Take Two: Find the Right Bed and Breakfast for You in Twin Cities, Minnesota

Finding a vacation spot often comes down to a choice between two opposing ideas: should we stay at a bed and breakfast in the city or the country?  Or stay in a Twin Cities hotel or bed and breakfast? Should we stay somewhere modern or historic? Will we go bargain hunting or bird watching? The Twin Cities area between the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers in Minnesota is home to the two metropolitan cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis—a fitting place to explore the best of both worlds. A bed and breakfast will indulge your dual nature, combining urban and rural settings, shared and private spaces, the factual and the fictional sides of history, and even the natural and the supernatural.

Urban and Rural
nicolletislandExperience nature with an urban flavor in the bright, clean city of Minneapolis. The Nicollett Island Inn  is built in a park facing the Mississippi River. In addition to a tranquil setting, the inn is a short walk to shops, restaurants and scenic tours in the Minneapolis Riverfront District and a short drive from the state-of-the-art Guthrie Theatre—a location that beats the major hotel chains in the area. Amenities like Egyptian cotton sheets, Select Comfort Sleep Number beds, robes and plasma screen TVs let guests enjoy all the comforts of the city inside their room without the outside noise.

Shared and Private 
moondanceroomThe Moondance Inn takes up two lots in Red Wing, a historic town one hour from the Twin Cities. Guests of the Italianate limestone home can stay for a home-cooked breakfast on weekdays and a full buffet breakfast on weekends or rent the neighboring 1904 Victorian Guest House and bring their own food. Both are within walking distance of the shops and restaurants in the Downtown area. Red Wing was known for its pottery from the 19th Century until the plant closed in 1967, making its remaining pieces something to look for while searching the antique shops scattered between the Downtown and Historic Pottery Districts. People who like treasure hunting might also like fishing in the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin or bird watching along the nearby 19.7-mile Cannon Valley Bicycle Trail.

hungrypointJust outside Red Wing, the Hungry Point Inn in Welch has guest rooms within a New England-style home and a private log cottage with its own living room and kitchen. Both options include private rain showers, vintage soaking or whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and a candlelight breakfast. The country road leading to the horse ranches of Hungry Point Farm are lined with colonial and relocated log homes—a secluded retreat from Red Wing.

Fact and Fiction
waterstreetThe city of Stillwater near St. Paul is known for its vintage homes and views of the St. Croix River.  The innkeepers of the Water Street Inn  worked with the Minnesota Historical Society and National Trust to restore original touches to the former Lumber Exchange Building like the tin ceiling and furnishings like the antique bar and registration desk. Today the walk-in vaults that housed the wealth of the lumber families contain bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, but the feel of the original building remains intact. Toast to the past and the future with a pint of beer at Charlie’s Irish Pub or rent out the ballroom for a wedding or other special event.

rivertowninnStillwater’s Rivertown Inn is a dramatic setting for a love story. Feel like Agatha Christie aboard the Orient Express or Oscar Wilde in a gentleman’s library in a country estate—each of the rooms in this Victorian-era home is richly decorated and named for a great writer of 19th Century. There are fainting couches for swooning and balconies for moonlight serenades or midnight escapes. For breakfast, Chef Ray Wyatt blends French classic and Mediterranean cuisine and offers cooking classes for guests to fill the pages of their recipe books.

Natural and Supernatural
psychicatthayersThe natural meets the supernatural at the Thayer’s Historic Bed and Breakfast in Annandale. Psychic innkeeper Sharon Gammell and her cats share their Old West Victorian home with its previous owners and their cats, whose ghostly presence can be felt, heard and photographed throughout the house. As an extra amenity, Ms. Gammell offers ghost hunting lessons and psychic readings. For a living historical encounter, the Minnesota Pioneer Park is within a mile of the inn. Annandale is also close to St. Cloud, which offers hiking and swimming in the granite quarries and strolls through the beautiful Munsinger and Clemens flower gardens planted along the banks of the Mississippi River in the 1930s.

Be sure to stop at the Mall of America for last-minute shopping, souvenirs and a ride on a roller coaster. The Nickelodeon Universe amusement park is built inside the mall, which contains an overwhelming 520 stores. Talk about the best of both worlds.

Browse through the 19,000 Bed and Breakfasts and country inns that specialize in other events and locations that may interest you. Many of the properties listed above are also in the best-selling bed and breakfast guidebook Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns with a Buy-One-Night-Get-One-Night-Free Certificate. ILoveInns also offers Bed and Breakfast Gift Certificates, a perfect solution to help celebrate any occasion.