Spend Sunday exploring our picks on Lake Pepin starting with brunch at the Chef Shack in Bay City, WI (2017 James Beard finalists!), located just 70 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. The majestic Mississippi River bluffs and scenic Lake Pepin are the backdrop for our art-inspired sojourn here along the West Coast of Wisconsin.
10 a.m. Bay City, WISCONSIN
Start off your Sunday morning with a scenic drive down the Wisconsin Great River road to the tranquil village of Bay City for brunch at Chef Shack. Another good thing about the Chef Shack on Sunday morning is that you can make a reservation, so you won't have to wait.
If you live in the Twin Cities, you know Chef Shack as a food truck that satiates all with its amazing fare. Here in Bay City the New York City trained chef/owners offer a cozy, eclectic but uptown atmosphere with only the freshest food. Try a delicious Belgian style waffle with dreamy house blended vanilla bean syrup or try the signature, to die for, organic vegetable hash and soft scramble with truffle oil and herbs. Daily lettuces, pâtés, creme brûlée, bête noir, locally roasted coffee and a full bar round out the offerings. Many of the herbs used in the dishes come from their herb garden which is outside the restaurant’s back door.
Insider Tip: Before you leave town, walk down the block to the river and take in the view of Lake Pepin from Bay City for a beautiful perspective of the valley.
Restaurant hours through New Year’s: Friday & Saturday dinner 5-10 p.m. and Sunday brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations accepted.
6379 Main St Bay City, WI 54723
Noon: Explore Maiden Rock, WI.
A palpable sense of revival characterizes this tiny river town. There’s a lot to explore here from B&Bs, to local saloons and to some of the best shopping along the river.
Here’s a list of too-good to be missed establishments:
Stepping into this shop reveals a collection of hand made home decor you’ve likely not seen before. The vignettes of bedspreads, rugs and pillows, many produced exclusively for Cultural Cloth, make it easy to see these pieces in your home.
Recommended: Felted wool rugs from a woman’s group in Afghanistan depicting tigers and spotted horses starting at $169.
Insider’s Tip: Don’t overlook the gallery in the back of this shop.
Hours through Christmas: Thursday- Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
W3560 WI-35 Maiden Rock, WI 54750
Across the street from Cultural Cloth, stop into the Green Queen, a unique lawn ornament and garden art store that "celebrates the nobility of nature" and offers everything from essential oils and garden jewelry to locally made birdhouses and more.
Hours through mid-October: Friday through Sunday 10AM to 5PM
THE SECRET HEART GALLERY
Artist/owner B.J. Christofferson of Secret Heart Gallery has created a shimmery space full of her original artwork inspired by Spanish Colonial art and Joseph Cornell. Her one-of-a-kind wall pieces are dioramas assembled from collage and 3-dimensional ephemera. Her porch is full of unique gifts and jewelry.
Recommended: B.J.'s "Tourist Art", small clay pieces embedded with milagros, beads and ephemera.
Hours through fall: Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
W3553 Hwy 35 Maiden Rock, WI 54750
Facebook: Secret Heart Gallery
THE SMILING PELICAN BAKESHOP
Most who come to the area, make a pilgrimage to this not-to-be missed bakery that uses butter and old-fashioned recipes, sometimes with a modern twist, that you know and love. As you nibble on your treat, you may rub elbows with a devoted local customer picking up their weekly loaf of cranberry wild rice sourdough or another day tripper from Iowa who makes a monthly trek to Maiden Rock and the Smiling Pelican for slice of banana cream pie. Owner/Baker Sandra Thielman varies the weekly selections according to the availability of seasonal produce and her appreciative audience gobble it up. Refer to her Facebook page for her daily offerings.
Recommended: Lavender-ginger sugar cookies, raspberry custard pie with pecan streusel or Ruth Raich's famous cardamon rolls.
Tip: They close at 2 p.m., no exceptions. So arrive with plenty of time and after you finish your pie, grab a coffee refill then stroll through her flower garden.
Hours through Christmas: Friday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WI-35 Maiden Rock, WI 54750
Facebook: Smiling Pelican Bakeshop
NOTE: Closed for a fall break September 21, 2019 reopening October 11th.
2:00 p.m. Rural Stockholm, WI.
Off of Highway 35, explore the county roads amidst rolling farm fields that are just beginning to hint of autumn changes. Here a sense of discovery pulls you around each curvy bend.
NEW! Outdoor Photo Mural in Maiden Rock
While you are in Maiden Rock make sure to stop and see the newly installed photo mural by Maiden Rock artist Celeste Nelms which is on the second floor wall of the Six String Saloon just a couple of blocks from the Cultural Cloth Shop. It's the kind of photo you can gaze at for a while and still not see all the detail. It's fun.
Be sure to check out Swan Vision Gallery
The Gallery’s website describes the season’s exhibition calendar and hours.Swan Vision, located at Santosha Center, just down the block from Cultural Cloth, presents focused exhibitions of contemporary art, curated by Cynde Randall. ‘Swan Vision’ is an invitation to see through the eyes of an artist or another species. For more information: (612) 250-9222
Want to explore more? This handy website will help you find lodging, restaurants and more in Maiden Rock area.Enjoy. www.maidenrock.org