Roseville, Minnesota: Gateway to the Twin Cities

Continuing my “Midwest Summer Tour”, the Twin Cities of Minnesota was on my list of places to check out this summer. The nearby town of Roseville promotes itself as “perfectly positioned” near the Twin Cities, but I was skeptical. 10 minutes from downtown? My Chicago brain refused to believe any suburb could be conveniently located to the downtown area, but I decided to give it a shot. Hey! What do you know, not every metro area has gridlocked, soul-sucking traffic like Chicago! Much to my surprise, I was able to reach many spots within St Paul and Minneapolis within 10 minutes of my Roseville hotel, and I also found some fun things to do right in Roseville! There are tons of options for lodging, dining and shopping right in Roseville, many of which are also dog-friendly!

Bent Brewstillery

Roseville’s Bent Brewstillery started with a Mr Beer hobby kit and has grown into an award-winning operation. They offer a rotating selection of craft brews and spirits, including Poitin, which is a potato-based spirit. The owner, Bartley, has taken an innovative approach to business with unique ideas like partnering up with a local restaurant to use their potato peels to make the Poitin. Bent Brewstillery is dog-friendly (no kitchen) but they also have a rotating schedule of food trucks outside so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach. The brewstillery also has a calendar of special events, such as a visiting astronomer the weekend I visited. Bailey enjoyed the backroom tour while I enjoyed sampling each of the spirits!

Bartley, owner of Bent Brewstillery giving us a back-room tasting

Rosedale Center

If shopping is your jam, you will probably make a beeline for the Mall of America in nearby Bloomington. I consider shopping to be more of a chore, so visiting Mall of America is about as appealing to me as Disney World. That said, I had errands while I was in town (I like to take advantage of free parking and light traffic when I’m not in Chicago!) and found nearby Rosedale Center. I was pretty stoked when I found out there is no sales tax on apparel in Minnesota, so it was a great place to stock up on some basics.

Reservoir Woods

Reservoir Woods is one of many parks within Roseville city limits, with several multi-use trails throughout. Finding the main entrance was tricky, and we ended up coming in through the back. In hindsight, I wish I had printed out a trail map so I would have been more comfortable exploring. We stuck to the main paved trail, but saw several single-track trails veering off into the woods. There is also an off-leash dog-park here. This is a great, quick escape for a dose of nature as you hardly even realize how close you are to homes and streets.

Reservoir Woods, Roseville

Minnehaha Falls Park

Located in Minneapolis, Minnehaha Falls is a great urban oasis. The main attraction of the park is the 53-foot waterfall. There is a trail along the river and spots where you can soak your paws along the way, which was much-needed on the 90-degree day we visited. The park also features a wading pool, disc golf course, volleyball courts, public art, historic sites and the Sea Salt Eatery. Pay lots are readily available and inexpensive.

Mill City Museum

With temps soaring into the 90’s, it was time to let Bailey chill in the A/C while I explored downtown Minneapolis a bit. I headed to the Mill District and the Mill City Museum. The whole neighborhood is a restored industrial area which now includes the museum, a waterfront park and some cool loft apartments. The museum entrance ($12) included a ticket to the Flour Tower, where we ascended the old grain elevator and were treated to animated scenes from the history of General Mills when the elevator doors opened on each floor. The museum also had interactive exhibits for kids and a great gift shop full of local specialties. (I’m a sucker for museum gift shops!)

The observation deck also provided excellent views of the Mississippi River, and the Stone Arches Bridge.

Night Photography

I love night photography and the Twin Cities were a great place to give it a go. The skyline and numerous bridges are so photogenic, and I felt pretty safe walking around at dusk with all of my camera equipment. Many people stopped to chat, mostly about my dog, of course. (Story of my life – everyone knew an Airedale in their youth, apparently!)

Residence Inn Roseville

I stayed at the Residence Inn, Roseville for the weekend. I love extended stay hotels because I feel like I could totally just move right into one! (I actually did live in one for 5 weeks when relocating to Chicago and I was in no hurry to move out!) The Residence Inn is pet-friendly and didn’t prohibit leaving B alone in the room, as many hotels do. The pet fee is $75, which is high, but as an extended stay, it’s a reasonable fee if you are staying several nights. In addition to the indoor pool, the hotel also has a nice outdoor area with grills and patio furniture. Rooms here are slightly less expensive than staying downtown, but once you factor in free parking, it’s definitely a great deal!

Have you been to the Twin Cities? What’s your favorite spot?

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Roseville Minnesota

I was a guest of The Roseville Visitors Association. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.

This post is also part of the Weekly Postcard blog roundup. Click the photo below to check out other posts this week!

 

Two Traveling Texans
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Ohio’s First Adventure: Marietta

Kayaking the Muskingum River with Marietta Adventure Company

Marietta, Ohio is a sleepy town along the Ohio River in the South-East corner of the state. Before my visit, Marietta (or Ohio for that matter) was not really on my travel radar. My compass almost always points West to the mountains, but I am so glad I took the opportunity to visit Marietta. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of outdoor activities in Ohio. It’s no wonder that National Geographic named Marietta Ohio’s Best Adventure Town!

Marietta is the oldest city in the state of Ohio (founded in 1787) and the first American settlement of the Northwest Territory. Marietta’s history goes back even further to the Hopewell and Adena tribes, who left behind ceremonial mounds which you can still see today. Marietta grew popular as a riverboat town, and still celebrates their steamboat heritage.

