Our next stop is a definite must for every Laura fan. I haven’t been yet, but after several years of trying to make it up early enough on the Friday night, I have given up and made my reservation for Sunday morning during this September during Pepin’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Days.
Every Laura Ingalls Wilder fan who goes to Pepin probably stops to see Lake Pepin. It actually is a widening of the Mississippi River, but it forms a lake with bridges crossing it at each end at Red Wing and Wabasha, Minnesota. The town of Pepin has a beach and a marina where the town meets the lake. It is very popular with people coming down for the weekend from the Twin Cities which gives it a unique flavor for a small town. Several restaurants and artist guild type stores line the waterfront. However, you can actually see the lake from the surface of its waters if you sign up for a trip with Sail Lake Pepin. You can cruise the lake in the daytime, at sunset, or take a moonlight cruise. Cruises depart on a regular schedule. You’ll want to contact them ahead of time.
It’s best if passengers can call ahead and make a reservation, especially if around Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. June-September are their busiest months, but they do take walk-ins – if there is room. You are more likely to successfully find a walk-in space on Friday or Monday. Check their website for the schedule when you’ll be here. They adjust it during the season to keep the sunset cruise at sunset. Reservations can be made at any time, as far ahead as you like, but if you do end up just showing up, be sure to be at their office along the lakefront road at least 15 minutes before scheduled departure times. Trips are the same price no matter when you go during the day, but the sunset tours are the most popular.
David Sheridan, who runs Sail Lake Pepin, chose to move to Pepin because of same kind of love of land as Laura and her family. He’s carving out a living on a seasonal occupation like Pa and he loves introducing people to this area. David lives in Pepin all year, so be sure to ask him questions about crossing the ice over the frozen lake.