Third Anniversary Highlights

For our third anniversary, we returned to Minnesota. We’re betting we’ll have a lot more of these trips, so we decided to slow down our pace of moving south along the Mississippi River. This time we wandered back and forth between southeastern Minnesota and midwestern Wisconsin. Our cabin was one of the lovely Hawks View Cottages in Fountain City, Wisconsin. We could even see the Mississippi through the trees outside our windows.

Goshawk - In the Trees

A Hawks View Cottage Nestled in the Trees

Goshawk - Mississippi River View

Zoomed-In View of the Mississippi River from a Window of Our Hawks View Cottage


One of our favorite parts of the trip was visiting the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. The center has educational exhibits about eagles and local history. The staff also care for 4 bald eagles and 1 golden eagle who have been too injured to remain in the wild. Each of the eagles had a different personality, like the calm and friendly Donald, the stately Harriet, and the sassy Columbia. We also saw two wild eagles in trees across the river from Slippery’s, the restaurant that inspired one of the hangouts in the Grumpy Old Men movies.

Hayden and Apryl as Eagles

Hayden and Apryl Posing as Eagles at the National Eagle Center


The most beautiful site we visited was King’s Bluff in Great River Bluffs State Park, outside Winona, Minnesota. Fortunately, we had no run-ins with rattlesnakes, despite the signs warning us of possible encounters.

Hayden at King's Bluff in Great Rivers Bluff State Park

Hayden, Happy to Be at the Top of King’s Bluff


In Winona, we encountered the mystery of Sugar Loaf. Before we went on our trip, we read over and over about the limestone pinnacle called Sugar Loaf. (I wonder just how many places throughout the world share that name.) We stopped at the Sugar Loaf Antiques and Crafts to ask how to get closer to the top. Hayden was given only vague directions and ominously warned not to go there because people who climbed it had fallen off and DIED. Naturally, we tried to follow the directions anyway because we wanted to only take photos, not climb.

After driving around in circles for a while, we went to the Winona County Historical Society for better directions. Some lovely women explained that Sugar Loaf was never much of a tourist destination and that the police now won’t allow it to be listed in official city guides because of all the DEATHS that have occurred there. Instead, the women gave us extremely clear directions to the overlook Garvin Heights. While at the overlook, we heard a screaming child down one of the paths, but he turned out to be only cranky and whining.

Garvin Heights Lookout - Lake Winona and the town behind it

Garvin Heights Looking Toward Lake Winona and the City of Winona, with the Mississippi River and Fountain City in the Distance


Despite all the dire warnings about Sugar Loaf, I think that I would have felt safer there than at the creepy attraction Rock in the House in Fountain City. In 1995, a 55-ton boulder fell over 400 feet from the bluff above into one of the house’s bedrooms. The owners moved out, and the house is open for tourists. The giant boulder, which was clearly not going anywhere, was not what disturbed me. The house itself was a bit too reminiscent of an abandoned house in a horror movie—albeit, a much-cleaner-than-normal abandoned house. On top of that, music was playing, no one else could be seen, and parts of the house were shut off. Hayden was busy snapping photos. I was looking around nervously with car keys in hand, expecting someone to jump out with a deranged look on his face and a giant knife in his hand. Perhaps Hayden has asked me to sit through one too many horror movies.

Rock in the House - Big Rock

The Rock in the House

Rock in the House - Kitchen

Kitchen at the Rock in the House (What lurks behind the tidy facade?)


Fortunately, we survived the trip. It’s taken months to post about it because Hayden has been busy trying to survive a long, exhausting work project and because even though I’ve had free time, I’m not much of a blogger. When Hayden’s current job is over and Halloween draws nearer, I’m sure there will be more frequent posts. In the meantime, you can entertain yourself with more photos from our trip.

One Response to “Third Anniversary Highlights”

  1. Marmee says:

    I loved all the picutes and videos. I especially like the cabin.

    Hope it wasn’t to cold this weekend. Love you!

Leave a Reply