New London–The City on the Pond, Gateway to the Glacial Lakes and the one place you should not miss. This small town with New England charm offers an experience unlike others with recreation, rich history, community celebrations, fine art, shopping, dining and so much more.
If you have only one weekend to travel Minnesota, New London is an easy two hour drive from Minneapolis and an easy forty-five minutes south of St. Cloud and should be on your “A” list. An outdoor travel writer might start by saying that New London has ten lakes within ten minutes, but this small community has much more to offer. The Mill Pond, actually three connected ponds in the heart of New London, gives a unique atmosphere reminiscent of small New England towns and is part of the Crow River which meanders from lake to lake throughout southwestern Minnesota. From the center of town you can canoe, kayak or cruise upriver nearly rive miles an enjoy bass, northern or pan fishing in undisturbed primitive conditions.
New London’s rich history is still conversation at the local coffee shop and restaurants, as is the always present discussion of where to find the best fishing or hunting. At one time New London was the county seat for Monongalia County. Although the county no longer exists, the court house building is still there and a part of local stores. The streets are lined with giant oak, maple and ash trees which grace homes that date back to the 1800’s.
Downtown New London is home to many of the town’s boutique businesses and artist studios which make this area memorable. These few blocks and side streets house over two dozen businesses and fifteen odd door-fronts of artists studios giving New London a charming and home town feel.
The boutiques, décor shops, bakery and restaurants are mixed with a microbrewery, coffee shop, pottery studios, clothing stores, art galleries, bead and jewelry supply store and numerous shopping experiences.
Throughout the summer, New London hosts several community celebrations. In June, local and regional artists take part in the Willmar Area Arts Council’s Studio Hop and the Crow River Fishing Tournament attracts over one hundred avid competitors. July and August bring the New London to New Brighton Antique Car Run, Water Days and the New London Music Festival.
Neer Park, only four blocks from downtown shopping, is filled on most Friday evenings during the summer with visitors who come to see the famous Little Crow Ski Team. On other summer days kids still swim in the Mill Pond and local residents teach their children to fish from the pond’s shores.
Lodging is available at Sibley State Park, Games Lake County Park, private campgrounds and area resorts and hotels. These lodging locations make for easy access, not only to New London, but also to bike, horse and snowmobile trails, as well as to Little Crow Country Club and Glacial Ridge Winery. Also just out of town is the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center which provides extensive outdoor learning experiences throughout the year.
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