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Mississippi River View from Barn Bluff

Around Town — Parks, Harps and River Views

Red Wing has become famous for having one of the most beautifully landscaped riverfronts in the US and for the hundreds of flower baskets that adorn its parks and city streets. Our one big regret was that our visit was too late in the season to see the all the colorful blooms. Our disappointment was fleeting since we quickly became immerged in the city’s parks, majestic river bluffs and scenic vistas.

The highlight of Bay Point is the historic Boathouse Village. These rows of metal boat storage sheds float on barrels, tethered to poles that are anchored to the bottom of the bay. The poles are called gin poles, because gin bottles were tied to them and hidden in the water during Prohibition. Many boats remain here all winter, suspended from the roofs of their sheds above the ice.

In Levee Park, this whimsical jester kept us company while we picnicked and watched the tugboats and pleasure craft navigate the Mississippi.

Like Mark Twain and Henry David Thoreau before him, Danny climbed to the top of Barn Bluff, a huge limestone dome that rises abruptly 300 feet above the heart of the business district.


There used to be a stairway that led from Barn Bluff into the heart of Red Wing. Each step was donated by a citizen of the community ... with construction donated by the local Kiwanis Club in 1929. Some of the steps remain but most were destroyed to put in a highway.

The view of Red Wing and the Mississippi River from Sorin’s Bluff is spectacular. Unlike the arduous hike to the top of Barn Bluff ... one can drive to the top of Sorin's.

Just miles from downtown Redwing is an old restored barn that is home to Hobgoblin Music and Stoney End Harps. A friendly employee gave us a tour of the workshop where folk instruments, especially Irish harps have been handcrafted for over 30 years.

In the upstairs loft, the retail store contained not only harps, but mountain dulcimers, banjos, bodhráns, concertinas, mandolins and guitars.

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Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.

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