Olivia poses next to a giant statue of a bicyclist

Chilling out with “Ben Bikin,” the World’s Largest Bicyclist,  in Sparta, WI.

Last week, I provided a few options for thirty-minute adventures. Though these types of travels are perfect for a brief study break or Winona escape, what if you’re looking to put just a little more distance between yourself and that enormous final paper?

That’s where this post comes in. I’ll be exploring areas just a little further away, about fifty minutes or an hour past Winona’s city limits, and giving you a few ideas of fun activities you may find there.

So, grab your maps or smartphones and follow along as we venture further into southern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Rochester, MN

Though most people know Rochester for the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of fun activities awaiting you within this city. Not only is it home to one of the most delightful Barnes and Noble’s around, which looks like a castle and is adapted from an old theatre, Rochester also has a variety of music and performance venues in which to see a show.

There are also a number of fun restaurants and food stores, including a Trader Joe’s and the People’s Food Co-op for all you foodies out there. To top off your organic snacks, be sure to swing by Flapdoodles on your way out of town. Their homemade ice cream is as delightful as their name.

Lanesboro, MN

Lanesboro, Minnesota is known as the bed and breakfast capital of our fair state. This makes the town especially charismatic with natural parks and picturesque walking bridges scattered around the downtown.

The downtown is also populated with restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and even a professional theatre company. The Commonweal Theatre is home to about five performances each year, which are reasonably priced and charmingly nestled alongside the main street.

For all you theatre enthusiasts out there, Lanesboro is the perfect distance for an evening of fine dining and performance.

Sparta, WI

Traveling on four wheels, the bicycling capital of the United States is approximately one hour from your front door. Most travelers in Sparta, however, travel with two wheels on the Elroy-Sparta bike trail.

For you active adventurers out there, this railroad-track-turned-bike-trail offers thirty-two miles of fun. When you’ve finished your travels, be sure to stop by the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum.

Where else but Sparta, Wisconsin can you find a museum that explores both space and spokes?

So if you’re looking to travel outside of Winona, avoid those term papers and discover adventure, hop in your car and give yourself a day full of fun.

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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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