The following is only a suggested itinerary. The locations mentioned here are not exclusive to any specific day or time of day.
Start at the Winona County History Center and its newly remodeled addition which houses a diverse gift shop. You will find history books, artifacts, local art and crafts including handmade soaps, hand-knit scarves and hats, and the popular Minnesota Mitten.
Make a sweet stop at Bloedows Bakery, Winona’s famous hometown bakery since 1924, featuring original recipes for doughnuts, rolls, bread, cookies and pastries. Try a Maple Long John or one of their many frosted doughnuts-local favorites.
A few blocks further east is the Polish Museum, which showcases Polish Immigrant history. Its gift shop sells handmade Polish pottery, linens, jewelry and books.
Walk a short block to the Watkins Museum and Store which sells original Watkins products with more than 350 items including a diverse line of personal care, home care, remedies, and organic flavorings. Look for the “world’s finest vanilla,” all natural cinnamon or black pepper, or their favorite apothecary item, petro carbo salve.
Shopping takes energy. Return to historic downtown Winona for lunch and refuel for the afternoon.
Pieces of the Past, a retail shop that specializes in decorative accessories and fits such as throw rugs, table linens, baskets, quilts and wreaths is also downtown. They are also known for their country furniture made from barn wood.
Take Winona’s River Road to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, home to some of the best collections of “art inspired by water.” Works by Monet, Van Gogh, Cole, and Bierstadt can be found in this gem of a museum, located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Its gift shop sells art books, prints, folk art, note cards, apparel, jewelry and more.
Drive out of the river valley and up on the bluff top to the Garvin Heights Vineyard, Minnesota’s most scenic winery. Take home a bottle of their award winning local wine, St. Urho’s Blush Red, along with wine accessories and clothing.
Follow the scenic riverbanks and check into overnight lodging in Wabasha.
Start your visit at the Wabasha-Kellogg Tourism Center located on Main Street in Wabasha.
Walk a couple of block to the National Eagle Center. Get a true nose to beak experience during one of the three daily programs. Explore the Center and gander at the four bald eagles and golden eagle. The center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed on Tuesdays.
A few feet from the National Eagle Center is Chocolate Escape featuring gourmet chocolates and other candies. Open late Thursday through Monday.
After enjoying a little pick-me-up at Big Jo Expresso (located inside the Chocolate Escape), spend the afternoon walking around the Historic Downtown area with more than 50 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic walking maps are available at the tourism center. Stop into the local antique and boutique shops. Jewels on the River features jewelry that are truly unique pieces and made by local residents. Proud Antiques is located one block away, along with Wabasha Treasure Chest on Main Street. Turn onto Pembroke Avenue to find Buffalo Ridge Emporium, Book Cliffs, and The Common Closet. If you find yourself in Wabasha in the fall or spring, make sure to check out the newly opened Grandpa’s Barn Boutique on Second Street. This boutique features more than 80 different vendors and is open seasonally.
Travel five miles down Highway 61 to LARK Toys, one of the largest independently owned toy stores. This store has a vintage toy museum, books, mini golf, llamas, candy store, café, and a hand-carved carousel—just to name a few.
Depart for Red Wing, but as you near the city, drive up to the outlook at Memorial Park, located on Sorin’s Bluff, for a bird’s eye view of the city and Mississippi River. Overnight in Red Wing.
After breakfast at your hotel, arrive at Red Wing Stoneware Company, a great place to watch stoneware being made, take factory tours and shop some more.
Choose from several lunch options, such as the historic St. James Hotel, Maries or Liberty’s. Allow group members to go their own way this afternoon to explore the downtown district shops, including the Uffda Shop, Moments on Main, Red Wing Shoe Store & Museum and the St. James Hotel Shopping Court.
Visit Falconer Vineyard for a tour and tasting. Buy a bottle of your favorite Falconer wine and eat dinner at the bistro, featuring wood-fired pizzas. Check to see what’s happening in live theater at the historic Sheldon Theatre. Spend a second night in Red Wing.
Before leaving Red Wing, visit the Hobgoblin Stoney End Harps workshop, housed in a wonderful remodeled barn, See how the harps are made and hear how they sound.
Depart for Lanesboro, a quaint town with one street-light. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the shops of Lanesboro, which include the workshop of spoon-maker Frank Wright, who gathers local hardwoods to make beautiful and functional spoons, utensils and chopsticks. Other options include Olivia’s Attic, Lanesboro’s most unique gift and home furnishings store to the Lanesboro Arts Center, serving as a regional catalyst for artistic excellence.
Check into the hotel or disperse your group among the many bed and breakfast homes that dot the town.
Have a relaxing home-cooked breakfast as a guest of your B & B hosts or at the hotel. Take a three-hour narrated tour of Amish farms, where you’ll meet the families and be able to purchase their handmade quilts, baskets, furniture, and food products.
Depart for home with your southeastern Minnesota memories and purchases.