CHARMING. That word, when tagged to towns, seems overused. But I attach that adjective to Northfield because it fits.
This college town, hugging the banks of the Cannon River in southern Minnesota, charms with its downtown historic architecture,
its natural beauty,
its artsy focus,
its front-yard flower and vegetable gardens,
its home-grown shops and eateries, and much more.
Think independent bookstore, Content. Think The Contented Cow, a British style pub. Think Tanzenwald and Imminent breweries and Loon Liquors Distillery and Cocktail Room. Think Sidewalk Poetry, public art sculptures, the Northfield Arts Guild. Think the First National Bank of Northfield (robbed by the James-Younger Gang) now turned historical society.
Today I feature a few photos from Northfield in images taken after the rain finally stopped on a recent Saturday. Enjoy this glimpse of a community that bills itself as the place of “cows, colleges and contentment.” That fits given the rural setting, St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges, and the seeming contentment of those who live and visit this city.
TELL ME: Have you visited Northfield or do you live there? If so, tell me what you love about this town. Or tell me about a similar community you would tag as charming.
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Northfield exemplifies the term lifestyle. To live be there is to experience a style of living. It is a place where architecture, nature and culture combine to make something truly unique. For some people, it is what they do every day, for others, it is to be experienced in the evening or on weekends, either way, it is a vision of how to live.
There are many ways of “how to live”, be it small towns, inner-city, “the burbs” or like Northfield, “the burgs” – we all have to find what fits, because one could not think of a sadder thing than living in a place or a style of life that we are not happy with. It is like having a job we hate.
Well said, Greg, well said. Or should I say, well written?
Marine on St Croix. Much smaller but we think it is charming.
Great pick. I’ve been there once and feel the same.
Just lovely! This is how I remember Minnesota when I was young and we often took the backroads through towns and cities. This is a paintbrush kind of place where a person could put their folding chair and easel out and start painting. Aren’t bridges interesting? Some have a unique architecture!
Northfield definitely is a set up your easel and paint kind of town. Artists do set up along the river to vend their art on Saturday mornings during the weekly river walk, a farmers’/artists’ market.
Thanks for featuring Northfield. It is a charming town. We moved here 25 years ago and have enjoyed living here ever since.
You are welcome. I love Northfield. More photos to come.
Northfield holds a special place in my heart. On a weekend in Nov. 2015 my two sisters, my mother and I had a rare “girls weekend” in Northfield. We stayed at the old hotel and laughed and cried reading and reminiscing with the first pages we had written for our book Under Minnesota Skies. Needless to say the weekend yielded dozens more ideas and stories and a commitment that we would preserve and share our family story. Much earlier in the 1960s Northfield gave me my first taste of college life. As a high school sophomore I attended a four-day Junior Classical League convention at St. Olaf College. No one in my family had been to college so this was a big deal and furthered my aspirations to attend college.
Thanks for sharing your stories illustrating just what Northfield means to you. Great stories.
The Tampa Bay region is massive and has its hustle and bustle, but there are small towns/neighborhoods within that region that remain charming, quaint, small community, etc. The town I currently live in is charming with its downtown area, baseball, access to water be it the marina or hitting the beach, plenty of craft breweries (8 and continue to add new ones) and places to eat, great community, artistic and athletic, etc. I have fond memories of growing up near Northfield – I would go out of my way to go to the library there as well as do a little shopping. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂
Thanks for sharing about charming towns in your area and about your Northfield memories.
I want to go!! Lovely Photos, Audrey.
You are welcome to come to Minnesota any time, Penny.
Oops it was Nov. 2013 for our weekend. Thanks for putting Northfield on the charm radar.
You are welcome.
As I mentioned in a previous comment, we just moved to Northfield this weekend and I am so excited! Thanks for awesome list of places to check out. Our new place has a perfect view of the Cannon Valley Coop grain elevators and beyond that, the farms are illuminated by the setting sun. I love this view and the trains I can hear go by. It feels like a good place to start a new chapter in our life with our son starting kindergarten here in the fall. Charming indeed!
You are going to love Northfield for its charm, its beauty, its arts scene, colleges (think theatre, music, art galleries, once-a-month open to the public observatory at Carleton College) and much more. What a great place for your family to restart and for your son to start school.
Of course I love all the great photos fromNorthfield . Your love of small town shines through in your photographs as always. I have driven past but never stopped so your post helped me see it through your eyes.
Northfield is a favorite Minnesota destination, especially for The Defeat of Jesse James Days celebration in September. But this town is always busy. Always.
Northfield is one my favorite nearby towns. It’s less than a 30 minute drive, but feels like a mini-getaway. The girls love the cupcake and art supply shop, and I love the artist guild and breweries.
Jocelyn, thanks for sharing why you like Northfield. It certainly offers something for all ages and interests.
Nice overview of the town and a new restaurant to try will certainly bring you back for more adventures. Loved the poem in sidewalk as it reminds me of a St. Paul sidewalk project many years back
Yes, this restaurant will bring us back to Northfield. And, yes, I especially like the Sidewalk Poetry. I just wish the poems were easier to read.