Day 3, Wedding Anniversary Getaway

Sunday morning at the Canyon Road Inn — another unhurried day.

We headed upstairs to the dining room and just like the previous day, coffee and hot water for tea were waiting for us.

I have to say that our hosts were very friendly (but not “in your face” friendly). After sitting and talking with them, Patti and Hunter, the other guests arrived and we were seated at the dining room table.

Today’s breakfast was quiche, a cranberry pastry, fruit and turkey bacon. (There was also regular bacon served.)

I didn’t take any pictures so as not to interrupt the conversation that was being had around the table.  Two of the guests were in the military previously. It was nice and laid back.  And breakfast was delicious — again!

When breakfast was over, we headed back to our room and finished packing.

With hugs to Patti & Hunter, we headed on our way having decided to take our time getting home.

We drove back to Balsam Lake as we wanted to see the lake in the day time. It’s really quite a pretty lake.

Balsam Lake, Wisconsin Map

I was surprised that people still drive onto the lake for fishing and walking as the temperature had been in the 40’s the previous day.  I haven’t figured out how they determine if the lake is “frozen enough” to drive on.  I mentioned to my husband that perhaps we should try it (I thought it would make a great picture), but he was not up to the adventure.

Balsam Lake, Wisconsin

We saw this really pretty house on the lake that was for sale.

Driving through the small town, we saw the old historic Polk County Museum.

Polk County Museum, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin

Continuing our drive, we passed through a lot of farmland.

It made me sad to see a lot of dilapidated barns.  I’m sure our bad economy is taking a toll on our farmers too.

Dilapidated Barn
Dilapidated Barn in Wisconsin
Dilapidated Barn in Wisconsin

Continuing our drive, we decided to go see the St Croix Falls in Minnesota. Unfortunately, assuming these were them, they were frozen.  I’d never seen frozen falls before.  The river however was moving quite swiftly.

St Croix Falls in Minnesota

Next we meandered to Shafer, Minnesota where we saw the Franconia Sculpture Park.  Unfortunately, the ground was rather wet so we did not walk around much. Lots of, um, interesting sculptures though.

Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, Mn
Sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park
Sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park
Sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park
Sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park

These are just a few of the pictures I took.

Meandering, again, through the backcountry, we ran into a small quaint town called Oceola, Wisconsin.  It was break time — cocoa for me, coffee for my husband.

Driving into the town made me feel like I was in Cannon Beach, Oregon (although not on the water).  The town had an “upscale” quaint town feel to it.

Oceola, Wisconsin

We stopped into a vibrant coffee shop. There were a lot of local items one could buy.  The music they were playing was really nice.  It reminded me of being in college.  Hmmm … wonder what station and artist it is?

What a surprise!  A local artist by the name of Jake Beck was sitting there playing his guitar.  He had a wonderful crisp voice that made listening to his music soothing.  I leaned over to my husband and said “hey, you can do that.”  His response was “I don’t have a guitar.”  Then I said “It will be here soon from Seattle.”

Jake Beck invitation

This town is really lovely although I had quite a surprise as we continued driving — the downtown is only about 3-4 blocks long.  They advertise that in the summers there is live music so we’ll have to make our way over there some time.

Oceola, Wisconsin

Our weekend wedding anniversary came to an end.  There will be another — just not a 30th.

The Canyon Road Inn was the perfect place for us to go.  I think it would be a great place for a family reunion.  At least on my husband’s side since he has fewer relatives. Trails, water, great hosts — simple living.



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Day 2, Wedding Anniversary Dinner

The afternoon brought us back to the Canyon Road Inn where we sat in the living area and watched the sun pour through the glass sliding doors.  It was peaceful. My husband and I read for awhile.  Two more couples arrived and checked in. Both of them were from the Twin Cities area.

Before long, our stomachs started to grumble so we went and looked through the restaurant menus to find a place for dinner.  We decided on a restaurant called Paradise Landing which is in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin.

Paradise Landing, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin
Paradise Landing, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin

When we first entered, a warm fireplace greeted us.

We were seated next to the window and had a view of Balsam Lake.  The restaurant has a cabin feeling to it but with vaulted ceilings.

After being seated, we were surprised to have a visitor — one of my husband’s co-workers was at the same restaurant.  What a small world.

I ordered a lemonade, green salad and roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans.  It was all good.  Especially the bread!

With our bellies fed and warm, we headed back to the Canyon Road Inn for a peaceful evening.


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30 Year Wedding Anniversary Getaway, Day 1

For our 30 year wedding anniversary we decided to take a mini weekend getaway that was within driving distance of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Searching the web, we found a bed and breakfast called the Canyon Road Inn which is located in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, only 1.5 hours driving time.  This was a great find!

Nestled among acreage of trees and on a lake, the atmosphere was relaxing and just what we were looking for.

