If you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special someone or a fantastic place to go for that next date night, you’re in luck—you’ll find romantic restaurants and unique stores up and down the Great River Road. Here are a few places you shouldn’t miss.
Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery
Located on the banks of the Galena River (a tributary of the Mississippi River in northwestern Illinois), Galena is often named as one of the most charming towns in America, and it’s home to an extensive collection of restaurants and shops, as well as abundant historical attractions and scenic spots. Established in 1985, Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery has two great locations to visit to sample award-winning wines: a downtown kitchen and tasting room on historic Main Street and its vineyard, located in the scenic countryside of Galena.
Take a stroll through the boutiques, antique shops, and other stores in the walkable downtown of Red Wing, Minnesota (yes, it’s the same Red Wing that lends its name to the famous pottery and well-known boots). One place you should visit—especially if your significant other boasts Scandinavian heritage—is the Uffda Shop, which sells a wide array of gifts from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Find clothing (including hand-made scarves, mittens and hats), jewelry, crystalware and glassware, and much more.
Wilson Café & Tavern
If you’re traveling along the Great River Road in Arkansas, make a stop in the tiny town of Wilson (population: 750) and visit the Wilson Café, where you’ll find delectable farm-to-table cuisine for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Using ingredients from nearby communities and farms, Wilson Café offers an upscale dining experience and an ideal place to take someone special in your life.
Take a trip through the past (and find a great retro gift) at Flashback, a vintage department store in Memphis’ midtown that specializes in clothing, accessories, and home décor. Whether you’re looking for a new outfit, some mid-century furniture, or quirky holiday decorations, you’re sure to find something worth taking home at this fun and funky store.
Bywater American Bistro
You’re going to get a great meal pretty much anywhere you go in New Orleans, so you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. Bywater American Bistro (located in the city’s Bywater neighborhood along the Mississippi River), the sister restaurant to the nationally acclaimed Compere Lapin in the Warehouse District, is a cozy, intimate neighborhood destination that’s perfect for a special night out.
(Photo: Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism)