Views From The Water
White Bear Lake
Clients with a fondness for F. Scott Fitzgerald will enjoy a jaunt to White Bear Lake. Drive past the grand Dellwood estates and the White Bear Yacht Club where Scott and Zelda summered in 1921. The following year, Fitzgerald wrote Winter Dreams, a short story that he described as “a sort of first draft of the Gatsby idea,” set on not-so-fictitious Black Bear Lake. Carry on around the lake to Acqua (acqua-restaurants.com) and choose from a trio of water views: two decks overlooking the marina or the lakeside patio. Start with a lemoncello martini like Zelda might have ordered, followed by calamari with lemon thyme aioli, fresh salmon with citrus beurre blanc and grilled asparagus.
Clients who love good drama will enjoy the Lake Minnetonka legend of Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress Olga Hinzenberg. Several years after Scotty and Zelda cavorted on White Bear Lake, Wright was arrested at a cottage in Tonka Bay for allegedly violating the Mann Act, a 1910 law prohibiting numerous forms of immorality. Wright was released after the allegations were found to be untrue, and in 1928 he made an honest woman of Hinzenberg. To celebrate the triumph of truth and justice, head upstairs to the deck at 6Smith (6smith.com) overlooking Wayzata Bay. Order a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, lobster rolls en brioche, and beet and sweet potato fries with lemon mayo for dipping.
St. Croix River
If your client is a blues fan, leave the office early on Friday afternoon and head over to Muddy Waters (muddywatersbarandgrill.biz) in Prescott, Wisconsin. A former trading post at the very strategic confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers, Prescott was once a thriving steamboat destination, with hotels, saloons and harness shops. Sit on the patio with a view of the two rivers and live music. Order Wisconsin-brewed Spotted Cow beer, the house-smoked barbecue ribs and the house-made coleslaw with balsamic dressing. In between sets, explain how the town was named for Philander Prescott, an intrepid New Yorker who came to Minnesota to seek his fortune at the age of 19 and married the daughter of a Dakota chief.
Clients new to St. Paul will be charmed by a spin through Como Park, named by pioneer farmer Charles Perry for his birthplace in the Italian Alps. Like a mini Central Park, Como features a zoo and conservatory, golf course, and a 68-acre lake with a pavilion, paddleboard rentals and other pleasures. Stroll along the paved walking trail before repairing to the patio at Como Dockside (comodockside.com) overlooking the lake. Befitting Kentucky Derby month, start with a round of Derby cocktails made with Bulleit bourbon and Cointreau, followed by Southern-style pimento cheese toasts, shrimp po’ boys and praline bread pudding with caramelized bananas.
Clients who enjoy biking will appreciate an easy early-evening ride along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Score a parking spot at St. Anthony Main and pick up bikes at the Nice Ride station across from the movie theaters. Head northwest on East Island Avenue to the 20-acre Boom Island Park, so named for the booms that sorted logs as they floated to sawmills at St. Anthony Falls. Circle back to St. Anthony Main and take a table on the patio at Wilde Roast CafÃ© (wilderoastcafe.com) overlooking the Mississippi. Order a couple of glasses of Nordeast beer and the crispy fish and chips served with malted lemon gastrique, plus some Parmesan garlic fries.
Clients with a taste for tradition will appreciate the story of the Buckhorn CafÃ©, the circa-1920s Long Lake roadhouse/bowling alley that served “Sunday liquor” and fried chicken until it was destroyed by fire in 1972. The Buckhorn spirit lives on at Birch’s Brewhouse & Supperclub (birchsonthelake.com). Request a table on the patio, where you can watch rowers of all ages sculling quietly across the water. Order the house-brewed Belgian-style ginger and lemongrass witbier and the “famous Buckhorn fried chicken,” modernized with Sriracha honey and served with coleslaw, fries and homemade biscuits.