Friday, September 18, 2009

Great River Road Trip

One of my favorite things to do once the signs of autumn arrive is to take a drive on the Great River Road, along the Mississippi River. This year we took the convertible, top down. Recent days have been warm and bright, perfect for a drive. We like to drive north from LaCrosse on the Minnesota side, stay in Red Wing at the historic St. James Hotel, then drive down the Wisconsin side as far as Prairie du Chien.

This scene was taken down by the river after a good meal at the Staghead restaurant in Red Wing, Minnesota.

We get out to appreciate every view. This one was taken near Lake Pepin. Driving top down, one can really appreciate the sounds of the trains as they rumble and whistle along between the river bluffs and the water. The sound seems to echo in a way it does nowhere else. The smells too, of fields, farms, the railroad and the river all are part of the experience.

It is a real sadness to me that the great steamboats like the Mississippi and American Queen are not running this year. Someday I want very much to take a cruise from the upper Mississippi south during the fall season when the leaves are turning. This small replica boat, The Pearl of the Lake was doing a short day cruise on Lake Pepin, a wide part of the Mississippi where the Chippewa River joins the larger river.

One of my favorite places to stop on the trip home is a town of fewer than 100 people called Stockholm. There are some fine old river town buildings, a nice coffee shop, a gallery, antique store, and a bakery. These geraniums were basking in the warm sunshine.

I feel blessed to live so near to so much water related beauty, the Mississippi River, Lakes Michigan and Superior, and thousands of smaller lakes and rivers, and even more so because now I can visit them on these glorious early autumn days.


CrazyBunnyLady said...

Pretty pictures.

Michael said...

Sherry, that drive sounds wonderful. And, if your weather is anything like our mild, sunny days, I understand that aspect of the trip, too. Over Labor Day, we drove down to the Susquehanna River valley in southern PA.... perhaps not as scenic as the Mississippi, though it turns out the Susquehanna is the biggest river east of the Mssppi... But at several spots on small roads near Amish country, the view was of nothing but corn fields, some terraced in beautiful fashion, and dotted with silos. Not another thing. It was very peaceful. An underappreciated spot in Pennsylvania.

Michael said...

Damn it, I came back to read your entry again, look at the photos, and I even went to your link for the Stag Head restaurant. I love those places with the brick walls and pressed-tin ceilings. Did you have the osso buco?? That's what I would have had, that or a hamburger. LOL... The picture of the stairs with the geraniums was also evocative. This end-of-summertime feels so precious to me this year, I don't know exactly why. We stayed at a B&B in a small town near the Susquehanna, played tennis on their court with weeds coming through it, and enjoyed the interest of a squad of cows grazing in the field that surrounded the tennis court. We drove through a historic river town by the name of Marietta (PA, not OH), which was beautiful but also had a peculiar and depressing feeling of desolation. No one around... no sense of life or activity. It was an odd sour note in an otherwise enjoyable little trip.