The prosperous red-brick river port of Red Wing is a more laid-back version of Stillwater to the north in that it's got the beautifully restored, historic downtown, but lacks the frenetic tourist scene. The town grew wealthy in the 19th century as a middleman in the burgeoning wheat trade and then scored big with Red Wing Shoes, an iconic footwear brand with retail outlets around the country. People come to admire the handsome downtown buildings and to walk or cycle the trails that parallel the river or lead out onto the prominent bluffs overlooking the river. A beautifully maintained historic hotel and some time-warp Americana places to eat add to the charm.
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