Stillwater: a guide to meandering success

Rachel and I had a Friday Funday reunion to celebrate MEA weekend, where I had the day off from work.

What did we do for our Friday Funday adventures?  We went on a mini roadtrip to Stillwater.  It was a day of quaint relaxation near the river.

I had been to Stillwater a handful of times before, but never just to go to Stillwater.  I went to my friend Allie’s beautiful wedding there a few years ago.  I once went on a volunteer appreciation boat cruise on the St. Croix River.  My biggest memory from that Stillwater experience is how the lift bridge got stuck and so we were stuck on our boat, and I was sad because I had to work early the next morning.

Armed with recommendations from Brooke, Rachel and I set out for our day of fun with no particular agenda.

We had lunch at Nacho Mama.  I would recommend it to a friend.  In fact, we saw friends there – a family from our church was also celebrating MEA in Stillwater.  Apparently it is the thing to do.  Who knew?  Rachel and I shared the Mexican street tacos.  Having spent a small amount of time in the Mexico City Airport, I can assure you that these tacos are quite authentic.  We absolutely felt like we were on a Mexican street.

Next up: meander Main Street.  We popped into cutely named shops and enjoyed the crisp fall air and sunshine. 

After this, we found a bathroom in a shady gas station and sat by the river.  Then Rachel consulted her watch and we scurried away to the main event of the day: a trolley ride!  Yes, we went on the historic trolley tour of Stillwater.  We learned a lot about the rich and famous when Stillwater was in its logging heyday.  We also made mental notes of things to google after the trolley ride was over. 

It should be noted that if you are going to Stillwater, you cannot skateboard within a certain number of blocks of main street (or something like that).  After just having viewed Footloose, we are fairly certain that Stillwater and Bomont are governed by the same people.  Thankfully we ended up leaving our skateboards at home during our visit, so this was a non-issue for us.

Back to the trolley ride.  It should also be noted that if there are two trolleys in front of the ticket booth, you should not just assume that you can get on any old trolley.  You may end up with a group of teenage German students who kick you off their trolley.  They must not have realized how fluent I am in German.  We could have been good friends.  Their loss.

After the trolley ride, we moved the car to a new parking spot since we were closing in on the 3 hour parking limit.

Time for ice cream.  Have you heard of Nelson’s?  Because that is the place to go for ice cream.  Well, that is, if you like delicious ice cream in giant quantities for cheap prices.  If that really isn’t your thing, then you probably won’t like it.  We were thankful to find our friends from church enjoying ice cream so they could walk us through the need-to-know information, such as “You can probably share the kiddie size and have more than enough, but we won’t judge you if you each get your own.” 

Let’s back up.  Getting to the ice cream place was an adventure in and of itself.  I pulled up the cross streets in my email from Brooke.  We walked to the street it was on, and thought, “hmm… I wonder how to get there from here!?”  Naturally the solution was the use the GPS on our phones to navigate our way to sugary goodness.  I did not tell my phone I was traveling by foot, so first it had me going in a circle around the block.  I found this to be odd.  Then I realized we were on a one-way, and while walking against the flow of traffic was cool, driving (which my phone just assumed we were doing) would not have been quite as ok.  After straightening things out, we saw it was just a few blocks away, and we set out.  We did not consider that it would be an intense uphill climb for many many blocks.  Thankfully, we overcame the odds and eventually made it to our destination.  We took turns pulling one another uphill.  We considered drinking water from a fountain in someone’s yard.  We also did our best to ruin the date of the people ahead of us on the ascent.  They definitely did not appreciate us being behind them, and did their best to distance themselves from us, including turning off the path long enough for us to pass them before they continued on.  They were probably really disappointed when we stopped to admire this bed and breakfast we learned about on our trolley tour.  They were probably more disappointed when we rested against the fence of said bed and breakfast.  It is not our fault they have found love; or like (there is no way to know, as we did not talk to them) and were on a date.

Back to the ice cream – yum!

We concluded our day with a brief study on the levelness of homes built on hills.  Then we went home.  Was our day  a success?  Yes, I think so. 

Since then, we have purchased tickets for our next Friday Funday.  I will tell you this much: it is going to be good.

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