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Day trip to Northfield: Where to eat and shop – TwinCities.com |

Day trip to Northfield: Where to eat and shop – TwinCities.com

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Northfield, in the Cannon River Valley, is not only a destination as a college town. The home to both St. Olaf and Carleton colleges, the city just 40 miles south of the Twin Cities is ideal for a day trip, offering plenty of options to shop, eat and play.

When it comes to shopping, the downtown retail district spanning three blocks along Division Street is home to several unique, locally owned boutiques offering a variety of fashion, gift and home items. Antiques and art lovers also will find themselves with plenty of options.

SHOPPING: DIVISION STREET WEST

Start on Division Street at the historic Archer House River Inn, where Paper Paper Petalum boasts one of the best selections of gifts around, from cookbooks and kitchen gadgets to Abdallah chocolates and other Minnesota-made finds. The spot is also a place to score quality Scandinavian gift items. Also at the inn, A Bag Lady women’s boutique stocks handbags galore as well as other fashion accessories such as jewelry and hats. Fashion apparel also fills the store racks.

On the same block, Club Tiki Boutique carries bold statement pieces and isn’t afraid of bling. The spot also carries a sizable selection of stainless steel rings, turquoise pieces and other jewelry for men and women.

Art lovers won’t want to miss Northfield Arts Guild, where visitors can shop from a seasonal rotating gallery as well as from the gift shop where handmade pieces made by local and regional artists abound in the form of jewelry, ceramics, wire sculptures and more. Walk down the alley near the artists guild toward the river to find Spare Room, a place to shop a mix of vintage and new home and office pieces, clothing and gifts.

Next make your way to Content bookstore featuring reading materials in a range of genres, as well as other gift-worthy items such as puzzles and kids’ toys. At the end of the block, The Measuring Cup kitchen store spotlights quality kitchen wares and gadgets. Grab everything from colorful aprons to grill essentials and Wüsthof cutlery to Le Creuset cookware.

On the corner of Fourth and Division streets, The Museum Store, which is connected to the Northfield Historical Society, offers books about Northfield’s history as well as local memorabilia. Continue to Antiques of Northfield, offering an eclectic mix of everything from hobby items and home pieces to clothing and jewelry. The store claims to host the world’s largest collection of 1950s TV lamps on public display. But that doesn’t overshadow another wow factor: a sizable selection of collectible ceramic and porcelain figurines that line the upper shelves throughout the store. Vintage and antique toy trucks, cameras and radios as well as stylish clothing and jewelry are also among the standouts.

Next door, MakeShift Accessories, a studio, gallery and shop all in one, offers recycled, salvaged and antique materials that breathe new life in the form of wearable pieces.

Near the end of the block, you’ll find the clothing chain Ragstock, which has long been popular for its affordable new and used pieces. On the corner, the multilevel Bierman’s Home Furnishings is all about quality pieces for the home. The sizable inventory covers a range, from dining to bedroom sets, not to mention couches, sofas and home decor. Standouts include stylish pieces with midcentury flair.

Past Fifth Street, fashionistas won’t want to miss Mainstream Boutique offering one of the best-curated selections of chic women’s clothing in all of downtown. Brands are quality yet affordable. Standouts include Tribal, Staccato, Clara Sun Woo and J Brand jeans.

SHOPPING: DIVISION STREET EAST

Cross Division Street, where more places to shop apparel, home and gifts await on the east side of the street. Visitors may have trouble deciding if they want to shop gifts for others or keep the finds all to themselves at The Goat and RP2, housed in the same storefront. The Goat — in the front of the store — carries chic, handmade and vintage goods ranging from jewelry to art. RP2 — in the back — features clearance clothing and accessories and is the discount store version of its older sibling The Rare Pair just down the street.

Continue to Vintage etc. to shop a wide array of vintage goods. Home pieces, clothing — even wedding dresses — as well as records, games and books are among the many categories covered here. Standouts include collectibles such as LEGO minifigures, game cartridges and vintage lunch boxes. On the same block, Monarch gracefully flutters out a quality assortment of jewelry, aromatherapy, bath and body products, natural stones and more. Top picks include Voluspa diffusers, Zum body and cleaning soaps and unique jewelry.

On the corner of Fourth and Division streets, The Rare Pair emphasizes quality, durability and comfort while not compromising on style in its clothing, shoes and other fashion accessories for men and women. Pieces are dapper and pretty but also practical. At the time of publication, The Sketchy Artist was getting ready to move into new digs across the street. Like the former location, expect an eclectic assortment of supplies to inspire the inner artist. Gift items such as Japanese pottery, candy and drinks are also part of the lineup.

SHOPPING: OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Beyond Division Street, more shops await. Off Fourth just past The Museum Store and Northfield Historical Society Museum, Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars spotlights olive oils, red and white balsamics and specialty vinegars in about every flavor combination under the sun.

Also off the beaten path, The Secret Attic gift and clothing shop is a destination to find an array of items throughout themed rooms. One room offers baking supplies, including cookie cutters galore, while other nooks house kids’ toys, home decor pieces, women’s clothing and accessories.

