Vermillion Falls, Hastings, MN

Your Ultimate Guide to A Hastings Saturday Morning Getaway

With Mel being all 7 months pregnant and all, we’ve been looking for a few opportunities to get out and do some things that we might be hesitant to do if we’ve got a baby to cart around with us (In other words, we’re living it up in preparation for the birth, which we are referring to as “the end of fun.”).  We decided to take a little road trip to the sleepy town of Hastings, MN, about 30 miles southeast of Minneapolis. Vermilion Falls is right on the south end of town on the Vermilion River.  We just stopped for 15 minutes for a quick photo shoot:

After we hung out at the falls for a while, we decided to check out downtown hastings. Turns out, if you don’t know where you’re going, downtown can be a little tricky to find. If you drive into town on US-61, you fly right over main street on the bridge without even noticing it’s there. Once we found it, though, we liked it. US-61 has taken over as the town’s primary thoroughfare, leaving downtown to handle all the niche destination shops. As the downtown is only about 3 blocks long, you can explore the whole thing in just a few minutes.

The first thing that stands out at you when you get to downtown is that the streets are huge! Meaning enormously wide.  At my day job as a traffic engineer and urban planner, I’m always working on projects where public right-of-way is extremely limited. This main street has more room than it knows what to do with!

What’s really tragic here is that the City hasn’t taken advantage of their enormously wide right-of-way available to provide things like enormous sidewalks (which could allow for sidewalk dining during the summer), landscaped medians, or corner bumpouts. Anyway, eventually you run into the Hastings Bridge, which dominates the city streetscape and kind of cuts main street in half.

After that, we made a stop at Karl’s Red Rock Cafe for some lunch.  We thought it was absolutely hilarious that their menu says “Breakfast Served All Day (until 2 pm)” because, of course, that’s not all day.  But they close at 2:00 pm most days, so it sort of makes sense.  Sort of.

mmm.mmm.  Biscuits & Gravy. American Fries. Bacon. Eggs. Blueberry Pancakes.