Day trip: New Ulm, Minnesota

New Ulm, Minnesota, day trip

Bad blogger confession: This post is way overdue (it’s 3 degrees out as I write this), but I really want to share the day I spent in New Ulm, Minnesota, this spring with you ahead of my recap of my trip to Europe, and specifically Germany. And if you are like me and planning travel for 2018, this post is the perfect time.

Located in southern Minnesota, New Ulm is about 90 minutes from the Twin Cities. This makes it the perfect distance from and size a town for a day trip; a full weekend is too much unless you are there for an event. Below I share attractions and spots to visit during a day trip to New Ulm.

New Ulm is named for the town in Bavaria of the same name, and was settled by Turner Society Germans, who left Germany after the Revolution of 1848 and were known for being very active in gymnastics (trust me, this will come up later in the post). As I was going to Bavaria later this year and I have wanted to visit New Ulm since moving to Minnesota, I made a point to go this spring.

New Ulm Attractions

Flandrau State Park

New Ulm has a state park right at the city limits, how cool is that? Flandrau State Park is the perfect place to step away from the town and take a break in nature. Although small in size, the park has diverse terrain and trails, from grassy to wooded areas. And it has a lot of nice-looking camping options that would make it a fun way to stay in New Ulm if you choose.

Hermann the German

Located in Hermann Heights Park, the monument commemorates the German victory over the Romans. Hermann is celebrated as a symbol of German independence. The 102 foot monument is topped by a statue that is the second-largest of its kind in the U.S., only smaller than the Statue of Liberty. It’s the highest spot in New Ulm and offers wonderful views of the town and valley below. The $2.25 admission fee is well worth the price.

New Ulm MN | Kale and Ale

View of New Ulm from Hermann the German monument.


Make a point to plan your day around the Glockenspiel performance times. The bells on the 45-foot tall clock perform at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. No matter your age, it’s a fun experience.

Food and Drink

Turner Hall

I’m going to be honest, there aren’t a lot of food options in New Ulm. It’s a small town. Since we were there for one day to experience the German culture, we went all in with lunch at Turner Hall.

This is Turner Hall like the founding Turners. Remember the ones into gymnastics? Well, this hall was founded as a gymnasium for training. There is a bar off the gym. And below that in the Rathskeller (basement, which is a great word to know in German, as that’s a good place to look for beer) is the New Ulm Turner Hall restaurant.

What the food lacks, the atmosphere (and cheap beer) make up for. Interesting facts: The menu has two prices-one for members and one for visitors, and it calls itself the oldest bar in Minnesota.

New Ulm MN Turner Hall Rathskeller | Kale and AleThe murals on the wall are worth popping your head in for, as they depict scenes from Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The original artwork was painted over and has been recently uncovered and restored. Ahead of my trip to Europe it got me very excited to experience Bavaria for myself.


No trip to New Ulm is complete without heading to August Schell Brewery. Tours start at the top of the hour (I missed it by a few minutes and was disappointed so I’ll have to go back) and for $5 take visitors around the grounds explaining different features. Also, a tour is the only way to sample the beer on site, as there is no taproom to pay for a pint.

New Ulm MN Schells | Kale and AleEven if you don’t go on a tour, stop at the brewery to see the grounds, gardens, buildings and resident peacocks. Yes, peacocks! The oldest brewery in Minnesota, five generations of Schell’s have brewed beers on this location.


Opened earlier this year, the Starkeller is a separate taproom where Schell’s features its Noble Star sour beers. They have a few snack options, and if you like sour beer, this is the place to get it. It has a beautiful bar in a minimalist taproom setting. Note: This is cash only and is only open Fridays and Saturday.

Have you been to New Ulm? What was your favorite thing you did, ate or saw?

Self Care During the Holidays

Self care during the holidays | Kale and AleStress, sadness and depression are always difficult, but can easily be exaggerated in December, so self care is essential. Daylight is (much, depending on where you live) shorter. Commitments and expectations are increased as the holidays and end of year approach. Time fills so quick with parties, last-minute job tasks, baking, shopping, seeing people—the list goes on.

For me, this entire year has had its challenges. Personal time with myself and others has been pushed aside while trying to focus (mostly unsuccessfully) on other things. I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to give myself and my relationships more time recently.

When I’ve do that—be it in the form of a vacation, family event, happy hour with people I don’t often see or getting together with like-minded women—it has felt so rare and special. Every time it’s refilled my emotional tank and I walk away realizing I’m not taking enough time for this. Life’s too short.

With quality time being my primary love language, I’ve spent too much time and tears this year feeling sadness, guilt and anger for not making quality time for myself and the important people in my life. That is not OK.

Ways I’m Focusing on Self Care

This holiday season I’ve given myself permission to drop all non-essential things, be in the moment and focus on connections. I’ve tried to make this season as stress-free as possible. How?

