Monday, July 25, 2011

Vacation Day 4

Day 4 we woke up and headed back to the original pancake house for breakfast.  I had the tall stack of buttermilk pancakes and Erin tried the apple pancake.  The apple pancake was thinly sliced apples sauteed in butter and brown sugar before adding the pancake batter and baking.  Erin enjoyed it, but even with me taking a few tastes of it she barely had half of it.  My pancakes were just as good as the last time.  After breakfast we drove back to the campground and packed up the sleeping bags and the air mattress.  Since we still had some time to kill we went swimming one last time.  I played the ring game with Erin where one of us would throw it in the pool somewhere and the other would have to get to it before it hit the bottom then that person would throw it and the cycle would repeat.  At first Erin was a little nervous diving down in the deep end, but when we finished she was just as comfortable as I was with it.  We showered after getting out of the pool and packed up the rest of the camping stuff.  One of the few times we've been able to pack up a dry tent on a camping trip.

After leaving the campground we headed to REI near the mall of america.  We had seen it a few days earlier and  wanted to check it out.  I was impressed, they had a wide selection of some really nice gear. Erin got a new pair of goggles, a nose clip, bandanas, and some injinji socks.  After REI we headed to Stillwater and the William Sauntry Mansion. We arrived right at 4:00 and checked in.  After getting settled in we went downstairs for some hors d'oeurves and wine and had a chance to look through menus of local restaurants. We picked out a few that sounded good and then headed out for a short run around Stillwater.  This hills were challenging, but we had a good time.  When we got back we cleaned up. There was a steam shower in our room that had a ridiculous number of settings and options. Then we headed to the Lake Elmo Inn for supper.

When we arrived at the restaurant we noticed that we were by far the youngest people there.  The decor was also a little odd in that the walls were covered in old salt and pepper shakers.  The service wasn't the greatest either, but our food was good.  I had some lobster ravioli and Erin had some fried sunnys which they advertised as one of their specialties. When we finished eating the waitress eventually showed up with some heated towels and a couple of chocolate covered strawberries. It seemed like an odd way to end the meal.

Erin and I before the gondola ride
We had some time to kill after eating so we went back to the hotel and bummed around a while.  I hooked my phone up to the radio in the room and we listened to a chapter of Dracula. Eventually we headed out and drove down towards the river for a gondola ride that Erin had booked. She had booked the 11:00 to midnight time slot expecting a nearly full moon. We were a little early and thought we had found the right place but we're weren't sure.  I called the phone number on the reservation and someone assured me that someone would be along shortly for the ride. After a bit a guy showed up and we headed out on the dock to climb aboard. The sky was overcast obscuring the full moon, but other then that the weather was perfect. It was warm with just a slight breeze. Our 1 hour ride took us across the St. Croix and under the lift bridge.  We could watch the lights from Stillwater reflected in the river.  I really enjoyed the ride and would recommend it to anyone. After the ride we went back to the B&B to get some sleep.

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