It’s taken me all summer, but I finally went kayaking.

This experience almost didn’t happen. The only reason I was finally able to do it, was because of Rosh Hashana.

The joys of working for a Jewish organization include being able to take off the High Holidays (in this case, Monday and Tuesday of Rosh Hashana). So since the weather was going to be a balmy 80 degrees in mid-September, I asked my coworker Alyssa if she’d be willing to road trip to Cannon Falls with me to go kayaking. After Googling what else Cannon Falls had to offer, which included a winery, we made our plans and had a #girlsday.

First stop: Cannon Falls Canoe & Bike Rental. The great thing about kayaking on a Monday morning? No one else is on the river. Alyssa and I had the river to ourselves from 10 AM to 12 PM, until we reached the “pink rock,” which is our area of departure from the Cannon Falls River.

Yep, that's a pink rock. And by pink rock, I mean they literally spray painted it pink.
Yep, that’s a pink rock. And by pink rock, I mean they literally spray painted it pink.

Our lazy trek down the river included 5 Blue Heron, a few falcons, and 1 Bald Eagle. It also included Alyssa singing “Oo de lally, oo de lally,” in between bouts of anxiety at the sound of rushing water. In case you were born in a vacuum, here’s the pop culture reference you may be missing:

After departing at the pink rock, we proceeded to get changed before making our second stop: Cannon Falls Winery.

The building the winery is located in is a refurbished auto repair shop, and the rustic appeal of the old dark wood and sliding barn doors instantly transported me to a Western-era saloon. The bar where you order your wine was very reminiscent of every token bar scene in any Western film since time immemorial.

You can order a variety of flight options, and since we had the whole day, Alyssa and I agreed to the 12 wine flight (which was only $12!!). This flight included their Reserve Wines – select stock that they make in smaller batches compared to their everyday fare.

It quickly became apparent that Alyssa and I have differing tastes when it comes to wine. Whereas I prefer something a bit sweeter, Alyssa is all about that dry wine.

So, we drank.

And drank.

But the best, as they say, was saved for last.

Even though up until that point Alyssa and I’s taste in wines had tended to differ, we both agreed on one thing: the Bootlegger Red is perhaps THE BEST red we had EVER tasted.

Winter Ice Wine (white) and Bootlegger Red

After we each made some purchases (we both agreed to buy a bottle each of the Bootlegger to celebrate the conclusion of the Cardozo Annual Dinner), including some locally-made chocolate that paired nicely with our wines, we secured our purchases in my car before proceeding to our third stop for the day: Nick’s Diner.

By this point, we were both just a wee bit tipsy, and although we had originally planned on getting pizza, we heard from a reliable source (AKA the gas station attendant) that Nick’s Diner was the way to go.

Thank you, gas station attendant whose name I have since forgotten! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the suggestion.

So happy with our full bellies!
So happy with our full bellies!

After I chugged about 5 cups worth of coffee (since I had to drive us home), and inhaling a burger that made me so thankful for cows, bacon and homemade onion rings, we waddled back to the car to make our trip back to the Cities: content with the days adventures.

The drive back was a bit more subdued, since both of us were in equal states of full tummy happiness, but the day wouldn’t have been complete without a small smackerel of something to bookend our #girlsday experience. Hence our visit to our fourth and final stop for the day: (yo)gurt [lab].

After all was said and done, I’m not sure which one of us was Robin Hood or Little John, but either way, oo de lally, oo de lally, golly what a day!

Until next time readers,