|Photo courtesy of MN Historical Society|
Split Rock Lighthouse
If you haven't ventured north of Duluth yet, I highly suggest a spontaneous road trip. About 200 miles south of the cities, Split Rock Lighthouse can be found on the North shore of Lake Superior in Two Harbors, Minnesota. With walking trails, gorgeous views and a bit of history, it's a desirable getaway from the chaos of the cities. There are guided tours available on site, and an adorable gift shop. It can be a romantic stop for two, or a family adventure. Just make sure you wear your walking shoes, and are ready for a decent trek to the shore.
Who doesn't like spam? Austin, Minnesota is home of the Hormel's Corporate Headquarters, and is also home to the Spam Museum. You can learn everything from the makings of Spam to some great recipes on how to use Spam in your home cooked meals. Or in the event that you don't care for canned meats, Austin has also been named "One of the Top Ten Inexpensive Towns You'd Actually Want To Live" in 2015. It lies about 100 miles south of the cities, and is just waiting for a new visitor or three.
Beer is great. Local beer? Even better! 96 miles south west of the metro you'll find one of the oldest locally owned breweries in Minnesota. It’s the second oldest family run brewery in Minnesota, to be exact. After your time touring the brewery and visiting the gift shop, make a weekend of your trip and stop down at the Deutsche Strasse Bed and Breakfast for a German themed stay to match all that German crafted beer you just drank.
130 miles out of Minneapolis in Comfrey, you'll find peaceful prairie land, a tiny town and lots of history. Jeffers Petroglyphs are vast expanses of rock covered in the 7000 plus year old artwork and depictions of stories of the way of life of Native Americans. You can find humans, deer, buffalo, turtles and other creatures sketched out on these rocks. There are guided tours available, as well as various classes you can take. Ever wanted to learn to throw atlatl and hunt buffalo? The Native American Survivalist class is the place for you!
Franconia Sculpture Park
A short drive 50 miles out of the metro will land you in a bizarre wonderland, also known as the Franconia Sculpture Park in Franconia, Minnesota. Located on a 43 acre plot of land, Franconia Sculpture Park is an active artist residency working to showcase 40 new artist each year. The park always changes, new sculptures are worked on regularly and you're always in for a fun surprise.