Another detour from Division Street that’s worth a stop is Marketplace @ 416, highlighting some of the most design-savvy vintage, upcycled, handmade and new home decor and furniture pieces around. Speaking of home decor pieces, Forget-Me-Not Florist off Water Street is not only a stop for flowers and plants, but artsy vases and cards, too. Abdallah chocolates and some gift items can also be found.

For fashion, The Thrifty Parrot consignment shop off Water Street is a place to discover men’s and women’s clothing and fashion accessories. There’s also the nonprofit Clothes Closet run by the Community Action Center of Northfield, offering discounted clothing and goods to those in the Northfield area.

SHOPPING: SPECIALTY

Downtown Northfield is also home to specialty shops. Northfield Yarn carries yarn for your DIY project, as well as ready-to-wear pieces such as hats, scarves and shawls. Downtown Northfield is also home to Vision for high-end, stylish glasses and sunglasses. Last but not least in the specialty fashion department, jewelry lovers can stop in Jenkins Jewelers on Division Street for fine jewelry as well as quality watches.

Health and wellness buffs can head to Fine Fettle, featuring essentials such as Himalayan salt rock crystals, turmeric elixirs and essential oils. To be at one with nature, green thumb enthusiasts may want to pay a visit to Eco Gardens for annuals, perennials, shrubs and tools for your garden needs.

For outdoor and sports lovers, check out Tom’s Downtown Bicycles, a full-service bike shop with a top-notch selection of bikes and gear such as helmets, clothes and shoes. Champion Sports Northfield also fills that athletic niche with general sporting goods for field and ice activities.

Downtown Northfield has items for animal lovers, too. In the Dog House is not only a grooming salon, doggy day care and training center. It also offers a retail component of doggy clothes, toys, bowls and other accessories for your furry friend. Or, shop Aquatic Pets Plus for your tropical fish, reptile and other aquatic needs.

Gaming enthusiasts have Games N’ Geek, carrying everything from board to video games, as well as Echo DVD Games, a place to buy, sell and trade CDs, records, DVDs, and games.

EAT DRINK

When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, there are plenty of options in downtown Northfield. Highlights include some of the trendier places around town. The fast-casual SMOQUEHOUSE packs a crowd for its menu that includes soups, salads and sandwiches.

Tandem Bagels is also a happening scene, where customers find a perch and stay for a while. The spot offers made-from-scratch bagels with house cream cheeses or sandwich fillings. Baked goods and coffee are also part of the lineup.

Locals like to flock to The HideAway Coffeehouse and Wine Bar for its various coffee drinks, sake cocktails and wine. There are also soups, salads, paninis and sandwiches here as well as fancier fare such as ceviche and cheese platters. Another hopping spot is Basil’s Pizza, offering specialty pizza with thin or thick crusts as well as pastas.

For dessert, the cute and contemporary Cakewalk is as popular for its nitro cold brew and other coffee as it is for its cupcakes and other desserts.

Downtown also has plenty of places to grab a sandwich, burger, pizza or other casual fare. Tavern of Northfield draws regulars and newcomers alike for its classic tavern vibe, hearty, wide-ranging menu and patio with a primo view of the Cannon River. A few feet away, the British-style pub Contented Cow offers plenty of nooks and crannies for seating and, on warm weather days, a multi-tiered outdoor area overlooking the water. A no-fuss menu of pub grub as well as live music add to the relaxing vibe.

BL Pizza offers a casual option for those craving pizza, wings, pasta and subs. For burgers, head to Froggy Bottoms River Pub with its quaint patio overlooking the water. Wraps, sandwiches, pastas and other entrees are also available. The order-at-the-counter spot Hogan Brothers packs a crowd for its hoagies served with a special sauce made in house. Coffee, espresso and ice cream are also among the offerings.

For ethnic fare, Chapati in Archer House is a local favorite for its authentic Indian dishes. The menu is varied and includes tandoori, curries and vegetarian options. In addition to a la carte items, a lunch buffet is featured daily. The most recent addition to the downtown dining set is Kahlo, a taqueria spotlighting tacos and burritos. For Chinese fare, Mandarin Garden fills that craving.

Bakeries, coffee shops and wine bars also abound. Goodbye Blue Monday Coffeehouse is a  spacious place to gather around while sipping coffee, lattes, teas and eating baked goods such as scones, muffins and croissants. The more quaint Quality Bakery and Coffee Shop is not only a place to get java, but delicacies such as breads, sandwiches, cookies and cupcakes.

While not downtown, it’s worth mentioning one of Northfield’s well-known eating establishments. Ole Store Restaurant just outside of the main strip balances classic neighborhood charm with a contemporary dining experience. Entrees range from casual to fancy depending on if you’re drawing from the breakfast, lunch or dinner menu. Also outside of the main drag, Quarterback Club is a casual spot serving up things like soups, burgers, fish, chicken and ribs.

