If you're looking for quiet countryside, try this beautiful lake surrounded by high bluffs just 90 minutes from Minneapolis and St. Paul. You can just drive through the area if you want—there are plenty of overlooks for picnicking and lots of interesting byways—or you can spend some time boating or fishing on the water.
Lake Pepin is actually the widest stretch of the Mississippi River—more than 3 mi/5 km from riverbank to riverbank. The lake exists because the fast-moving Chippewa River flows into the slow-moving Mississippi, creating a natural dam. Take time to stop in one of the small towns that are found on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the lake. Those on the Minnesota side include Wabasha (home of the state's oldest continuously running hotel, the Anderson House—worth a stop for a meal), Lake City and the charming village of Old Frontenac (Frontenac State Park is nearby and is a good place for sighting bald eagles). Just north of the lake along the Mississippi is Red Wing (home of the famous shoes, famous pottery and lots of antiques shops). No matter where you stop, make some time for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie: Pastry is accorded great reverence in these parts. Lake Pepin is 60 mi/95 km southeast of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
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