Category Archives: Minnesota

Fun At The Lumberyard Pub

Last week I wrote an article about Ladies Night at The Historic Afton Inn. To go along with that article I would like to let people know about another of my Ladies Night favorites. This one is a lot of fun and it combines two of my loves; purses and Bingo.

If you like playing Bingo you have got to check out the Lumberyard Pub. The Lumberyard hosts Coach Purse Bingo every third Thursday of the month. To make things even more exciting, each person receives a ticket and a chance to win a free beverage. The atmosphere is fun and definitely has its regular patrons whom you will hear hooting and hollering when they win a prized purse or drink for that matter.

Aside from winning purses and free beverages, the food at the Lumberyard is awesome. They have Wisconsin cheese curds, wings, nachos, sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads, just to name a few items. I haven’t eaten anything that I didn’t love. All of their food is great as well as the service.

Come on out, bring your friends, have some fun. The Lumberyard is a great place to spend an evening.

For more information on the Lumberyard Pub, please visit: http://lumberyardpubafton.com/

Ladies Night At The Historic Afton House Inn

If you live in eastern Minnesota or western Wisconsin and you are looking for something fun to do with your ladies, or maybe even your significant other, come on out to Afton, Minnesota the third Thursday of each month and take part in Ladies Night.

Start your evening off right by checking into, The Historic Afton House Inn. You cannot go wrong with one of their whirlpool suites. Men will feel encouraged to join in if they know all of the excitement and fun involved. This Inn has twenty-one uniquely decorated Jacuzzi suites. Some of the rooms have river views as well as fireplace, and a patio, or balcony. I personally like to use this event for date night because honestly we both have a great time.

After check-in wander through the inn to Current Restaurant for Happy Hour, where you will find great specials on appetizers and drinks. I can personally vouch for the food at Current, it is quite delectable. The low lit room provides a nice ambiance for reconnecting with loved ones, and the service is excellent.

If you are a wine lover, you absolutely must head over to Swirl, which is located inside the inn. They offer a free wine tasting for Ladies Night, but don’t worry men, you won’t be excluded. The tasting consists of a variety of different red and white wines. My favorite by far was the, 2012 Amayna Sauvignon Blanc, which is a nice crisp and refreshing Chilean white wine. Despite having a clear favorite, I greatly enjoyed all of the different wines on the list. Aside from the wine, Swirl has a great atmosphere with wonderfully attentive sommeliers. They also serve food, which I hear, great things about, but have not yet had the pleasure of trying. Rest assured I will be back to visit in the near future and I will do a more in-depth article on this lovely little wine bar.

Other fun things included in this evening are door prizes and games, as well as a variety of sidewalk vendors. You can even take in some free music on the patio outside of Swirl. This month ladies night will take place on July 19th and the giveaway will be for 187ml bottles of Blanc De Bleu.

After you have had your fill of the wonderful Ladies Night activities, you can purchase a bottle of wine to take back to your Jacuzzi suite and enjoy as you soak away any stress from the week. You will sleep well on the comfy beds which feature, My Pillows, and wake feeling refreshed and ready for the inn’s included, hot and tasty breakfast. Breakfast often features: coffee, tea, juice, fruit and yogurt parfait, and some form of egg omelet or frittata.

I have a history of traveling to many different towns and trying out the bed and breakfasts. This particular experience is one of my favorites, because this inn has a certain charm to it and there are so many things to do in one setting. Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself.

For more information, please visit the following websites:

https://aftonhouseinn.com/

http://www.swirlmywine.com/

The MSP Escape Lounge Experience

Many people don’t like to fly, or they find the airport to be quite boring. Not everyone is as satisfied with people watching, as I am. If you are flying out of the MSP airport, and you need something to occupy your time, check out the, Escape Lounge.

The Escape Lounge, is a VIP area where you can sit and relax. Anyone can buy a pass into this area. If you happen to be a lover of Groupon, you may even find a voucher for the Escape Lounge.

Inside the lounge you will find plenty of space and outlets, for plugging in laptops as well as phones. Once you pay for entry into the lounge, you will have unlimited food and beverages to choose from. Alcohol is also unlimited, providing you are choosing items from a specific shelf. Some beverages are an extra fee.

Food in the lounge consists of sandwiches, cheese trays, cookies, brownies, soups, tacos, taffy, and a coffee machine that can make everything from black coffee to a mocha or espresso. I cannot vouch for the earlier hours of the day, but I have heard that they have eggs and pastries, which I will check out in March, when I next visit.

