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XY Vacation 001: Stillwater, MN

3 February 2012

[A dude doesn’t need to skydive or hunt elephants to have a manly vacation. Here begins an erratic series on vacation ideas for guys.]

1. Arrive at Aurora Staples Inn. Have the carriage house reserved, as it’s a spacious, lightly Victorian room with a three-sided fireplace next to the hot tub. Ask Cathy, the owner, to make to make one of her amazing egg dishes for breakfast.

2. Get up. Eat a three-course breakfast.

3. Walk across the street to Loome Theological Bookstore. There you’ll find a curious selection of texts on religion, history, and the arts, most of it packed into an old church sanctuary. It’s manliest if you go there in winter. Ask the attendant for a cup of hot tea, then peruse Kierkegaard underneath the stained glass windows in 30 degree weather. It’s perfectly medieval.

4. Grab a coffee at The Daily Grind espresso bar.  Order a large cup to go.  Fill it with 3/4 DG blend, 1/4 french roast (yes, it breaks rules to do so, but the combo works somehow).  Walk across the St.Croix River: there’s a bridge crossing over to Wisconsin.  Turn back – there’s nothing on the other side – but hawk a few loogies off the bridge.

5. Hit up Marx for lunch.  It’s a fusion bistro with incredible seafood.  Go for the seared rare tuna, which is as good as it gets.  Try their Jameson and Ginger as a fresh complement.  The chef at Marx, who formerly worked for Chives, can’t seem to go wrong.

6. Head over to the Stillwater Olive Oil Company.  They’ll let you sample over a dozen olive oils, and as many designer vinegars.

7. Head up highway 95 to Marine on St. Croix.  There you’ll find a handful of quaint shops with friendly folks.  The supply store carries a bunch of special sodas.

8. Go across the river to Osceola, WI.  There you’ll find a bowling alley that is a true local dive.

9. Get on back to Stillwater, where you’ll want to hit up Barbara Ann’s Fudge Shoppe, where you’ll find a monster pecan turtle begging to be taken home. 

10. End your XY vacation with a visit to the Green Room.  There you’ll find a loud and lively atmosphere with impressive steaks and, believe it or not, curries.   If you’re smart, you’ve reserved a second night at Aurora Staples, planning a late start the next day to the Twin Cities.

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One comment

  1. And do it all with your lovely wife!



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