Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

One final visit to Stockholm. Wisconsin. Not Sweden. November 8, 2011

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Shops, eateries and more line the streets of Stockholm, a quaint village along Lake Pepin. This photo was taken in early October. To the left you'll see blue bikes, available for visitors to use at no cost.

TO WHOM THIS MAY CONCERN in Stockholm (Wisconsin. Not Sweden):

If only I had known about the bribe.

I would have accepted your offer, the one I found listed under “Stockholm News & Media” on your website:

Are you a writer, blogger, reviewer, photographer with a web site? Let us bribe you (how about a fresh cup of expresso from Stockholm General, a piece of pie from the Stockholm Pie Company, lunch at Bogus Creek Café, a beer at Gelly’s, a ticket to an event at the Widespot?) in exchange for your coverage!

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, yes.

While I’ve never drank an expresso, I’m certainly open to trying one. I like pie. A lot. I do lunch. Yes, I’ll toast your town with an icy mug of beer. And, yes, I always enjoy being entertained.

I was too full from lunch across the river in Wabasha to try the Stockholm Pie Company's pie, made completely from scratch. Not that I wasn't tempted to try a slice of caramel apple crunch or key lime or peanut butter fudge. I even stepped inside this tiny shop to smell the baking pies. Next time I'll save room for dessert.

However, dear people of Stockholm (Wisconsin. Not Sweden.) and dear readers of Minnesota Prairie Roots, my writing has not been influenced, not one teeny bit, by offers of free anything. My three previous, glowing posts from Stockholm were written from the heart. Simply put, I fell head-over-heels for this quaint Lake Pepin-side village of 89 without any undue influence.

Today I’ll take you on one last visit to this destination town just across the Mississippi River from Minnesota. Enjoy. And if you’ve been to Stockholm, Wisconsin, not Sweden, I’d like to hear what you most appreciate/relish/savor about this riverside get-away.

And if you own a business or live in Stockholm, submit a comment and tell readers why you love your village and why they should visit.

P.S. I’ll be back for the pie and the lunch and the…

One of the many shops lining the streets of Stockholm.

One of my favorite finds, a lizzard crafted from old silverware and more and lounging outside a shop. No, I didn't purchase this critter, but I certainly admired the creativity.

I notice details, especially signs, windows and doors, including this door on the Stockholm Museum.

The Stockholm Museum, home to the Stockholm Institute which preserves and celebrates the history of the Stockholm area, is housed in a former post office.

On the museum exterior, I discovered this handcrafted tribute to WW II vets.

The lovely Abode gallery, where my artist friend Arlene Rolf of Faribault has artwork displayed.

Another business door and signage that caught my eye. It's all about the details, my friends, all about the details.

A residence, I assume, since the steps were marked with a "private" sign. So inviting and lovely, just like all of Stockholm.

To read my previous posts from Stockholm, click on each story link below:

Russell, the Bookseller of Stockholm

A bit of Sweden in Wisconsin

A garage sale in Stockholm, Wisconsin

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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A bit of Sweden in Wisconsin October 26, 2011

J. Ingebretsen's av Stockholm on a corner in Stockholm.

STEP INSIDE J. Ingebretsen’s av Stockholm along Wisconsin Highway 35 in Stockholm, Wisconsin, population 89, and a sense of serenity sweeps over you.

Perhaps it’s the Scandinavian influence. Or perhaps it’s the charm of this quaint Lake Pepin-side village casting a spell upon you that evokes a feeling of peace.

The sign suspended from the front of Ingebretsen's, if I got the translation correct, means "crafts." The dala horse is a popular Swedish symbol.

No matter the reason, the atmosphere inside Ingebretsen’s, a Scandinavian gift shop, conveys a sense of orderliness, simplicity and a feeling that all is right with the world, or at least in this part of western Wisconsin.

On a recent day trip from Minnesota across the Mississippi River, my husband and I discovered this wisp of a village, which, except for all those inviting shops lining the main drag and side streets, would likely stand as another shuttered small town.

But Stockholm hums with activity, its streets packed with vehicles, its sidewalks teeming with folks drawn here by the quaintness, the laid-back feel of this historic place, the smorgasbord of shops that range from precisely orderly Ingebretsen’s to cluttered, books-tilting Chandler’s Books, Curios.

Step inside Ingebretsen’s, an offshoot of the main store in Minneapolis, and you’ll forget the traffic only steps away along Highway 35. You’ll focus instead on the display of dala horses. You’ll draw your hand across woolen blankets that ward off the chill of autumn, soon-to-be winter. Your eyes will turn toward the earthen-hued pottery lining shelves.

Inside the front window of Ingebretsen's, lovely pottery.

A collection of dala horses inside Ingebretsen's, a traditional symbol of Sweden. As the story goes, woodcutters from the province of Dalarna whittled away the long winter months carving these toy horses for children.

Even the pleasant shopkeeper with her crisp apron and refined demeanor fit my image of a Scandinavian. I immediately fell in love with the rough stone that defines this historic building.

You’ll admire the rough stone walls of this 1878 building, first used as a general store, then as a hotel, hardware store, confectionary, barbershop, speakeasy and café. Before it was abandoned and then reborn several years later, in 2003, as this Scandinavian import shop in Stockholm.

Wisconsin. Not Sweden.

The upper level of the restored Ingebretsen's building.

It's all about the details in Stockholm, like this clutch of flowers hugging stone at Ingebretsen's.

PLEASE READ my previous post published October 24 on Chandler’s Books and watch for more stories from Stockholm.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling