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Wine and Roses
Gardening and wine connoisseurs are in for a treat as we explore the region's beautiful gardens and wineries.
Visit gardens of roses, fields of wildflowers, native grasses on the prairies, and exotic tropical flowers, in addition to experiencing the serenity of a Japanese garden. Relax at a wine tasting in a vineyard setting, and learn how the wine industry thrives in a northern climate.
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Day 1 - Minneapolis to Hastings to
Minneapolis, MN (60 mi/96 km)
Most people are surprised to learn there are vineyards in Minnesota, but just a half hour from Minneapolis-St. Paul the Alexis Bailly Vineyard produces seven varieties of wine. With a touch of humor, the bottle label reads: “(Minnesota) where the grapes can suffer” (1.5 hours). After lunch in St. Paul, tour the Como Park Conservatory and Ordway Memorial Japanese Gardens. Regardless of season, the conservatory offers visitors a warm stroll among palms, ferns and tropical trees. Enjoy the peace and serenity of the adjacent Japanese Gardens (1.5 hours). The Lyndale Rose Garden & Rock Garden is the second oldest rose garden in America; the roses bloom from mid-June to late September (45 minutes). The Roberts Bird Sanctuary is next to the garden (45 minutes). On the western edge of Minneapolis, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary features 14 acres of wildflowers with trails through woodlands and prairies (1.5 hours).
Overnight: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Day 2 - Minneapolis to Chanhassen to Minneapolis, MN (40 mi/64 km)
This morning, tour Bachman’s, one of the largest retail florists in the country. With a large variety of seasonal annual and perennial flowers, shrubs, trees and gifts, the color and fragrance will delight your senses at every turn. The gift shop offers a fabulous array of flowers, crystal, porcelain and garden-themed items (1.5 hours). Then travel west to Chanhassen for a “Flower Pot” lunch and gardening class at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, with more than 900 acres of display gardens, plant collections, woods and bogs containing 5,000 species of plants. A guided tram tour winds through a grove of trees along a hosta-lined trail, then passes rolling terrain before returning to the rose and Japanese gardens (4.0 hours). An entertaining dinner theater experience in Chanhassen will complete a wonderful day.
Overnight: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Day 3 - Minneapolis/St. Paul to Alexandria, MN (131 mi/210 km)
On the route to St. Cloud this morning, you’ll have a power shopping stop at the Albertville Outlet Mall (2.0 hours). On Mall Germain in downtown St. Cloud, a sculpture called “The Granite Trio” pays tribute to the city’s world famous granite industry. Near the downtown area, along the banks of the Mississippi River are the beautiful Munsinger Gardens, a dazzling display of color from spring through fall, with rock gardens, a gazebo and a lily pond. Ferns and hostas thrive in the shade, and there’s a nearby hill of red salvia (1.0 hour). Continue your tour to Alexandria to visit the Carlos Creek Winery. Taste fine grape wines, especially the Chardonnay, which received the silver medal in the 1999 International Wine Competition (1.5 hours). Then relax for an evening stay at an area resort.
Overnight: Alexandria, MN
Day 4 - Alexandria, MN to Huron, SD (276 mi/442 km)
This morning, drive to South Dakota for a visit at the McCrory Gardens in Brookings, which feature a generous array of ornamental flowers and plants on approximately 20 acres of formal display gardens and about 45 acres of arboretum. Dating back to the 1960s, McCrory Gardens are for the public’s enjoyment as well as for research, which provides scientists more information on native and domesticated plants. Next it’s onward to the Schade Winery near Volga, featuring handcrafted wines lovingly made from fruits and berries grown on or found native to the South Dakota prairie. The Schade Winery uses all kinds of fruit and vegetables like rhubarb, chokecherry, plum, beet, watermelon and mead to produce the label’s special wines. The tasting room overlooks the area where the wine is produced. The winery hosts receptions, tours and wine-tastings.
Overnight: Huron, SD
Day 5 - Huron to Sioux Falls, SD (270 mi/432 km)
The Anne Hathaway Cottage and Shakespeare Gardens in Wessington Springs are a replica of the original home of William Shakespeare’s wife in Stratford-on-Avon in England. Modeling it after the original Hathaway Cottage in England, Clark and Emma Shay built the cottage in 1932 as a home for their retirement. The cottage is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The exquisite, terraced Shakespeare Gardens contain hundreds of herb and flower varieties mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. The cottage and gardens are the site of teas, tours and even weddings. Relax and enjoy the prairie scenes on the route to the Buffalo Run Resort and Winery in Vermillion, which is home to South Dakota’s first winery and is the companion to Valiant Vineyards. The resort and winery, located on a scenic bluff overlooking the Missouri and Vermillion Rivers, include a large room where visitors can enjoy catered meals. Your stop includes a comprehensive tour of the winemaking facility and grounds, followed by tasting the handcrafted limited edition red, white, blush and fruit wines.
Overnight: Sioux Falls, SD
Day 6 - Sioux Falls, SD
In Sioux Falls, the Shoto-Teien Japanese Gardens in Terrace Park are a unique experience with exotic flowers, trees, pagodas, and lanterns set in the scenic landscape of Covell Lake. Then experience majestic monarchs at the Sertoma Butterfly House near the Outdoor Campus. Perennials and annuals, carefully researched for their food value, virtually cover the garden. However, the garden isn’t just for butterflies; an entire section of the garden is devoted to caterpillars. The Outdoor Campus also lets you experience South Dakota’s outdoor activities like fishing, hunting, camping and canoeing. You will conclude the Wine & Roses Tour with a class on butterflies, nature hikes, or Dutch oven cooking.