The Great River Road 7 – Lake Pepin
Approximately 60 miles downstream from St. Paul is the start of Lake Pepin. This is the largest lake on the Mississippi with a surface area of 4o square miles. The lake was formed by the delta of the Chippewa River Flowage on the southeast end.
For the Rollin Down the River Tour we chose to take the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River after Hastings, MN. One of the first things you notice once you get south of the St. Croix River on highway 35, is that there are some serious bluffs along the Mississippi. As you approach Lake Pepin, the bluffs close in on you even more. When the road turns down along the lake it is quite dramatic with the lake on one side and the bluffs on the other. The town of Diamond Bluff is home to the Nauti Hawg a well known biker / boater bar.
Check out this post on this great place to stop. (even in a car): http://livedan330.com/2013/09/01/great-river-ro…-more-cow-bell/
Lake Pepin is such a great place to explore that we chose to do a lap of the lake which is about 70 miles round trip. On the Wisconsin side Bay City is the first town you go through.
The highlight of the Wisconsin side for us was Stockholm. This small town has a lot going on. It gets tourism and it shows. There are several retail shops and antique stores scattered through the intersection of highway 35 and Spring Street. Don’t miss the Stockholm Pie Company. It is right on the corner but easy to miss as it is only about 10 feet wide. Just enough room for the line that forms for pie and ice cream.
Up the hill from Stockholm is a vineyard and the A to Z bakery. We did an article on the A to Z bakery pizza night. If you are in Stockholm on a Tuesday check this out:
Stockholm also has a great garden center nusery:
Just down the road from Stockholm is Pepin Wisconsin. Pepin is probably best known as the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. There is of course the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historical Museum in town as well as the popular Harbor View Cafe. One of the newest attractions in Pepin is the Villa Bellezza Vineyard. Villa Bellezza’s classical Mediterranean style winery complex is open and welcoming visitors every day.
The town of Nelson, WI is the last town on the Wisconsin side of the round trip around Lake Pepin. If you are a cheese lover the Nelson Cheese Factory has a store and deli offering several local cheeses and wine. Even though the Nelson Cheese Factory made cheese for over a century, the current owners only operate a retail store/ deli.