  • Finding the most simple recipe for a cookie exchange when I know I’m not a baker
  • Buying a lot of wine at once so I can grab a bottle from the cabinet for at-hand hostess gifts
  • Only saying yes to things that are important to me
  • Trying to get people to forgo gifts (shopping and finding personal gifts is very stressful for me) and spend quality time (my love language) with them
  • Simplifying shopping by doing it online or shipping to store
  • Focusing on making memories
  • Focusing on self care, including working out, resting, drinking lots of water and using essential oils

Get Help

Are you feeling disconnected from what the holidays are about? Don’t deny your feelings, focus on how and why you feel that way.

The Mayo Clinic offers ways to cope with difficult times during the holidays, including:

  • Be realistic
  • Stick to a budget
  • Say no

See more tips on the Mayo Clinic website.

How are you handling all the holidays throw your way?

There is nothing wrong with sitting things out. Your personal health is the most important thing. I’ve had much more difficult years than I am having this year, and I learned so much to help get me through the hard times. If you need more help, please seek it. The National Suicide Prevention LIfeline is available online or by calling 800-273-8255

Garden and CSA Update: End of Season


CSA week 16 2017

CSA mid-October 2017. All those colors and fall flavors!

I’ve been horrible about posting garden and CSA updates this year. But really, especially regarding the garden, it’s been a lackluster year. August was cool and shady, and my plants stalled in growing. My CSA is good, but the shares have gotten smaller and the price has been going up a little each year. I still wanted to share what I have, and after this week the CSA will be over and the garden will be pulled up, so I’m enjoying what I can for the time.

If you live in the Twin Cities and have a CSA you like, please let me know!

Do you have a garden? How did it do this year? Looking for tips if you have had success with the lack of sun.

Garden October 2017

Sad, under-producing garden, October 2017.

Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats

Easy pumpkin spice overnight oats recipe

Easy pumpkin spice overnight oats recipe

Pumpkin spice overnight oats combine the popular flavor of the fall season with a quick, simple, filling and nourishing breakfast in this recipe. With five ingredients, all you do is mix and let the flavors set and meld. It’s served cold, but it can be room temperature or you could warm it in the microwave slightly.

I used pumpkin spice creamer in this recipe, but you can substitute with any liquid of that flavor, including this recipe for pumpkin spice simple syrup.

What is your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin spice?

RELATED: Get more pumpkin recipes.

Easy pumpkin spice overnight oats recipe
Pumpkin Spice Overnight oats
Print Recipe
This simple breakfast is made ahead the night before, and combines the flavor of the autumn season.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 8 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 8 hours
Easy pumpkin spice overnight oats recipe
Pumpkin Spice Overnight oats
Print Recipe
This simple breakfast is made ahead the night before, and combines the flavor of the autumn season.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 8 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 8 hours
Servings: person
  1. Combine all ingredients, stir and let set overnight.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

HOPtoberfest: New Twin Cities Autumn Craft Beers

The leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, there is a crispness in the air. The lighter, sessionable, citrusy beers are making way for more malty, caramel and darker beers to help us stay warm. I love fall for many reasons, and the Oktoberfest beers are one reason. At HOPtoberfest at the Cub Stillwater Wine and Spirit shop last week, I sampled local craft beer and met the brewers from Rush River, Lift Bridge, Summit, Bad Weather and Fulton breweries.

HOPtoberfest Cub Stillwater | Kale and Ale

The scene at HOPtoberfest at Cub in Stillwater.

It was fun to talk in an intimate setting to the brewers and those on the front lines in the shops, about their beers and thoughts on beer. And it was fun to talk with others there about what they liked, why and what brought them out. It was a diverse crowd. I love beer tastings, because I’m a lot more likely to try a few ounces of a style of beer I would never order a pint of. Case in point: My favorite non-hoppy beer was Lift Bridge Fireside Flannel Brown Ale (a rebranding of the Chestnut brown ale) with coffee, chocolate and just the right amount of cinnamon.

HOPtoberfest Rush River | Kale and Ale

Rush River with it’s Wet Hop Minion IPA growler.

I also finally tried Fulton’s Hopstar, and learned that shortly there will be a hopped up version of it, Specter NE IPA. I can’t wait to try that. While Summit brought it’s 25th version of the Unchained series, the brewer for 26 was there talking about it. West of Seventh will be a Belgian dark ale available later this month. How perfect will that be for winter? Bad Weather brought it’s Earl Gray beer, Tippin It Down. The Earl Gray is noticeable, but not intrusive, as it lends a great balance to the beer. Rush River threw a happily surprising curve by bringing a growler of it’s wet-hopped beer, Minion IPA with wet hops. What a treat, I’m glad I could experience that, since I don’t see myself getting to the taproom during the wet-hopped beer timeframe.

What seasonal local beers are you now drinking or looking forward to? Do you plan to try any of the above beers?