Archer House River Inn: Quiet MN Lodging Escape
Walking into Northfield, MN’s Archer House River Inn, you won’t believe you’ve never come here before. Guests entering the lobby are first greeted by a grand staircase. The rich red carpeting takes you into the lobby’s seating area – if you come during the holiday season it will be centered by a large Christmas tree. Check in at the large wooden front desk with original woodwork and immediately you’ll feel at home in this cozy inn.
One of the longest continuously operating hotels in the state, Archer House Inn’s décor is authentic to the era in which it was built, including tin ceilings and classic furniture. Built in 1877, the French Second Empire style Inn quickly became a centerpiece of Northfield’s downtown riverfront district. The idea for the Inn was conceived in the late 1870s by James D. Archer. It was opened just a year after the infamous raid on Northfield’s First National Bank by Jesse James and his gang, and helped the town rebuild its image as a “civilized” town.
The hotel changed hands – and names – several times over the decades, but in the 1980s it gained its Archer House name back when purchased by a local building contractor who saw the Inn’s value to the town. He renovated the hotel, built a new front porch and modernized the entire building.
Since then, it’s been completely renovated and modernized again. In spring 2011 its newest renovation was completed. Many of the Inn’s original features have been restored, including tin ceilings and even many of the original claw foot bathtubs. Through the restoration, the hotel’s new colors, styles and textures are authentic to the original period in which it was built.
Today, Archer House River Inn mixes modern charm and historic elegance, with views overlooking the river and the best of Northfield’s Division streets dining and shopping opportunities just steps from your door.
The Inn offers 36 individually designed guest rooms, each including private baths, LCD TVs and various sizes as large as two room suites. Choose a suite to reserve a king or queen bed with a large sitting area, and large soaking tub or whirlpool tub. Look for special packages offering in-room champagne or sparkling cider, dining and breakfast vouchers or “Chamber Dollars” redeemable at shops in town.
You won’t have to go far to enjoy shopping and dining. Within the building are several shops and restaurants, including Bittersweet Coffee Shop & Eatery, offering a full coffee shop, breakfast, sandwiches, soups and salads, as well as a tea room overlooking the Cannon River; Chapati Cuisine of India, serving traditional and original Indian dishes prepared to order from mild to extra-hot; and Tavern of Northfield, offering a full and diverse lunch and dinner menu, as well as made-from-scratch bread, soups and sauces. Shops at the Archer House include A Bag Lady Gift Shop, and Paper Petalum Scandinavian Gift Shop.
Main Street Inn
Though several dining and shopping opportunities are just steps from your room, you won’t want to miss a walk along the shops and restaurants of Northfield. Archer House is perfectly situated between the Cannon River and Northfield’s Division Street. The bustling main street is lined with pubs and restaurants, bookstores, antique shops, clothing stores, art galleries, gift shops and bakeries.
Visit June through October during the town’s weekly Riverwalk Market Fair. Part art fair and part farmer’s market, the weekly fair offers handmade goods and locally grown produce along the river. It takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In the winter, the first Thursday in December is the annual Winter Walk festival. The candlelit festival includes music by local choirs and brass bands, dance, wagon rides along Division Street and the opportunity to visit Santa. Prepare for the holiday season with special discounts at shops along the street and enjoy a hot cider, a roaring public fire and treats along the way.
No matter what time of year you visit the Archer House River Inn, you’ll enjoy a relaxing getaway with shops, dining and recreation just steps from your door.
If You Go:
Archer House River Inn is open year round. Because it’s near two colleges in town – Carleton College and St. Olaf – plan well in advance if you’re coming during busy school weekends like the start of the school year or graduation weekend.
Northfield is just off of Hwy 35. Take Hwy 19 east to downtown. You’ll find the Archer House River Inn on the northern end of Division Street.
While You’re There:
Plan a Weekend Away to make sure you can enjoy all Northfield has to offer. Unique shops, dining, antiques, coffee shops and bakeries are all steps from your door. Several golf courses are nearby, including Northfield’s Willingers Golf Club. Or you can enjoy a walk at the Carleton College Arboretum. