Weekend Adventure in the Willmar Lakes Area
My husband and I had a free weekend, which doesn’t happen often, so we decided to go on a little adventure. One of our favorite quotes is “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” We’ve heard others talk about all the things to do around the Willmar area and just have never had time to really check it out. So off we headed.
As we came into the area, our first stop was Three Sisters Furnishings. This store has everything from gift items to specialty foods to home furnishings. We enjoyed chatting with them as we checked out and during the conversation we mentioned we were from Osakis, they shared how they have been selling one of our hometown favorites of Jacobs Lefse. They asked what our plans were next and gave us a couple of recommendations for where to hit for lunch in New London.
Onto New London to continue our bumming, the Mill Pond Mercantile was in full holiday spirit right when you walk through the door. As we wondered around, we found everything from specialty teas, jams and jellies to kitchen and home accents to clothing and jewelry for the fashion trendy. There is something for everyone’s taste here.
By now, we were getting a little hunger, so we headed over to the Middle Fork Café, to grab a quick bite. This fun little café/coffee shop was a flurry of activity with other shoppers hitting the stores. The food was just the right amount (highly recommend the wraps!)
I’ve noticed Glacial Ridge Winery before when we’ve been in the area, so since we had no rush, we stopped to check it out. Our wine tasting connoisseur’s name was Howard. As we sampled the wines, he shared the history of the winery and some of how the wines were named. We definitely found some new wine favorites and remember there’s always time for a glass of wine.
Next up is a chocolate heaven for any true chocolate lover. Mr. B’s Chocolates is amazing, their hand-molded chocolates are a slice of heaven. While picking up a pre-selected chocolate box is nice, going through and picking your own is an adventure to be savored.
In doing some car research on where to go next, we found out there was going to be a Holidaze Parade downtown. Being suckers for a good parade, off we went in search of downtown. We got in our spot and just as the parade was about to start, it started snowing. Wow, talk about getting into the holiday spirit. So many fun, bright lighted floats.
While waiting for the parade to start, we were chatting with our parade neighbors and they recommended checking out Ruff’s Wings & Sports Bar for dinner. We really like wings and this sounded right up our alley. Oh my, this place was amazing. For me, I’m all about boneless wings. They were by far the best I’ve ever had. My hubby, he is all about bone in wings. He was over the moon with how good they were. Definitely ask to sample the numerous sauces they have available. Our favs were honey BBQ and Firecracker.
Always looking for an opportunity to connect with good friends, they recommended we meet at the Foxhole Brewhouse. What a great place to relax with friends and enjoy one of their craft beers. Bring some snacks with to nibble on and enjoy a glass of Pecan Porter. The experience is worth it.
As we were ready to settle in for the night, we relied on the hominess of Country Inn & Suites. Always known for having a friendly staff, comfortable beds and amazing breakfast, it wasn’t a hard decision. Their hospitality is always five stars in our book.
Having a little time to spare after checking out and roaming around the area a little more, we stumbled across Lulu Beans Coffee House. We walked and felt right at home. They offer several options for light lunches and the variety of drink options was a wonderful. They were recently named the best Minnesota coffee house by WCCO and we can definitely see why.
If you are looking for a great local theater experience, check out The Barn Theatre. We were treated to their presentation of “Happy Hollandaise.” This fun British farce is reminiscent of Arsenic and Old Lace. Once the mayhem dies down and the mixed-up identities unscramble, the true Christmas spirit shines bright in a surprise ending, which involves transformation, forgiveness, and a beautiful new beginning. Great way to spend an afternoon.
The time has come for us to start heading home. This summer, we had the opportunity to check out O’Neil’s in Spicer and knowing the Vikings game was on, it was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before leaving the area. With lots of TV’s to watch the game on, we sat back and enjoyed a couple of their flatbread pizzas. Yummy doesn’t quite cover it!
The Willmar Lakes Area is a new favorite place of ours to escape and explore. Take the time to check out the places we went. We can’t wait to come back and explore more the area has to offer.
Guest Blogger – Dianne M.
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