Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

A lovely day in lovely Stillwater

Wick's World


My wife and I were faced with a rarity — we had a free Saturday! There was no need to go “up north.” We had our recent fill of comedy clubs and movie theaters. No “must see” plays were looming on the horizon.

My wife turned to me and said, “Let’s go to Stillwater for the day. We haven’t been there since we moved to the Cities.”

“If my memory serves me (which it often doesn’t), I don’t think we have been there in the past 20 years,” I replied.

By early afternoon, we headed to our state’s historic birthplace, Stillwater, Minnesota. In 1848, the first territorial convention that started the process of Minnesota becoming a state was held on Main Street in downtown Stillwater. By the time of incorporation, it was not only older than Minneapolis, it was also Minnesota’s largest city.

Today this bustling little community features over a hundred small businesses in its downtown area alone. Gift shops and antique stores abound beside the usual assortment of cafes, snack bars and restaurants.

The first shop we entered, The Cooks of Crocus Hill, was my favorite. We picked up a few doo-dads for the kitchen along with a small assortment of holiday gifts.

The real prize of the day was when I stumbled across an item I had only heard about but had never seen. It’s called a Himalayan salt block and is just what it name implies. The 250 million-year-old pink slab I purchased was mined from a place called the Salt Range in Pakistan. It can be chilled in the refrigerator and used for serving sushi, salads, cheese or cold desserts. It can be heated in the oven or on a gas grill and used for cooking any of your favorite meat, poultry or seafood. You can even cook your eggs on this stunningly attractive slab. Does it add salt to the food? Yes, it will add a minimal amount of nutritionally healthy pure mineral salt (the only salt we have used for years) to moist food; none to dry foods.

Besides the shopping, a big reason for heading to Stillwater was to experience one of the many dining places we knew were available in the area. We were already shopped out before most establishments began serving dinner so we stopped at one of the upscale pubs for a leisurely glass of bubbly.

With our appetites on the hungry side, we stopped in one of the highly recommended restaurants on Main Street. The host looked as if he had recently graduated from high school. He explained they were understaffed this evening and wondered if a 30-minute wait would be OK. My wife and I simultaneously gave him a negative to that proposition. After all, there were plenty of other restaurants around and we were certain we could find one with immediate seating.

Not wanting to lose our business, he said “You guys into drinking at all?”

It sounded as if he wanted us to party with him. “Whatcha got?” I replied.

My wife corrected me and said, “That’s what we have been doing. We need to eat.”

Although he was disappointed in losing his new-found friends, I did tell him we would be back the next time we were in town. We had spotted an attractive Thai restaurant on our way into Stillwater, so we stopped there to dine as we made our way toward home. We made a great choice. The food was excellent and so was the service, although, they, too, said they were understaffed.

“We didn’t see this coming,” our waitress said.

The weather was so nice for a mid-November day, that I’m sure it had a lot to do with all of the shoppers and diners who spent a lovely day in the lovely little burgh called Stillwater, Minnesota.


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