Where? Yes. We were heading to Fargo from Charles City, and didn’t want to drive a million hours, so looked for a small town with character in Minnesota to stop at for the night. Our first choice was Red Wing (no offense, New Ulm), but the in-town campground is only hosting seasonal residents this year due to stupid Covid. New Ulm, as our second choice, has a brewery and a glockenspiel and a state park–and being closer to Fargo it made for a shorter drive the next morning–so New Ulm it was.
We camped in the semi-modern section (=power only) at Flandrau State Park, which was quiet, shady, and lovely. And very buggy, to the point where we couldn’t hang out very long in our yard. It was a 10 minute drive down the hill to town, if you care to go to town (there’s a glockenspiel! But it was out of service! Otherwise there’s not much to see). More intriguing to us: the trails in the State Park connect to the brewery in town!
Schell’s was the first brewery in Minnesota, founded by a German and so specializing in German beers. It’s the second-oldest family-owned brewery in the US, and the largest brewery in MN. Pretty neat that it’s in tiny New Ulm.
We’re typically not super into German beers these days, but as previously mentioned, we could walk to the brewery from the campground, and they have a dog-friendly beer garden, so we went. Twist our arm. And… the beer garden was great! The beers were good! Maybe it was because we were super sweaty from the trek over (more on that in a minute) but we especially enjoyed the refreshing sours.
So, the walk to the brewery from the campground was a bit of an adventure. It started out so nicely: a well-maintained trail along the river, and the internet said a mile later we’d be at the Schell’s. Somehow that didn’t work out for us: the trail petered out and we bushwhacked through mosquitoes and burs and buckets of sweat until we escaped the woods and rolled into the beer garden and bathed in the decorative stream gurgling through the patio. Sorry, fellow patrons. It was probably good that the beer garden closed at five, but it was also a bummer that the beer garden closed at 5. We walked the two miles back to the campground through a neighborhood rather than attempting to find the trail.
In summary, New Ulm made a fine stopover, for an afternoon beer and a leafy place to stay.
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