Historic Bike Tour with Marietta Adventure Company

What to Do in Marietta

You will be surprised at the variety of activities to explore in Marietta. I spent 48 hours and could have easily filled twice that amount of time!

Kayaking in Marietta

Kayaking the Muskingum River with Marietta Adventure Company

Marietta Adventure Company has everything you need for a day of adventure on local water. They offer guided tours, rentals, shuttle service and kayak sales. Even if you have your own boat and shuttle, they have some useful links on their website that you should check out.

When I visited, we had a short guided tour from our launch on the Muskingum River, into the confluence of the Ohio River, past downtown Marietta, a quick stop at Buckley Island and on over to West Virginia, where the van picked us up. In addition to the guided tours, it looks like they will have some special events, like full moon paddles, in the summer!

Marietta Adventure Company

Biking in Marietta

Historic Bike Tour with Marietta Adventure Company

Marietta Adventure Company also offers bike rentals and sales. We were given a historic bike tour by one of the owners, who said they are considering offering these tours in the near future. I hope they do, because it was a great experience. We all commented on how comfortable the cruiser bikes were, too! As someone who occasionally bike commutes in Chicago, I found the wide streets and low traffic to be very relaxing for our ride around town.

The paved River Trail follows the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers for 3.5 miles through town. The Marietta Trail Network has over 20 miles of groomed single-track and the Marietta unit of Wayne National Forest features technical mountain bike trails if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush!

Hiking in Marietta

Wayne National Forest

Marietta offers excellent hiking opportunities, including the Frontier trail right in town, and nearby Wayne National Forest. We hiked part of the Archer’s Fork loop with a forest ranger, where we saw natural arches and caves in just a short hike. The North Country Trail also passes through this area.

Less than an hour away, you will also find Hocking Hills State Park, which is a beautiful park filled with waterfalls and hiking trails.

Ghost Tours

Ghost Trek with Jessica from Hidden Marietta

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, Hidden Marietta offers tours chock full of history and ghost lore. We joined the owner, Jessica, for an evening ghost trek around town. As we strolled through the Front Street area for about 2 hours, Jessica (in 1800’s apparel!) regaled us with stories from Marietta’s past, which was quite scandalous at times!

Marietta College Planetarium

I was really excited to visit the Anderson Hancock Planetarium for a special show with Dr. Bragg. The planetarium holds public programs each month, so check the website for details. (Tip: bring a sweater!)

Covered Bridges

Hune Bridge, Wayne National Forest

Nine covered bridges remain in the Marietta area. You can plan a self-guided tour with help from the Marietta CVB.

Festivals in Marietta

Marietta Sweet Corn Festival – this July festival celebrates the agricultural history of the region, with music, food and entertainment.

Rivers Trails & Ales – it’s just what it sounds like – a celebration of paddling, biking and local ales. Taking place in August, RTA offers fun for the whole family.

Ohio River Sternwheel Festival – this September festival seems to be the talk of the town. The Lafayette Hotel keeps a running wait-list for this big weekend, which brings dozens of authentic sternwheel boats, and over 100,000 visitors to town!

Where to Eat in Marietta

Blue Cheese Chips at The Galley

Marietta has a great variety of dining options, from casual cafes to trendy bistros. Here are the places I visited in Marietta:

  • Busy Bee – located in Harmar Village, this small cafe uses fresh ingredients from local farms. Great breakfast spot to fuel up for outdoor adventures!
  • Harmar Tavern – Harmar Tavern offers a classic menu of American favorites, including the “soon to be famous” bologna sandwich. Great patio for outdoor dining!
  • Third Street Deli – I had a delicious Southwest chicken panini from this deli! Grab a picnic lunch before heading out on a hike.
  • The Galley – this restaurant in the Hackett Hotel was the most upscale that we tried, although still casual. Really enjoyed the blue cheese chips appetizer!
  • The Gun Room at Lafayette Hotel – hearty breakfast menu with a ton of classic breakfast options.
  • Over the Moon Pizza – this was my favorite spot! Not only was the pizza delicious, but the owner, Moon (a former mayor of Marietta) entertained us with stories of growing up in Marietta, and his encounters with Bigfoot.

Over the Moon Pizza

Where to Shop in Marietta

Front Street

Marietta’s historic district has no shortage of charming shops to browse during your visit. Boutiques like The Cook’s Shop, Rossi Pasta, S|P Curated and Karen’s Crafts have a wide variety of items to bring home as souvenirs.

Where to Stay in Marietta

  • Historic District – I recommend staying in the historic district for a more authentic experience, as well as being in walking distance of great food and drink.
    • Lafayette Hotel – (Dog-Friendly!) check out my review here.
    • Hackett Hotel – the Hackett Hotel is another great option for your visit. This 5-room hotel is in a building with a long and colorful history (hint: more ghost stories!) The building also houses the Galley restaurant and Adelphia music hall.
    • If B&B’s are more your style, check out the options here!
  • Chain Hotels – if you prefer chain hotels (no judgment, I love my SPG and IHG points, too!) you will find plenty of options near the interstate.

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Ohio's First Adventure

I was hosted by Visit Marietta to learn about the variety of outdoor adventure opportunities in Marietta. These are solely my personal opinions/experiences and I was not financially compensated for this post.

This post is also part of the Weekly Postcard. Click the photo below to check out other posts this week!

Two Traveling Texans
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