Explore like a Local in Taylors Falls, Minnesota

Spend a day or an extended stay in the quaint river town of Taylors Falls, exploring like a local! From staying in a historic neighborhood to thrifting vintage gems and tasting local maple syrup, you’ll want to add this itinerary to your Minnesota bucket list. 

The Village of Taylors Falls, Minnesota, offers something for every generation, including delicious drinks and sweets, shopping, history, scenery, and fun! So, bring Grandma, Grandpa, and the kids and enjoy making memories. 

A Local Experience in Taylors Falls

Even before stepping out of your car, the drive to Taylors Falls is an adventure as you watch the landscape change right before your eyes. This part of eastern Minnesota offers some of the most unique geological features in the state and worldwide. The dramatic vistas, bluffs, high cliffs, and beautiful panoramic river views give you the feeling that you’ve entered another time and place. Not only for visitors but for the locals too. There are so many interesting things to do that you will discover something new with every visit.  

Let’s Go Exploring! Don’t miss the Local History and Tips

  • Start the day at Coffee Talk. Coffee Talk has been a local favorite for over 30 years. This cozy Victorian-style home offers terrific locally roasted coffee and delicious morning buns, muffins, and scones. There are two levels of seating that are filled with art from the local photography club and educational, historical pictures. They sell bulk coffee, so take some home to sip and remember your special day. 

Local Tip: Get there early before the morning buns are gone, and from the local morning bun connoisseurs, eat the center first, trust us. 

Local History: The historic Victorian-style home in Taylors Falls, Minnesota, was built in the 1800s and originally opened as a safe and fun place for local kids to come after school. In 2020, the coffee shop was sold to Northwoods Roasterie, where the coffee is roasted locally in Lindstrom, Minnesota. The original owner was a gardener, so the backyard is filled with beautiful flowers and spaces to relax, along with the covered front porch. 

Coffee Talk is located at 479 Bench Street

Hours: Sunday 7:00 am-4:00 pm, Monday-Thursday 7:00 am-12:30 pm, Friday-Saturday 7:00 am-6:00 pm

Shopping and Thrifting in Taylors Falls

  • After coffee, take a short walk down Taylors Falls Bench Street to Don’s Sugar Shack Retail Shop and Backstage Bargains to thrift and explore a variety of maple syrup and maple products. A special note- each purchase of maple syrup gives back to the local youth community. Read more below. 

Don’s Sugar Shack offers different types of pure Minnesota maple syrup and many other maple products, including sugar, cream, candy, mustard, BBQ sauce, and more.  

Backstage Bargains is Don’s wife Sydney’s dream come to fruition. She keeps the store stocked with beautiful and classic items, from dishes to clothing and everything in between. 

Local Tip: Ask for a tasting sample of the syrup at Don’s Sugar Shack! And if you are interested in learning how to tap or produce your own maple syrup, Don gives free advice and suggestions from 23 years of maple syruping knowledge.

Local History: Don Hansen’s passion for maple syrup started in 1999 with 30 residential maple trees. It all began in his driveway with an evaporator and a 2×4 flat pan on an old oil barrel! Don planned on expanding and hoped one day to own the historic 1934 John E. Ekdalhl Bungalow and outbuildings on the corner of West Street and Maple Street. That day arrived in 2006. Don converted the old Ekdahl Harness Shop into a federal and state licensed maple syrup production facility. He also converted the 1930s red barn outbuilding into a store that offers supplies and equipment. Don provides maple producers of all sizes with a wide selection of supplies. The incredible home and outbuildings are on the national register of historic places. 

Local Minnesota Maple Syrup Gives Back to Youth in Chisago Lakes

As Don’s maple syrup business grew, he developed relationships with local church youth groups and started a ministry. The kids learn and help with the maple tree tapping and how to produce the syrup. All the proceeds get donated back to the youth for camperships and mission trips.

Don’s Sugar Shack and Backstage Bargains is located at 395 Bench Street

Visit the historic Don’s Sugar Shack at 842 West Street (look for the red barn in the back). Call or text to ensure Don is available to help at 612-201-1086.

There are many more shops to visit on Bench Street in Taylors Falls, including the River Alley Shoppes, Taylors Falls Bead Store, Aura Paintings by LaCasse, and With August.

Lunch, Grab-and-Go Meals, and Snacks in Taylors Falls

  • Eat lunch at Juneberry Cafe. Juneberry offers hot-pressed sandwiches, bagels, pastries, farm-fresh salads, soup, fruit and veggie cups, and a wide variety of grab-and-go snacks. You can build your own little charcuterie board! And for dessert, a piece of pie, cookies, or Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream. Juneberry also sells small locally sourced gifts (they have an awesome selection of stickers) and Don’s maple syrup!

Local Tip: Take your lunch and visit one of their favorite picnic spots. Check out the sign in the cafe! 

Juneberry Cafe is located at 360 Bench Street

Hours: Open Wednesday – Sunday from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Unique Lodging in Taylors Falls

  • Stay at the Maple House. You will feel like a local staying in this fabulous 6-bedroom private home in a quiet neighborhood. The Maple House is hosted by Sydney and Don of Don’s Sugar Shack and Backstage Bargains and is located across the street from the historic 1934 John E. Ekdalhl Bungalow. The spacious Maple House is within walking distance (if you’re okay walking the steep hill) of the adventures listed above. It is the perfect lodging for family staycations and vacations, girls’ getaway weekends, bridal parties, holiday gatherings, and group meetings for work (and play). 

There is a wonderful yard to relax, listen to the river’s flow, and sit by the fire pit roasting marshmallows. Plus, a patio with tables and chairs, cozy 3-season porch, and a huge comfy great room with a large curved screen TV with cable and high-speed internet. The kids will love the playground across the street! 

Local Tip: Plan your stay from March to mid-April and you can watch (or participate) in collecting sap from maple trees outside the windows of Maple House. You can also visit Don’s Sugar Shack next door and see the maple syrup being made.

This is only the tip of the “glacial pothole” of things to do in Taylors Falls and the Chisago Lakes area. Visit the Things To Do link and Go Outside, Play, and Explore!


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