Untainted Inc.

I have to tell you about this place I just found! I have completely fallen in love with Untainted Inc., a luxury boutique that specializes in all-natural and organic skin care and luxury spa products. The little shop is hidden in a historic building off Water Street in Excelsior and is filled with dozens of apothecary jars with different essential oil bath salts on wooden cable drums and barn wood tables topped with body soaps, candles and lotion bars. I loved everything they had in grapefruit and eucalyptus. The best part? Everything is made locally, right in the shop where you can watch each of their products being made. If you want to see them pouring candles or lip balms, whipping a batch of moisturizer, or lining up fresh soaps on the curing trays, you can look right into The Studio. Owned by a husband and wife duo who opened their doors in August 2016, they welcome anyone for a tour. When you go, talk to Therese. She is extraordinarily helpful and she loves questions, no matter the ailment. I am so glad I stumbled on them and can’t wait to go back!

Buck+Fir

CLOSED BUT YOU CAN SHOP ONLINE!

If “Minnesota cool meets coastal casual” street fashion is your thing, I have a place thats right up your alley. Located in a renovated garage in Excelsior’s modern neighborhood boutique, Buck + Fir. It’s in a loft-like space with an entrance in the parking lot behind Water Street, tucked into a historic building. You can find it under the big hand-painted sign by local artist Dusty Signs. Inside the brick walls are white and the ceiling is black, lending to the street style vibe. Specializing in women’s streetwear with a Minnesota flair. Hosting brands like Blank NYC, Minnetonka Moccasin, Brixton, MPLS/STP Clothing, Saucony Originals, Ebbet’s Field, Free People, Tretorn, Olive and Oak, Outdoor Voices, Melmax Designs, While Odin Sleeps, Poler Stuff, Burlap Bag and Happy Spritz. Featuring staple clothing including T-shirts, flannel, scarves, denim and sneakers. Buck is owned by Cindy Berset and her daughters Kelsey and Ashley Berset who are the trio behind the Suburban restaurant, a fast favorite of mine. It’s totally worth checking out.

Coalition Restaurant

Since I’ve been on a bit of a brunch kick, I have another outta-the-park spot to share with you. Coalition Restaurant in Excelsior, on the same block as my favorite antique store Leipold’s, where Boots the cat lives and a stones throw from Lake Minnetonka. Located on one of the most picturesque main streets in Minnesota, and housed in an 1886 brick building, Coalition pairs well with the motif. It’s down the block from Victor’s  and around the corner from Excelsior Brewing; in the old Biella space complete with rustic floors, chandeliers and industrial lighting, exposed brick, smoky mirrors and an antique tin ceiling. This space is stunning.  And don’t think its just the upscale decor that will have you breaking down the door – the food is phenomenal. I mean, look at it! Vibrant, colorful, flavorful, comforting, creative and borderline sassy. Okay, I’ll admit, I love Coalition so much I’ve been there a few times, bringing more and more of my friends to experience it. This last visit included complimentary donuts so good we had to get an extra order to go! And if you like your brunches boozy, Coalition has you covered, full bar with craft cocktails and locally sourced tap beers. Need a recommendation? Try the Corpse Reviver #2 or the Blood Orange Mimosa.

The Country Look-In Antiques

Today’s #mnbucketlist addition is a personal favorite of mine because I’ve been able to get some really random Minnesota history filled trinkets. Off Water street in downtown Excelsior, just a block from Mr. Jimmy’s Bench, sits The Country Look-In Antiques. A boutique-like, rustic, historic rummage sale if there ever was one. Floor to ceiling, they carry 18th- and 19th-century antiques that include things like vintage cameras, shabby colonial furniture, old fishing lures and flies, architectural finds, sailboats… it’s just off the Port of Excelsior, not surprising finds but amusing perusing nonetheless. I will admit, this place is digitally off the grid but they have some pretty cool stuff. Oh! My favorite find? That Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox figurine you see pictured. Its full of Brandy.

Excelsior Apple Day

Leipolds Gifts and Novelty

Leipolds Gift and Novelty

Leipolds Gifts and Novelty in Excelsior opened in 1971 and is an homage to Minnesota nostalgia. That’s not an overstatement either. This place is completely packed, from carpet to ceiling with old rosters, books, ‘on Lake Minnetonka’ décor, prairie and church group cookbooks, toys, Christmas ornaments, pottery, puzzles, unusual greeting cards, hunting and fishing garb and magazines going back to the 1920’s. They are the retail equivalent of a scavenger hunt. They also accept ‘want lists’ and offer mail orders. They are regionally known as the House of 1000 Lamp Shades as they also specialize in lamps and lamp repairs. AND if they weren’t anomalous enough, see that cat in the picture? Yea, he’s real. I know, I touched him. I almost had a heart attack… His name is Boots. He just hangs out, doing antique shop cat things, I suppose.

Adele’s Frozen Custard

AdelesAdele’s Frozen Custard is a huge summer staple (it is for me, at least) off Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior. It’s a house-turned restaurant with a drive-through ice cream parlor. They are famous for their big waffle cones and 80 different kinds of custard. So much so that they even have a ‘custard calendar’, no joke, and let you custom order flavors. Since it’s only open seasonally, they are super busy so get there early… or really, really late (that’s always my plan).

Golden Rule Collective

The Golden Rule Take a moment, close your eyes and imagine, if you will, a summer day filled with homemade lemonade,pear honey and warm sunshine. This is exactly how you feel walking into the Golden Rule Collective… And they just so happened to have had their grand opening yesterday. An inviting watercolor motif with a seaside retreat feel (think cotton candy meets gold-dipped pastels). The imaginative little place off Water Street in Excelsior, is filled with trinkets, charms, wall decor, simplicities, Minnesota #inspired loves, ornate must-haves and the sweetest staff you’ll ever meet. The collective is packed with #swoon-worthy #artists and makers. One of my favorite places on the #MNbucketlist.

Mr. Jimmy Bench

Mr Jimmy ExcelsiorToday’s #MNbucketlist addition is one of my personal favorites. The bench, so aptly named for a local celebrity in Excelsior. Here’s a little fun musical history you might not know. The roving town ambassador, known as Mr. Jimmy had attended a Rolling Stones concert in 1964 at the now gone Danceland Ballroom at the Excelsior Amusement Park. The next day Mick Jagger was at Bacon’s Drugstore in Excelsior when he encountered Jimmy, where he complained to Jagger that he had ordered a Cherry Coke but got a regular Coca Cola instead, then said, famously, “You can’t always get what you want.” Five years later, on their Let It Bleed album, the Stones released a song titled “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with references to a drugstore, a cherry soda, a prescription, and as you may have guessed, “Mr. Jimmy”.