Winter is over. It's time to get OUTSIDE!
1. Native Spring Ephemerals are Blooming
Catch them while you can! These early and late spring wild blooming plants don’t last long. These wild growing woodland plants take advantage of the sun before the deciduous trees and shrubs leaf out and cast their cool, dark shade onto the forest floor. Look for Trillium, Rue Anemone, and Wild Columbine to name a few. Take a hike on one of our many area trails and count how many blooms you can find. Try a trail inside Interstate Park in Taylors Falls MN, or Interstate Park in St. Croix Falls, WI and catch a glimpse of the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River too!
2. The Queen and Princess are back!
The Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours resume in the spring with the Taylors Falls Princess and The Taylors Falls Queen Paddleboats back in the water and ready to take visitors on an excursion down the St. Croix river. Since 1906 tourists by the thousands have enjoyed the scenic beauty of the world famous Dalles of the St. Croix River by excursion boat. Right now, the annual Mother’s Day Brunch and Dinner cruises are being booked. If you are looking for something different for your mom this year, make your reservations!
3. Gravel Rocks On
The sweet sound of crunching gravel is another sign of spring in the St. Croix Valley. The snow has melted and we have miles and miles of crushed limestone trails ready to explore by bike or foot. Both the Gandy Dancer Trail (a 98 mile trail that starts in St. Croix Falls near the Polk County Tourism Center and runs north), and the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail (a 14-mile trail that begins in Dresser at 90th Ave and runs east toward Amery, WI) are open and ready for your hike or bike ride. They are a perfect fit if you are looking for wide, flat, trails that are free from car traffic. When you are done, hook your ride up to one of our sweet bike racks and enjoy some lunch at the Dalles Bakery, or our other fine eating establishments.
4. The Straw Comes Off
When the strawberries start peeking out and promising summer pies, the folks at Pleasant Valley Orchard in Shafer uncover the straw off the plants and let the spring sun shine on the new growth. Speaking of new growth, it’s also a time to get a first look at the buds and apple flowers blooming on the trees that will bring harvest to the fall apple season.
5. Fishing Fever Rebounds
As the water opens up on the St. Croix River, and our many area lakes, the ice houses get traded for boats. It might still be a little cool out there, but it doesn’t stop the fishing season from heating up! Technically, the 2016 Fishing Opener for WI is May 7th, and May 14th for MN, but there is still plenty of panfish to chase.
Sturgeon on the St. Croix River. Photo courtesy of Tommy Boesel
6. The Drive-In Opens!
When the Frostop Root Beer sign starts spinning at The Drive In Restaurant in downtown Taylors Falls, and the smell of burgers, fries, and floats start drifting through the air, the St. Croix Valley is READY, SET, GO for summer fun! Whether you go the classic route and drive up for car-side service, or dine alfresco at the patio, you can’t go wrong soaking up that spring sunshine while tasting that first, sweet root beer float of the summer season. It’s often well deserved after hiking all day!
Story and Photos (unless otherwise indicated) by Linda Shober, of Linda Shober Designs & Images. Special thank you to Nathan Waterworth of Designs Worth Building for his fishing related wordsmithing, and to all those who provided photos!