The atmosphere of the Escape Lounge was clean and quiet. The staff was very friendly and helpful. I very much enjoyed my visit, and I will be going back and bringing family with.

If you are flying out of a different airport, checkout the Escape Lounge site to see if your airport has one: http://www.escapelounges.com/

Revisiting Tim Hortons

It’s always exciting when new businesses show up in my home town. Recently, in Prior Lake, we acquired a few new restaurants and businesses, but the most exciting to me was the arrival of Tim Hortons. Neal and I stopped at a Tim Hortons while traveling on our honeymoon and I have found myself wishing ever since that there was one near home.

Two weeks back, on July first, I decided to venture over to our local Tim Hortons for the first time. Boy was that a mistake, which I am currently laughing about. I failed to recall that it was indeed Canada Day and that Tim Hortons is a Canadian company. The entire place was packed with local Canadians and they had no donuts left, which is what I was on a mission for.

Sadly, after standing in line for fifteen minutes until I could finally see the doughnut case was empty, I left empty handed. I decided to try again the following weekend. This time I went through the drive through. I was disappointed to find out that they do not have old fashioned chocolate or blueberry doughnuts, so my husband and I settled for something other than what we were looking for. I did try the coffee, which I admit was quite tasty.

I cannot comment on the other food at Tim Hortons, because I have not tried it. They do have a vast menu and I could definitely see myself stopping in to try one of their sandwiches or other specialty items in the future. Their website will definitely make you hungry, the sandwiches look amazing. I would probably drink the coffee again, but not unless I were ordering something else off the menu to go with it.

After this experience I can truly say that I would be just as happy going over to Holiday for a doughnut when I’m going through that twice per year craving. Tim Hortons doughnut price is a little extreme when I know I can find something similar and just as tasty for a less. I had definitely built this business up in my head, but then again, Neal and I were also on our honeymoon, so everything looked pretty great.

For more information on Tim Hortons, please visit: http://www.timhortons.com/us/en/index.php

Adventures In House Hunting

Here’s another great adventure that I am currently a part of; finding a new home. We sold our house a week ago today and we have a little over a month to move out. We have looked at roughly fifteen houses and I am already tired of this search, but frequently my exhilaration is renewed, so this too shall pass.

Now this isn’t your typical adventure, but it is an adventure none the less. The feelings a person goes through when selling their home can be all over the board. We had our house sold in 48 hours; ten days later, after playing all sorts of mind games, our buyer bailed. Talk about frustrating. I didn’t want to relist our house, I was bummed. The house went again in 48 hours. The new buyer offered us a better deal and made our lives much easier. My husband and I are very happy with the outcome.

When you look for a house there are so many things to keep in mind. How big is it? Do the room sizes fit your needs? Does it have a ton of stairs, or is everything on one level? Is there enough garage space to accommodate my toys? How much can I afford to spend? Do I want to live in the city or the country? How much are the taxes? What sort of heat source does it have? I could go on for days. There are so many questions to answer before making a decision on what houses you will actually go see and on top of that the market is moving so fast the house could be sold before you get to it.

We have been looking at homes online for months now. It is exhausting, especially when you have a time crunch, which makes it even more stressful. We were very interested in one house and it was bought out from under us. Now we have two possibilities. Today we made an offer on one of those homes.

After deciding to make our offer we found out there is another offer out there, so I am going on faith that if we get this home, it’s meant to be. If our offer is not accepted then I will take that as a sign to continue looking, because something better is out there. Despite all of this, my stomach feels a little sick. I am not very patient when waiting for important news; I am working on improving that.

This time tomorrow we will know whether or not our offer has been accepted. As I say this, note I am still looking at houses online, even though I am tired of the house hunt. To all of you out there who are in the same situation, happy hunting, and may you find your dreams being answered. I know whatever happens, in a little over a month we will be moving into our new home and the thought of that is completely satisfying and makes this all worth the time and effort we have put in.

Get Your Groupon On!

Whenever I am getting ready for a trip, or I need a night out for dinner, or a massage to relax, there is one place I look to without fail. That place is Groupon. I am sure that many of my readers will recall hearing me speak of Groupon in the past. Groupon is a site where you can get goods and services, as well as vacation packages, for a fraction of their original cost.

Groupon is located all over the US; some cities have caught on more quickly than others. My home town for instance, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has some Groupons available, but not enough to make me happy at this point. Places like Las Vegas, however, have all sorts of Groupon services and items to choose from.

To use Groupon, all you have to do is add the app to your phone, or go to their website: www.groupon.com. You then type in the location you are interested in, and voila, all sorts of things will pop up. One thing to note is that most goods can be ordered no matter your location, but the voucher will say if it has any stipulations.