Canyon Road Inn, Turtle Lake, WI

The weather cooperated with us beautifully while we were there with the sun shining and the sound of birds in the air.  The property has many outdoor places where one can (in warmer weather) sit and read a good book, enjoy nature or canoe.  It also has hiking trails in the area.

Canyon Road Inn, Turtle Lake, Wisconsin

A small lake in front of the Inn sits frozen waiting for the spring thaw. Fishing, canoeing, row boating await spring’s arrival.  The lake is only about 15 feet deep.

When we checked in, we were warmly greeted by Patti & Hunter, our hosts. Then we were shown the common areas which were well stocked with books, movies, dvd’s, even snowshoes.

A common small kitchen is provided where you can get water, pop, coffee, popcorn or simply use it to store anything you might need refrigerated.  It also was supplied with hot cocoa and tea.

Our bedroom suite was nice and had it’s own private bathroom along with a large jacuzzi corner tub.  Freshly baked cookies were waiting for us.

Soft, very soft, luxurious robes, shampoo, soap and bath salts were provided. The room also had an iHome where we could dock our iPod, a Keurig coffee/tea maker and a warm comfortable king size bed with crispy white 600 count sheets. The picture on the wall tells it all.  R-e-l-a-x-i-n-g

Outside the sliding glass door, there was a bench where one could sit, drink a cocoa and meditate peacefully.

Our bedroom was tastefully decorated.  Every time I turned around, I saw glimpses of the “theme” for the room.

Fishing, anyone?

After settling in, we went upstairs where our hosts had an array of menus from several of the local restaurants.

We chose a restaurant called The Tower House which is located in an old Victorian House in Cumberland, Wisconsin.

The Tower House Restaurant, Cumberland, Wi
The Tower House Restaurant, Cumberland, Wi

I was intrigued by the woodwork in this old house.

Tile around fireplace

The tile around the fireplace matched the stained glass around the window.

It was very beautiful and the restaurant was tiptoe quiet.

For dinner, I had a green salad from the buffet, a homemade roll and raisin & cheese ravioli (a combination I never would have tried).  The ravioli sauce had a bit of a bite to it.  It was really good and flavored with basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.  The ravioli was homemade and I enjoyed the raisin flavor.

Homemade Roll
Cheese and Raisin Ravioli

After dinner, we headed back to the bed and breakfast as the sun went down over the lake.

It had been a good evening.  So restful and peaceful.



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Day 2, Wedding Anniversary Getaway

After a good night’s sleep, we went upstairs and our hosts, Patti & Hunter, had the coffee pot and hot water ready for us.  We talked for a little while as we waited for the other guests to arrive.  The table was already set for breakfast.

Scrambled eggs, Cinnamon French Toast Strata and Oatmeal Banana Muffins with Jam were served along with fresh strawberries, juice, coffee, and tea.  It was lovely, simple and there was plenty of food for all.

The Cinnamon French Toast Strata was so moist.  I told Patti she really needs to have a blog where she posts her recipes.

Cinnamon French Toast Strata


Oatmeal Banana Muffins with Jam

After a leisure breakfast (no rushing here), we headed out for the day with no plans whatsoever.

Driving through the countryside, I said out loud “this would be a good place to ride a bike.”  The setting was so peaceful.  While driving, we ran across a couple of interesting items next to the road.

Dinosaur Mailbox

This was so funny.  I almost missed it except that the “green” stood out so much.

Old Windmill

As we continued on, I remembered that there was a Seventh-day Adventist church somewhere nearby and decided to attend the service.  Not knowing where we were and with no cell coverage, we guessed our way to a town called Rice Lake.  We expected it to be small but it was a fairly large town of over 8400 people.

Although late, and not wearing “proper” church clothes, we quickly found a seat in the back.

Rice Lake, Wisconsin Seventh-day Adventist Church

What a surprise to see that the church was full.  Lots of people and lots of children.  After the service, the people were genuinely happy to have us there.  No judgment about wearing jeans to church — lots of people were “just like us.”

I’m finding that people in the country live more simple lifestyles and they have an acceptance of people regardless of their outward appearance.  I see this more and more as I continue my search in the Minnesota area for a “home” church.

I think I could be happy at this little church — a wee bit too far but it has a lot going for it.

When we left the church building, we noticed that they have a school that are on the same grounds.

Rice Lake, Wisconsin Seventh-day Adventist School

After the church service, we drove around the town of Rice Lake, population approximately 8400.  It’s a very large small town.

Rice Lake, Wisconsin

Pulling into a road that led to the lake, we came across a World War II memorial.

Rice Lake, Wi World War Two Memorial

The pavers on the ground were memorials for different groups and individuals.

Ronald Wirsbinski, Memorial

Donald F Hanson, Colonel Infantry
Barron Co Chapter 52 Memorial
Warren R Milliman, Memorial

When a picture is attached to the name, it feels more personal to me.

George J Thill, Frank L Thill, Memorial

So many died.  So many still die.

World War II Memorial, Rice Lake, Wisconsin

A constant reminder that we live in an imperfect world.



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