Less than a hundred miles south of the Twin Cities, the Mississippi widens to form Lake Pepin. The lake straddles the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin; on the east side, nestled at the base of soaring bluffs, sits the miniature town of Pepin. The setting is spectacular, and so are the sunsets that highlight the sailing vessels on the lake. But the real reason to come here is gustatory. There's also the Harbor View Cafe, which is open only during the summer and which features fresh fish flown in from the coasts along with a decent wine list. (See Best Restaurant Way the Heck Out in the Middle of Nowhere.) It can take more than an hour to get a table, but the time passes nicely with a stroll along the breakwall or through several small galleries offering the usual variety of art and jewelry. Plan early for a romantic weekend as hotel rooms in town are limited--though Stockholm and Alma, each a short jaunt along the shore, widen the possibilities. The Mississippi Valley Partnership (800-247-7657; has information about the entire region.


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