When we go to Las Vegas or anywhere on vacation, I always check to see if there are deals on hotel rooms, restaurants, or things to do. Most often we will find several restaurant options. Something important to understand is that most likely the business providing the offer is only making a quarter of what they normally would on the service or item they are offering. Groupon gets the other quarter of the price, because the price is half of what it would normally be. With this in mind, please tip well if you are going to dinner, or to get a massage, etc.

If you purchase a Groupon, always make sure you keep the expiration date in mind. You want to make sure your voucher is good during the dates you are traveling before you purchase it. If your voucher expires, however, you can still use the amount you originally paid, toward the service.

For the business owner who is looking to use Groupon, there are things you should keep in mind. The purpose of Groupon is to help businesses bring in new clientele, however, depending on whom you are and what you offer, most often the people who buy Groupons do not return. They are simply looking for a deal and providing you with fast cash, though it is a fraction of what you would normally make on your provided service. If you are a massage therapist, this could be great for you. If you are a Reiki Practitioner, like me, and people don’t necessarily know what Reiki is, this will bring in some clients, but not necessarily the amount you would hope for.

As a business on the selling end of Groupon, I have had a lot of frustrations with the company. They wouldn’t give me what I wanted in my advertisement; they didn’t like to return my calls or emails. I requested a different account manager and never had my request met, and then suddenly my account manager was gone from the company and I was never told about a replacement. I am not saying this will be your experience, I am sure others have had great experiences; mine just didn’t go how I had pictured.

If you are dealing with Groupon as a client who has an issue, they are pretty great. They tend to rectify issues quite quickly. Usually if there is a problem with the Groupon, they will refund your money. Sometimes they will give you a credit. I have never been let down by the final outcome of my request for remedying an issue with a business.

If you love online shopping and deals, check out Groupon. They can save the average person quite a bit of money on a daily basis, especially if you are open to trying new things. Just be careful, Groupon can become a little addicting when you start receiving discount codes on a regular basis.

For more information on Groupon, please visit: https://www.groupon.com/

 

A Look At Stillwater, Minnesota

Minnesota is a beautiful state, full of wonderful things to do during any season. One of my favorite towns to visit, especially during the summer, is Stillwater. This city is located right on the St. Croix River and really is a great place to visit any time of year. I prefer summer months because of the river and being able to sit out on patios while enjoying a glass of wine or a meal.

Stillwater has a ton of options for staying. There are many Bed & Breakfasts to choose from as well as hotels. One particular place I love to stay at is the Water Street Inn. I have stayed at this Inn on three different occasions and every single experience I have had was memorable and fun. The Water Street Inn features fireplaces and whirlpools in each room. You also have a community patio that faces out toward the river. You won’t be staying on the water at any of the other Inn’s in town. They also have their own restaurant and bar and they are located right in the middle of downtown. Location, location, location; it doesn’t get much better than that.

If you prefer something more secluded for your stay in Stillwater and you don’t mind driving, you could definitely choose any of the other B&B locations around town. I have previously stayed at the Outing Lodge at Pine Point. Not all rooms have a whirlpool, but this Inn has great food and a bar in the basement that showcases live music at times. It is set back in the woods and has a very nice romantic feel to it. This makes a great place for staying in the winter; you can easily go snowshoeing or skiing on the trails nearby. The owners make your stay very homey, at one point they brought around fresh made chocolate chip cookies, talk about winning some points there.

For those who are into good food and wine, downtown has a lot to offer. Northern Vineyards is a great place to go and take part in some wine tasting, they also have a balcony in the back where you can sit and drink wine while looking out at the river. If you are looking for great food and a view of the river, The Freight House is a wonderful experience, though on the pricier side. To enjoy some tasty Italian, Buona Sera features some great food, which I very much enjoyed; reservations are recommended. For a more low-key outing away from the high end food, there is also any number of pubs on Main Street to choose from, some of which have music on weekends.

During daylight hours you can easily wander Main Street and find plenty to do. There are quite a few antique shops, bookstores, and art stores to keep you busy. Stillwater frequently is the place to be for outdoor craft fairs as well. If you would like to spend some time on the water you can take a trip over to the St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., and sign up for one of their scenic river boat cruises. Whatever you do, be sure to end your day watching the sunset. You won’t regret this beautiful view over the St. Croix River.

For more information on Stillwater, please visit the following sites: http://www.discoverstillwater.com/

http://waterstreetinn.us/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=GMB

http://outinglodge.com/

http://www.stillwaterriverboats.com/

http://northernvineyards.com/