Places to Explore
With Minnesota’s local Indian population comes one of the biggest industries, gaming. There are four casinos locally and you have to be 18 to play any games. They are fun and entertaining and make a great getaway if you need one!
• Treasure Island Casino, Red Wing
• Mystic Lake Casino, Prior Lake
• Little Six, Prior Lake
• Grand Casino, Mille Lacs and Hinckley
Take the following tours to not only get some excercise, but learn something about these beautiful places.
• F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tour of St Paul – this is a do-it-yourself walk in which you can travel the same path Fitzgerald did so many years ago, not to mention see the homes he use to reside in. Click here for a printable map of the complete tour.
• Historical Walking Tours – offered by the Minnesota Historical Society, these tours are offered year round at many famous historical sites. Make sure to visit the James Hill house and take the Summit Avenue Tour to see some beautiful mansions.
• Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary – Opened in 1907, it is the oldest public wildflower garden in the nation and will be 100 years old in 2007. The park is open from April – October and boasts some of the most beautiful wildlife you will ever see!
• Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge – offers many guided tours for bird watching, full moon hikes, wildlife, summer sostice, and more. Walks begin in Bloomington. Check the calendar for dates and times available before heading out.
Historic Homes to Visit in Minneapolis and St Paul
The Ramsey House
Make a call on Anna Ramsey, wife of the first territorial governor, at St. Paul’s Ramsey House. Guides dressed as her servants may even surprise you with a tour of the Victorian home and some fresh cookies. Enjoy a glimpse into family and servant life in the 1870s. One of the nation’s best preserved Victorian-era homes, the Ramsey House features carved walnut woodwork, marble fireplaces, crystal chandeliers and many original furnishings. Pick up Victorian-era souvenirs in the Carriage House gift shop.
The Alexander Ramsey House: Furnishing a Victorian Home, (published in Minnesota History, Spring, 1995, tells more about the elaborate furnishings of the Ramsey House.
Location: 265 S. Exchange Street, St. Paul
Reservations: 651-296-8760 or 651-296-0100
James J. Hill House
Rugged stone, massive scale, fine detail and ingenious mechanical systems recall the powerful presence of James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway. Guides lead tours that help you imagine family and servant life in the Gilded Age mansion. Completed in 1891, the red sandstone residence was the setting of the public and private lives of the Hill family.
The James J. Hill House is a multiple-use historic house museum offering guided tours, educational programs, neighborhood tours, lectures, concerts, dramatic programs, art exhibitions and event rental facilities.
Location: 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul
The tiny community of Mendota is nestled in a picturesque setting where the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers meet. Here in one of the state’s oldest settlements stand four simple limestone buildings from the era when the American Fur Company operated a regional trade with the Dakota, between 1825 and 1853. The home of Henry Hastings Sibley, the company’s young regional manager, was begun in 1838. A noted monument since its period of construction, the house evolved during Sibley’s 20-some years there, as the isolated Mendota trading post became part of a bustling territory. Sibley’s office as first state governor is located in one hell of the home.
Tour three of he restored structures, including a fur company cold store from 1843 and the 1840 residence of longtime trader-turned-hotelier Jean-Baptiste Faribault. Experienced guides unravel stories of the fur-trade era, uncover memories of changes to the area and the structures, and lead visitors through the fully furnished interiors and exhibits.
Location: Sibley Memorial Hwy, near MPLS airport