This past Friday was just simply too gorgeous of a day to go to work.  So my sister and I played hooky.  We hopped into my convertible VW Bug and headed for the other side of the Twin Cities.

Excelsior is an adorable little town on the south side of Lake Minnetonka.

We didn’t really have a specific plan in mind so we parked the car and headed towards the Port of Excelsior on foot.  It was pure luck that we happened upon a little wooden box that had self-guided walking tour maps inside.  We love a good self-guided walking tour.  It always makes a place a little more interesting when you know the history behind it.

Our first stop was actually the last stop on the walking tour, Palmer’s Grove.

According to the walking tour map, this spot held summer rental cottages until at least 2000.  We’re guessing that the one shown above is the only original cottage remaining.  Isn’t it adorable?  How amazing would it be to spend a summer vacation there?  From now on I think this will be how my imaginary lakefront cabin looks on the outside.  You know, the one I would have if I had a little lot of extra money.

The Excelsior Public School was built in 1899 and it’s certainly an imposing structure.

It was used as a school until the 1960’s, but now serves as an office building.

Our last stop on the tour turned out to be my favorite of the historic homes.  The Victorian style Wyer/Pearce house was built in 1885.

Originally the property went all the way to the lake and I imagine there was grand lawn that was perfect for playing croquet.  The space has been built up since then though, so we could no longer see the lake from where we were standing when I took that photo.  But maybe you can still see it from some of those upper story windows.

Before heading out of town, we popped into a few shops along Water Street and I just have to share this one with you guys.  It’s called The Country Look in Antiques.

I’ll confess, I don’t do a lot of shopping in antique stores.  Usually their prices are too high for me, and I don’t enjoy digging through mounds of stuff looking for the one or two gems as much as some people.  But this shop was styled beautifully.

The items for sale were expertly curated.  Every piece would look fantastic in my imaginary cabin, right down to the vintage croquet mallets.

I might have to pass on the buffalo head though.

In hindsight, I wish I had at least looked at the price tag on this set of Mark Twain books.  I think Mr. Q would have enjoyed having it.

And I just love the look of them!

But I was distracted by the item that I did buy …

I’ve seen these fabulous mint green Savoy cameras on pinterest, but I’ve never seen one for sale.  I paid $30 for it, and looking around online I think that was a more than fair price.  There are a few of them for sale on Etsy ranging from $40 to $60.

My sister purchased a 1970’s Life magazine with the opening of the Magic Kingdom in Disney World on the cover.

So we each came away from Excelsior with a suitable souvenir.

We headed off to a 2nd destination after shopping on Water Street, but I’m going to save that story for another day.  But how about you, did you visit any quaint little towns this past weekend?


19 thoughts on “excelsior.

  1. Sweet trip! I love lake towns and Victorian homes. I didn’t take any weekend trips but my sister from Dallas flew in for my birthday, so that was my excitement. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.


  2. Reading about your tours always makes me smile! I love to travel and you do a beautiful job of capturing the essence of a place in your pictures. I live in the rural west so our “quaint towns” have old saloons and antique jails (and perhaps a buffalo head😉). It’s so nice to live vicariously through your blog and imagine myself in one of those lakeside cabins!


  3. I worked at an office, in the school turned office building, for a while. It was fun to work in Excelsior, except for the commute, so many places to walk to during lunch hour😊


  4. Well you know what Miss Quandie? The hubs, my two boys, and I took a little road trip up to the Napa Valley this past week-end (-: St. Helena and Calistoga are charming places and the wineries are always fun……..But, as you know, they are also pretty “discovered”! I just LOVE your sweet, less-discovered towns up in Minnesota and loved the pics that you showed. So cozy!


  5. We found a set of Mark Twain books at a flea market or auction. (It’s been a long time.) The have red covers. My son has them now.


  6. I grew up in Excelsior – it was and still is quite a magical place! The shops on Water Street, the lake, Big Island… I have hazy snap-shot memory of the amusement park as well. My first job was at Leipold’s – which is still across the street from shop you highlighted in this post. Excelsior is definitely worth a day trip 🙂


    1. What a fantastic place to grow up in! We did read about the amusement park, including the fact that the Rolling Stones played there. Maybe you saw them?!


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