-a-year celebration of the "Defeat of Jesse James Days." We have the luxury of having a terrific mix of citizens including very well-traveled, well-educated, politically active, artistic, holistic, farmers, & students. Ginty16 sounds upset that you didn't mention her town specifically. I think any mention of the small towns in MN that might bring them some business and help them stay afloat (after the terrible weather-related first quarter), is a treat! Come visit Northfield, we'll welcome you with open arms!

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