{my top three} things to do in my city

I've been through a lot of phases in my life. When I first discovered country music, I was certain I wanted to live on a sprawling farm with 2 rocking chairs on the wraparound porch. After traveling the world a bit, I decided that a sophisticated metropolis was more up my alley. 

Instead of wide open spaces or city living, God gave me the surprising Option C - charming small town in Minnesota nestled in the bluffs of the St. Croix Valley. All the benefits of living in the city, such as walkability, local small businesses, and every store you could ever want, combined with the friendliness and community of living in the country. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Stillwater, MN
Here is a quick tour of my favorite free or cheap spots around town. 

1. Parks

Even though we don't have a yard of our own, we don't need one! The plentiful parks more than make up for it. 

First up is Teddy Bear Park. Cute bear sculptures, multiple playgrounds, and a giant sandbox - this park is a dream for the under 7 set!

Pippa's hat!
Pioneer Park has the best view of the river, hands down.

And let's not forget a picnic on the banks of the St. Croix River itself! With pathways, benches, and a cute gazebo, this is the hot spot to watch the lift bridge, well, lift, people watch or just enjoy a good book once the weather turns nice in Minnesota (June-August if we're lucky).

In all honesty, I'm not really even scratching the surface of parks here in Stillwater. These are just a few of our favorite spots.

2. Restaurants

So on principle, and mainly because there's not a lot of room in our budget for it, we don't go out to eat much. (help me I'm poor). Maybe a few times each year at best. And usually when we do, it's to celebrate a special occasion or because family is visiting.

So obviously, there are way more discerning palates out there to tell you about the best foodie spots in the area. I'm here to tell you where the budget spots and the bests drinks are.

Nacho Mama's has a small, intimate dining space, but large, not-so-intimate portion sizes and margaritas. Best place to share a platter of nachos and a marg!

We always walk past these little outdoor dining joints with pizza and one with Chicago-style hot dogs, and we finally gave in and tried it yesterday!

Anyone who knows me is aware that in college I almost switched my major from education to buccaneering, but I heard there were not a lot of jobs opening up in the pirate field for college grads, unless you wanted to swab the deck for minimum wage (come on, I'm an educated human - that's just degrading). So I stuck with Spanish and education, and decided that maybe becoming a pirate could be a career move in my 30s or 40s. 

Anyway, all that to say that Smalley's Caribbean Barbecue has a pirate theme, and I dig that.
Plus also the most fabulous jerk chicken sandwich ever to grace my lips. And rum drinks in Mason jars.

3. Strolling Main Street

Boutiques, ice cream, coffee shops, and a darn good view of the St. Croix. 

If you made it through all those pictures, you deserve a medal. 

We're feeling pretty good these days to call Stillwater our home base. 
Come visit us!

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