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Another Last Minute Camping Adventure: Flandrau and Killen Woods State Parks with a Stop at the Schell's Brewery

I had to get back down to Mankato for a quick shoot. Instead of driving back and forth we decided that we ought to go camping nearby. We settled on Flandrau State Park in New Ulm. 
 
 The fireflies were amazing at night. It was pretty cool.

 We of course only stayed one night before moving on to a second camp site, because that's what we do.
  
 As an early birthday gift for Meadow we got her her own backpacking pack. Now she's old enough to start carrying her own things.
 
Apparently our backpacks are similar in size. No wonder we have trouble fitting everything in. I guess it's time for us to upgrade.

Mostly your backpacking pack, but I suppose we could upgrade both.

We had hoped to swim at Flandrau but their natural pool was closed for the year for maintenance. Luckily we had a Hiking Club Trail to do.
 
The Cottonwood River was seriously low with the lack of rain this summer.
 
 Black raspberries were ripe along the trails. 

 
This little guy likes to make us carry him, but usually you can get him moving.
 
 
 Meadow is cooler than me. 
 
       
Both of these kids are cooler than us.
 
 The trail took us to a cool overlook of a meadow.

We enjoy the narrow hiking paths much more.

I guess I caved into Theo eventually and carried him on my shoulder like Tiny Tim.
 
 

 Then he moved to my back.
 
This hike was just enough to make it over 25 miles of Hiking Club Trails. Which means Meadow earned her first badge. She also deemed it too hot outside and dumped her water over herself.
 
 
 One of the main reasons why we wanted to stay at Flandrau was so we could stop by the Schell's Brewery.

We hadn't been in years. They recently expanded their taproom and added a beer garden.

 
Our favorite Mexican joint in Minneapolis is Orale. I'm not sure if they're somehow related, but there's another Orale in New Ulm. Their birria tacos are something special.
 
 
 Cars were parked pretty far back from the entrance, I expected this place to be packed.

Most people were inside the taproom or on tours. With the kids unvaccinated we chose the beer garden.

Plus the beer garden is so much cooler.

 
 The best part is that you get to walk around their gardens with your drink.

 
 The kids liked playing in the garden too.

 
 Usually there are more peacocks roaming the grounds but we only found the one.


I took a quick peak at the taproom before we headed out. Maybe next time.
 
 
 Then we headed down to Kilen Woods State Park, a park we had never been to before. We chose a walk in site. While we were gathering our things from our car a woman nearby with her giant trailer yelled to us, "Bless you guys for being so brave." We weren't sure if she meant the walking in part or camping with kids. 

I suppose both could be seen as brave to RV folks.


 Our site was perfect for our hammocks.


Once and awhile we can get these kids to do chores. It seems easier when we're out camping.
  
 
 
 We decided to checkout nearby Windom and get some ice cream. Their downtown square was very charming and like something out of a time capsule.

 
 
 
A lot of the buildings and storefronts seem like they hadn't changed in 30 years.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Then we stumbled upon a school turned artist studio space.
 
 Not sure if this is supposed to be funny or serious.
 
The next morning it rained. Scott had figured out a way to take down the tent without getting everything wet.

I thought I was very clever.
 
 
 Even though it was raining we still had the hiking club trail to do.

Meadow, Theo and I were not into this idea, but Brooke was gung ho until we complained too much and she turned around.

 
 
 
Eventually we got Brooke back on the trail and we hiked. Sorry for being whiny Brooke.
 
 
 
 
 The one nice thing about it raining is we didn't see another person.
 
 
 It was still a pretty hike.

 
 We were absolutely getting soaked, but it was in fact a nice hike.
 
 
 
 
 
 In a few weeks this will probably be covered in flowers.
 
 
 

 This part of the trail is for snowmobiles in the winter.
 
 
 
 
We made it.
 
 
 We had to drive through New Ulm on our way back to Minneapolis. This time we stopped at the Schell's Brewery spinoff Starkeller Brewery.

They specialize in sour beers. We're not big sour beer people, but we thought we'd try a flight.
 
 
 The turned a plain old warehouse into a really cool space.

 
Theo kept busy with his new Batman Imaginext figure and his other camp toys.
 
 
 
 

 We had one more stop to make on our drive. Minnesota's Largest Candy Store.
 

With COVID cases at an all time low, we were feeling bold.
 
 
 This place used to only be busy in the fall time and now it's crazy all the time.
 
 

 
 
 
 

See you soon giant candy store and southern Minnesota.

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