Take a weekend off in Northfield


Sometimes you just need to get away for a couple days. We all do. Break the routine and go on a weekend adventure to Northfield, MN, about 40 minutes south on Interstate 35 off of exit 69: Home of Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges, The Defeat of Jesse James Days, and one of the better main streets in Minnesota.

There are your typical hotels in Northfield, The AmericInn, Country Inn, and even a Motel 8. But a place with a ton of character and located right Division Street is The Archer House River Inn. It first opened up on August 23, 1877, and has been standing for almost 140 years. With rooms ranging from a single queen bed with a small bath to large executive suites this hotel can accommodate groups of any size, and throughout the building are shops and dining establishments to explore.

Within the Archer House River Inn is a great new addition for food if you are a Barbecue fan. Smoqehouse is a locally owned restaurant and all their meat is smoked in-house. You might even find the owner Andy Kubes behind the counter in this fast casual style restaurant. With a great base menu with such fantastic food as their famous Brisket Burger, a great jerk chicken, poutine, and hand cut fries, you can’t go wrong!

Just down the street and around the corner from the Archer House is one of Northfield’s staples. The Tavern of Northfield has been slinging food to the masses of Northfield since it opened in 1984. Located in the bottom of the Archer house you will find a menu that will please just about anyone. All food is made from scratch, and all their bread is baked in-house. And if you’re a breakfast fan this is the place for you: the Tavern Special, with two eggs, choice of meat, and toast for only $4.75, you won’t go away disappointed.

As you continue down Division Street you will come across High Noon Ink Tattoos and Art Gallery. Go on in and get that tattoo you have always wanted with the burning skull or the larger than life unicorn back piece. But you don’t have to want something permanent to enjoy the shop: With three artists, one of which is owner Corrie Erickson, featured in an art gallery in the front of the shop, you’re bound to leave with some sort of art.

Just down the block on Division Street you’ll find one of the brightest and happiest shops. Run by local Suzy Taggart, the first line of their “About” section on their website says it all, “Our mission is to keep our customers smiling with our witty products, bright colors, inspiring displays, and fabulous customer service.” Tagg 2 is a great shop for finding those unique and original pieces that will make people ask “Where did you get this?”

Just go up and across the street and you’ll soon run across the local coffee shop Goodbye Blue Monday. Swing through to grab a baked good and a great cup of coffee, a cappuccino, or a smoothie if the day is a bit on the warm side.

Maybe with all this walking you realize that your shoes aren’t what they should be. Having held the corner of Division Street and 4th Street since 1977, The Rare Pair is a local favorite. Specializing in men and women’s footwear this shop also has unique clothing and other accessories.

Just up the block from The Rare Pair is a great sandwich shop. Open since 1991, Hogan Brothers servers hot hoagies on fresh baked cracked wheat bread that is (common theme) baked in-house. Soup, muffins, cookies, root beer, 12 flavors of ice cream and beer on tap, this is a fantastic place to take a break and grab a drink and a bite to eat. You can even get a free 1/2 hoagie on your birthday!

These are just a few of the hidden gems in Northfield! So take a break from routine and head on down for a weekend. If you make it the weekend of Labor Day you can see and participate in all the great activities for The Defeat of Jesse James Days. And be sure to do some exploring on your own while you’re there: There is much more to find and see than what was mentioned here.

Enjoy your weekend adventure.