Kate Carlson, our Partnership Director, shares how she would spend a perfect weekend in Winona!

Day 1:

  • It’s not a perfect morning in Winona without a family trip to Bloedow Bakery. My 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son would most likely choose the largest, most sprinkle-filled donuts in the case. I would go with the iconic maple long john and my husband Adam would choose classic glazed. We’d grab a seat on the bench outside of the shop and eat them right then and there: Waiting isn’t an option.
  • Our favorite Saturday morning ritual includes several passes through the Winona Farmers’ Market. The first pass is to get a lay of the land and the seasonal goods available that week. Second pass is to narrow down our soon-to-be purchased items into “needs” and “wants” categories. Third pass is more often than not interrupted by small conversations, friendly greetings and salutations from Winona area friends and acquaintances. Fourth pass is transaction time. A crepe or two from French pastry master Jeanluc may be involved as well.
  • We’d then head over to Baby Bean inside the Winona Mall to peruse the carefully curated used kids’ clothing, toys, books and new artisan gifts.


  • Lunch would be at Anacabe’s Little Kitchen in Goodview. Kirsten knows our names and our orders, and the small, perfectly homemade menu of items is exactly enough to keep everyone happy. Cuban tacos, Philly cheesesteak, turkey melt? Yep, it’s all good.
  • We have recently tipped our toes into the world of canoeing/kayaking and have fallen in love with the opportunities Winona offers when it comes to exploration with the whole crew. We’d put in at Prairie Island spillway and paddle until a fun sandbar came into view. Eventually, we’d make our way back to the mainland and have a quick playground session at Prairie Island Campground while canoes are loaded.
  • By request of our kids more often than not, we would go to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum next where they would make a bee-line to the front desk, comfortably walk right past the lovely staff member and help themselves to the “I Spy” bingo game that we have played close to 1,000 times, but never seems to lose its luster. Could it be the choice of freebie from the treasure chest at the end of the game? Yes, yes it could. At least we get to glimpse a Picasso or Monet while looking for the elusive Corndog. (That’s the hardest item to find, but it does exist!)


  • In a perfect weekend, Adam and I would drop the kiddos off at home with a happy and energetic babysitter while we enjoyed Winona as adults. We’d probably go to Signatures Restaurant, tuck into a Veggie Sandwich for me (portabella mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and brie cheese!) and a Torta for Adam (he refuses to try anything else because he loves that sandwich so much).
  • We’d cap off the evening at Island City Brewing Company, our favorite place to relax, have a great pint of beer, play some cards and listen to live music.

Day 2:


  • After a long, restful night’s sleep—(Ha! Parenting isn’t that kind)—we’d whip up some pancakes at home in our pajamas before setting out on a stroll or bike ride around the small West Lake path, walking distance from our house.
  • We’d then get some playground time at the brand new inclusive playground at Lake Park. In addition to specialized play equipment for all, over 16,000 square feet of No Fault Safety Surface provides a solid and slip-resistant base, making it easy for children who use mobility devices to enjoy moving around on the playground.


  • Our family would head downtown to enjoy a quiet lunch at Blooming Grounds Express; the caprese baguette sandwich will knock your socks off.
  • After lunch we would go to the Winona County History Center to explore the cave, tee-pee, steamboat and more. The scavenger hunt is a favorite of our eldest, and our 4-year-old likes to make laps around the large timeline exhibit located on the second-floor track of the historic Armory building.

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  • Rochester Wholesale Fruit would be next on our list to load up on incredible produce deals, bulk pasta and baking supplies, and goodies. A quick stop into the new Downtown Meat Market right next door, and we have the makings of a great grill-out for dinner.