Happy hump-day Tuesday! With the annual four-day weekend ahead due to the state-wide teacher conferences, there's still time to plan a nice trip without going too far from Owatonna. When our kids were in elementary school, and it was still officially known as MEA weekend, we made a few trips up north. Duluth offers some great options, especially with the great weather forecast. Canal Park and the aerial lift bridge are a big draw. I remember simply walking along Lake Superior and skipping rocks over the water with the kids too.

For those who don't want to let go of summer, the water parks in the Dells, WI will wear out the kids without the need for sunscreen. We made the relatively short drive to the Nelson, WI area once to enjoy a bird's-eye view of the Mississippi River valley and some awesome fall colors. A stop at the Nelson Cheese Factory would be mandatory. Might be a good idea not to gloat about the quarterback thing if you see someone wearing a Packers' jersey.

I have good memories of the occasional trip to an apple orchard. It's hard to beat a hayride, maybe a corn maze and some delicious, just-picked apples on a nice fall day. Or if you fear for your car after pumping tainted gas into it, a staycation might be in order. With Owatonna's great parks system, Cabela's and Radzoo to name a few options, it's possible to have a great time without leaving your hometown.

While most high school sports teams have the weekend off after Wednesday football, the Steele County Blades junior hockey team plays Friday night at 7:30PM at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna against the Minnesota Moose.


  • 1


    You might not see a ship come in, but the lift bridge is a delight either way.

    Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media
  • 2

    Dells, WI

    While it is warm, the only water play you will get this MEA weekend is indoors.

  • 3

    Nelson, WI

    The view of the river valley is remarkable with the fall colors peaking.

  • 4

    Apple Orchard

    Minnesota has many apple orchards to choose from.

    Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media
  • 5


    You can keep it close to home and still have a good time by doing something you haven't done in a while.

    Mike Eiler/Townsquare Media