Olivia sits in the window of a crumbling buidling

I had fun exploring old buildings with my friends on a trip to Trempealeau.

Winona’s city limits are filled with exciting activities and potential adventures. There’s plenty of fun between the bluffs and the river, which I celebrated in my last post. But, what if you need a little time away? What if you’re looking for an opportunity to explore other regions of southeastern Minnesota?

This blog post, the first in a two-part series, will explore the nooks and crannies of the area around Winona.

Within just a thirty-minute radius, overworked students and enthusiastic adventurers alike can find plenty of opportunities for fun.

Trempealeau, WI

If you cross the bridge and venture into Wisconsin territory, you’ll find the charming village of Trempealeau, Wisconsin nestled along the river. The drive itself is beautiful, rimmed with bluffs and an assortment of apple orchards, and the town has even more to offer.

During the summer, Perrot State Park is open to campers and hikers alike. There’s also an interesting landmark nearby, known as the Jacob Melchoir House and Brewery, which is a dilapidated building from the 1850s precariously perched over a small cave system.

Just past this unique site sits the Trempealeau Hotel, a local place to grab a quick bite, book a room for the night or catch an earful of music on the back patio.

Houston, MN

Although the small town of Houston, Minnesota may not seem like more than a blip on the map, this town is an internationally renowned site for owl enthusiasts to gather every March.

A few weeks ago, Houston hosted their International Festival of Owls. This festival offers all kinds of owl-based events, like owl-themed meals, photography competitions and owl-expert guest speakers. Houston, Minnesota may just be a charming, small town throughout the year, but during the International Festival of Owls, it’s really a hoot.

La Crosse, WI

La Crosse, Wisconsin is the largest city us Winona folks can get to in thirty minutes. That means it hosts plenty of fun things to do, like the Rotary Christmas lights in December and year-round theatrical performances at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

La Crosse also has a variety of different restaurants scattered around, from Pizza Amore to 1980s, buffet-style Pizza Doctor (just kidding, there actually is a variety of dining options).

It also offers an extensive collection of parks and outdoor activities, including Grandad Bluff. Although it’s no Sugar Loaf, the view is still pretty sweet.

So, if you’re going a little stir crazy in Winona and just need a little escape, just take a thirty-minute drive. Chances are, you’ll find something splendid to explore.

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Olivia Wulf

Olivia graduated in 2014 with a BA in English and a Theater and Arts Administration minor. She is from Appleton, WI and her interests include performing improvisational theater, reading Kurt Vonnegut books, writing poetry, exploring the great outdoors, embarking on new adventures, and singing.

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