As much as I sometimes wish that my life was all travel, all the time. It’s not. I have a day job. I have other responsibilities. So, sometimes, I will be switching my posts up a little bit and writing about different things that are still travel related, but a little less “vacation” oriented and a little more “every day”.
This week I’m writing about the Little Falls area in Minnesota. Every Friday during the spring, summer and fall, I take my dog on hikes to various locations. One of my new favorite places is Charles Lindbergh State Park in Little Falls. Let me back up a little bit, though, and start by saying that I LOVE the “feel” of Little Falls. It’s such a cute little town that almost makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a different time and somewhere other than Minnesota. The brick buildings and older style architecture give the town a unique character.
While I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time exploring the town of Little Falls, a lot of that character carries into Charles Lindbergh State Park which, along with its historical significance, makes this park a little different than many others throughout the state of Minnesota.
If hiking isn’t really your thing, the park has all kinds of picnic tables which would be a peaceful place to eat lunch. There’s a playground for kids and a number of other unique structures right near the picnic and playground area. Across the highway is the museum and former childhood home of Charles Lindbergh. I have, personally, never checked out the museum, because I typically have my hiking pal with me, but it always seems to be quite busy whenever I’m there.
If hiking IS your thing, then you’re in for a treat. The hiking trail at the park is one of my favorites out of the ones I’ve been to in Minnesota and is, in my opinion, the perfect distance. I think the thing that makes it one of my favorites is that there are creeks and rivers galore that run through this park, so from almost anywhere on the trail you can be serenaded by the sound of the flowing water. There is a segment of the trail that goes through a meadow-type area where the park has put up numerous bird houses and benches making it a bird watchers’ paradise. There’s also a part of the trail that winds right next to the river and, if the water level isn’t too high, provides a perfect opportunity for furry friends to take a dip, cool their paws and get a drink of water.
The main trail is a loop that leads you right back to the playground and picnic area. At the opposite end of the park, there is a relatively short trail that leads you to the canoes/kayaks that are available to rent for use on the river in the park. While I’ve never canoed or kayaked this particular river, I think it would be quite the experience and a beautiful place to do it! If you continue on that hiking trail across the highway, you can get a view of the Mighty Mississippi and marvel at the sheer size of it and the fact that there are houses whose backyards lead right into the river – some of them even have docks set up! It truly is a unique area.
Since this park is a little further than we would normally go, we usually go out for lunch at one of my new favorite restaurants, The Old Creamery Café in Rice, MN. It’s a little bit of a drive from Little Falls – about 20 minutes – but totally worth it. The first time we hiked at Charles Lindbergh State Park, I searched for a dog-friendly restaurant to eat at and this was the one that came up and stuck out to me. And I’d been anxious to go back and eat there again ever since. They have a small patio off to the side that welcomes dogs – they’ll even get your pet a bowl of water! The staff is incredibly friendly – I’ve even visited with the owner about how they’ve served customers from all over the world. And the food is to. die. for. Both times I’ve eaten there I’ve gotten the same thing (because I seriously CRAVE it now), but I wouldn’t doubt if all of their food is amazing. I get the chicken wrap and they PILE the meat on, which Indy LOVES, because that means there’s more to share with him. My only complaint about this place is that it’s not closer to where I live. I don’t make it the direction of Rice very often, but every time I find myself in the vicinity, I will definitely be hitting up this little café. I’m already craving another chicken wrap.