Friday, May 28, 2010
Day Trip: Stillwater
One thing that I've loved since I was a wee girl is taking fun day trips to small, quaint, offbeat, or even blatantly touristy town. My dad always loved piling my mom and I into the car, picking a direction,and just driving until we found someplace worth checking out. My husband is a lot less spontaneous in that respect, he needs at least some idea of where we'll end up - a goal if you will. And since marriage is all about compromise, I oblige (most of the time) and don't insist on too much random wandering.
The goal for today's day trip was to visit Stillwater Minnesota and check out the new yarn store in town - Darn Knit Anyway. I'd heard a few rumblings that it was worth checking out and since I'd never been to Stillwater I thought we could make a fun day of it. When you pull into town - at least from the direction we came - Darn Knit Anyway is one of the first places you hit. Nestled in an historic brick building, the shop's modern style is a nice contrast to some of the quaint surrounding ships.
More than just a yarn shop, Darn Knit also carries handmade gifts (I recognized the work of several Etsy artists), fabric, and sewing supplies. The yarn selection isn't huge and the vegan selection is teeny tiny. I'm always hoping for something new and exciting, something that can't be had at my lys, but I was disappointed with the selection. They carry some very nice fabric - lots of modern prints and Amy Butler - but nothing that you can't find at Treadle or Crafty Planet. Overall, I'd visit the shop again on another trip to town, but I wouldn't drive out there just for that shop in particular. The shop girl was great though, she was able to read the customers, giving lots of help and attention to one lady who needed it and letting me shop in peace but making it clear she was available to help if I needed it.
Our nest stop on our stroll down the main drag was The Chef's Gallery - a huge and awesome kitchen supply store that tempts the eye with everything from baking supplies to grilling tools, and everything in between. We didn't end up buying anything there, but it was just fun for the eye candy.
A short walk down from The Chef's Gallery, we found my favorite stop of the day - The Stillwater Olive Oil Company. I'm a huge olive oil fan and could practically live on fresh bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil and hummus so I was in heaven. The shop is set up so that you can easily help yourself to samples of every olive oil and balsamic vinegar they carry. Shane and I tried tons of varieties, some of my favorites were the blood orange balsamic vinegar, garlic olive oil, and blood orange olive oil. I ended up buying a medium sized bottle of the garlic oil and can't wait to dip it with some crusty bread or drizzle some on pasta - yum!
If you love antiques, then Stillwater is the town for you - there are countless antique malls and shops that could easily take hours to peruse through. We only stopped in one, a huge antique mall that was jam packed with treasures. Luckily for me, Shane shares my love of poling around dusty shelves for odd treasures and even found the best thing in the shop - an Ewok glass! I'm not a huge Star Wars geek, but Ewoks are adorable so I just had to have the glass.
By now, we were starting to get hungry for lunch so we stopped at our best bet for good vegan chow - the local natural foods co-op. I had checked the town out on Veg Guide like a good little vegan and wasn't impressed with the few restaurant choices. But luckily, the River Market Community Co-op was wonderful, much more vegan friendly that even some in the twin cities. The vegan ready to eat food had bright orange "vegan" stickers on them - love that! I got a delicious bean, veggie, and salsa burrito and Shane got a hummus veggie wrap.
Now that we were done with the main part of town, it was time to hunt down a quilt shop. I'm always on the lookout for fun fabric for my shop, so little fabric shop trips are a must. Charlotte's Quilting Web - nestled in a typical suburban strip mall - is a small shop but has a nice selection of different styles of fabric. A traditional quilter would be just as happy as someone looking for a something a little more bold. I settled on an adorable bike print and a vibrant coordinating fat quarter.
So if you're a Minnesotan, consider a nice day or weekend trip to Stillwater, being a tourist in your own state can be a lot of fun on the cheap! I'd love to hear about the fun places you guys like to visit for day trips, comment and let me know!
Posted by VeganCraftastic at 7:49 PM