The Top 50 Coolest Houses in Minnesota

There really was no feasible way I could search every inch of the state for the most beautiful, unique, and amazing homes in the entire state. But I sure gave it a lot of thought.  The only real criteria was that the home be historic and unique, so I looked to the National Register of Historic Places to help narrow it down.  I tried to use a good cross-section of different styles, sizes, shapes, and colors, and it was not an easy task. But here are HighwayHighlights’ Top 50 Coolest Houses in Minnesota.

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The Top 10 Castles of Minnesota

IMG_0884This was a fun topic to research.  I’ve always known there were castles in Minnesota and have even photo’d and featured a few on HighwayHighlights.com before.  But as I dug deeper, many questions arose:  What exactly makes a “Castle?”  Surely a brick structure featuring turrets with parapets on top.  Maybe even a drawbridge or a moat.  And do “Ice Castles” count? Every winter there are a few ice castles that pop up, especially around the Twin Cities area. So we broke it down for you in this week’s feature, The Top 10 Castles of Minnesota. Continue reading

The Crumbling Hovland Dock near Grand Portage, MN

DSC_0755There are a lot of hidden gems along Minnesota’s most scenic drive, the famed Highway 61 from Duluth to Grand Portage.  This is the North Shore of Lake Superior, and it’s filled with many extremes:  Beautiful scenery and lavish resorts to ghost towns and countless abandoned places.  The only real industries left are tourism and taconite/iron mining, plenty of which is still going on.  But as you reach the last stretch of highway into the Grand Portage area, cell phone service is long gone, the traffic dies off, and many signs of abandonment are found. Continue reading

The Amazing, Bavarian-styled Leavenworth, WA

IMG_0982The touristy town of Leavenworth, Washington, is not the only German/Bavarian-themed town in the United States.  There are a couple in Minnesota, and other notable ones such as Frankenmuth, MI; Mt. Angel, OR; and Helen, GA. But I would be willing to bet Leavenworth is the most beautiful.   Set high in the Cascade Mountains maybe 3 hours east of Seattle, the town is possibly the closest thing you’ll get to being in Bavaria without leaving the US. Continue reading

Mr. Jimmy’s Bench, Excelsior, MN

IMG_0211On any given summer weekend, droves of people wander the streets of Excelsior, a fun, touristy little town on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. It’s an awesome place; Excelsior feels like small town in the heart of lakes country with antique shops, fun restaurants, lakeside bars, and frequent live music. But of all these people who descend on Excelsior by land or water, very few realize the significance of a certain city bench, referred to as “Mr. Jimmy’s Bench,” which has a place in rock and roll history. Continue reading