Northfield is also home to some breweries and a distillery. Tanzenwald Brewing CompanyImminent Brewing and Loon Liquor Company distillery are all in or near downtown. (Note that some of these places have limited hours, so check accordingly.) Also nearby, and worth checking out, is Keepsake Cidery in Dundas.

PLAY

A point of pride in Northfield is when residents foiled a bank robbery attempt by Jesse James and his gang in 1876. Today, you can travel back in time at the fully restored bank that includes the original vault door and other period pieces at the First National Bank of Northfield Historic Site, which is part of the Northfield Historical Society Museum. And if you’re ever in town the weekend after Labor Day, each year Northfield holds “The Defeat of Jesse James Days” to mark the occasion.

Another popular gathering is Riverwalk Market Fair, held every Saturday from June to mid-October spotlighting arts, crafts and a farmers’ market. Winter Walk which is the first Thursday in December, offers visitors candlelit shopping, dining, carolers and sleigh rides.

DIRECTORY

SHOPPING

  • Antiques of Northfield, 416 Division St.; 507-664-9599
  • Aquatic Pets Plus, 414 Division St., 507-663-1096
  • A Bag Lady, 212 Division St.; 507-664-9606
  • Bierman’s Home Furnishings, 420 Division St.; 507-645-9272
  • Champion Sports Northfield, 407 Division St.; 507-645-8229
  • Clothes Closet, 600 Water St.; 507-645-1389
  • Content, 314 Division St., 507-222-9238
  • Club Tiki Boutique, 220 Division St.; 844-464-8454
  • Eco Gardens, 600 Division St.; 507-645-7078
  • Fine Fettle, 16 Bridge Square; 952-240-0469
  • Echo DVDs Games, 409 Division St.; 507-645-4095
  • Forget-Me-Not Florist, 501 S. Water St.; 507-645-4956
  • Games N’ Geek, 306 Division St. S., 507-213-7832
  • In the Dog House, 518 Division St.; 507-645-2250
  • Jenkins Jewelers, 313 Division St. S.; 507-645-6502
  • Mainstream Boutique, 506 Division St.; 507-366-6786
  • MakeShift Accessories, 418 Division St., 612-353-8862
  • Marketplace @ 416, 416 Grastvedt Lane; 507-664-1416
  • Monarch, 405 Division St.; 507-663-7720
  • Northfield Arts Guild, 304 Division St.; 507-645-8877
  • Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars, 18 Bridge Square; 507-645-4008
  • Northfield Yarn, 314 Division St.; 507-645-1330
  • Paper Petalum, 212 Division St.; 507-663-0565
  • Ragstock, 420 Division St.; 507-645- 9081
  • Spare Room, 310 Division St.; 507-645-9100
  • The Goat and RP2, 413 Division St.; 507-366-1264
  • The Measuring Cup, 320 Division St; 507-664-9152
  • The Museum Store, 408 Division St.; 507-645-9268
  • The Rare Pair, 401 Division St.; 507-645-4257
  • The Secret Attic, 113 Fifth St. W.; 507-645-6510
  • The Sketchy Artist, 315 Division St., 507-645-2811
  • The Thrifty Parrot, 507 Water St.; 507-645-1685
  • Tom’s Downtown Bicycles, 321 Division St.; 507-786-9191
  • Vintage etc., 411 Division St.; 507-366-4411
  • Vision, 425 Division St., 507-366-2020

EAT DRINK 

  • BL Pizza, 514 Division St.; 507-663-0390
  • Basil’s Pizza, 301 S. Water St.; 507-663-1248
  • Cakewalk, 303 Division St. S.; 507-786-9255
  • Chapati, 214 Division St.; 507-645-2462
  • Contented Cow, 302 Division St.
  • Froggy Bottoms River Pub, 307 Water St. S.; 507-301-3611
  • Goodbye Blue Monday Coffee House, 319 Division St.; 507-663-6188
  • Hogan Brothers, 415 Division St. S.; 507-645-6653
  • Imminent Brewing, 519 Division St.; 507-646-2327
  • Kahlo, 306 Division St.; 507-321-1884
  • Loon Liquor Company, 1325 Armstrong Road; 507-403-0178
  • Keepsake Cidery, 4609 135th St. E., Dundas, Minn.; 413-552-8872
  • Mandarin Garden, 107 E. Fourth St.; 507-645-7101
  • Quality Bakery and Coffee Shop, 410 Division St.; 507-645-8392
  • Quarterback Club, 116 Third St. W.; 507-645-7886
  • SMOQUEHOUSE, 212 Division St.; 507-664-1008
  • Tandem Bagels, 317 Division St.; 507-786-9977
  • Tavern of Northfield, 212 Division St.; 507-663-0342
  • Tanzenwald Brewing Company, 103 Water St. N.; 507-366-2337
  • The HideAway Coffeehouse and Winebar, 600 Division St.; 507-645-7078
  • The Ole Store Restaurant, 1011 St. Olaf Ave.; 507-786-9400

PLAY  

  • Northfield Historical Society Museum, 408 Division St.; 507-645-9268
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