A Weekend Getaway to Pine City
My husband and I were looking for something fun to do for my birthday weekend, so it’s probably no surprise that I wanted a weekend getaway in a little cabin on a quiet lake in Pine City. Neither Nic nor I had ever been to Pine City before so we didn’t know what to expect. After spending two nights and three days exploring this lovely town, we can definitively say we had an awesome time, not only relaxing at a beautiful cabin but visiting a handful of small businesses around town.
Pine City is a small town with a big personality. With many businesses being around for decades, this little town has a lot to offer. From breweries and wineries to secret hidden bridges, award-winning pizza pubs, and lakefront cabins, Pine City is an awesome place for a weekend getaway!
#1 Pokegama Lake Cabin Airbnb
We absolutely loved our time at the Pokegama Lake cabin. Owners Leah and Seth put so much thought into every single detail. One hour north of Minneapolis, this newly remodeled lakefront cabin has two bedrooms and sleeps 10 due to an awesome room full of bunk beds. There are two bathrooms, a full and sunny kitchen, and a great porch with enormous windows where you can sip your morning coffee and listen to the birds chirping.
Upon making our reservation, Leah sent me a digital welcome book with tons of information on their favorite places to eat, drink, hike, shop, and relax. Every single thing we did was recommended by Leah and Seth.
Every detail in the cabin was thought through and taken care of. In early May, the dock was already in the water along with a canoe for us to use. The firewood was fully stocked to enjoy by the waterfront fire pit. There was newspaper, cardboard, and matches for the fire pit. There were blankets, yard games, and plenty of coffee for us to enjoy each morning. It’s those details that make you feel so comfortable and cozy when you’re staying in someone else’s home.
#2 Hike to a Hidden Bridge
This bridge isn’t really hidden, but it’s definitely not well known. I first learned about it when the owners of the lake cabin mentioned it to me and suggested I check it out. I’ve included a “pin” on my map above indicating where the trail begins.
If you’re not looking carefully, you’ll miss the little patch of dirt surrounded by a few large rocks indicating a parking area. Once you park, it’s about a five-minute walk to the bridge.
During the spring, this trail gets muddy, so I recommend hiking boots or sneakers you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. The bridge is called Million Dollar Bridge and runs across the Snake River. We saw many bike tire tracks in the mud, but when we were walking we only heard birds chirping and the movement of the rushing river. This walk is a fifteen-minute detour from Highway 35, and while there aren’t many things around it, it’s conveniently just two miles down the road from a great winery.
#3 Sip Wine at a Winery
Unfortunately, we were on this side of town on Sunday when the winery is not open. We didn’t get to experience it firsthand, but what stood out to me most was all the great reviews they have online. So many people said the owners were kind and funny, and clearly passionate about their business. I did email with the owners a bit, and they were very helpful. This winery is dog-friendly and there is also a great outdoor patio.
#4 Try Flights at a Brewery
Because the winery was closed when we drove by, we decided to head into downtown Pine City and check out Three Twenty Brewery. This brewery has been around since 2017, and is known for its strong focus on quality, hand-crafted beer. Nic and I each had a flight and genuinely enjoyed every single beer! If I had to pick one though, we both loved the Blood Orange Blonde.
There is a small indoor seating area, as well as a spacious outdoor patio with a fire pit facing the main road that runs through town. After determining which beer is your favorite, head over to the liquor store a few blocks over and grab some cans of Three Twenty Beer to bring home and sip by the lake.
#5 Enjoy Award-Winning Pizza
If you’re looking for really great pizza made by a business that’s been around since 1976 this is the spot for you. This restaurant is built inside a large space with, dark wood, stained glass, string lights, and arcade games.
We had a great conversation with one employee named Travis, who has worked there for ten years. He told us about the history of the building, and which pizza and beer he recommended we try. Pro tip, Travis said to get the thin crust, so we did. It was light, crisp, and flavorful.
Every pizza they make is topped with award-winning Wisconsin mozzarella cheese. Additionally, Pizza Pub has a very unique and delicious pizza sauce that you will not find anywhere else. I ordered the garlic chicken, and Nic had Buffalo chicken. We thought it was really excellent.
#6 Grab Dinner at the Floppy Crappie
You can actually see the Floppy Crappie across the lake from the cabin we stayed in. There is a big dock out front for people to boat over. We took a short drive around the lake and were seated right away in a room wrapped from floor to ceiling with windows facing the lake.
Nic had pulled pork on top of French fries and I had a pulled pork sandwich. We also shared cornbread and mac ‘n cheese. This type of meal is one of Nic’s absolute favorite things and he said it was the second-best pulled pork and cornbread he’s ever had in Minnesota (first being John Hardy’s in Rochester). The chef stopped by our table to make sure everything turned out well, and when we complimented his cooking he told us he was using a special South Carolina recipe.
Not only is the food great, but it’s also extremely inexpensive, another perk of visiting a small town! Our entrees were just $8.95 each and they come with a generous amount of meat. We couldn’t finish it all. This may become one of our go-to places to stop for lunch when we drive up north, it was that good!
#7 Get Crafty at the Scrapbook Store
The Pine City Scrapbooking Co. is a scrapbooking and stamping store that also features a 12-room, 24-bed retreat center. I’ve always loved crafts and making stationery, scrapbooks, and photobooks. I enjoyed walking around this store and looking at the neatly organized brightly colored sheets of paper, stamps, and stickers, all sorted by season, theme, or color. Such a fun place to visit right in the heart of town!
#8 Find Vitamins, Juice and Essential Oils
We popped into More Than Sprouts and picked up a healthy low sugar juice. They also have a lot of all-natural, organic foods, fresh fruit, essential oils, and vitamins, as well as beauty supplies and cleaning supplies. It’s a great little spot in the center of town when you want something refreshing, centering, and healthy.
#9 Walk Around Sauser’s Hardware
Established in 1909, Sauser’s Hardware is a unique and hard-to-define store that has something for everyone. Walk around and you’ll see items for home improvement projects like screws, nails, power tools, cleaning supplies, and light bulbs. You’ll also find beautiful dish clothes, fancy soap, decorative table lamps, and Minnesota-themed gifts. Even if you don’t need anything, you’ll definitely want to walk around and check out this silly store.
#10 Relax at the Park
Just on the northern end of Pine City across the river is a small park called Voyageur Park. You’ll find free parking, a large playground, picnic tables, and a unique sculpture carved from wood. There was no plaque or information, but after some digging around I learned about its interesting history.
Created by chainsaw sculpture Dennis Roghair in 1992, it’s the largest redwood sculpture in Minnesota sitting at 35 feet tall. It pays tribute to the bearded buckskin-wearing French-Canadian fur traders who explored Minnesota and the surrounding region in the 18th century.
Pine City is a Great Place to Relax
We absolutely loved our time in Pine City. This small town has so much history and many of the restaurants and businesses have been around for decades. For a small town, there is a great variety of places to eat, drink, shop, and relax. We were really so delighted with our weekend getaway. Looking for more inspiration in small towns? Check out my posts on Taylors Falls, Red Wing, or Winona.
Pokegama Lake Cabin hosted our stay. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I only recommend products and companies I use and have experienced firsthand.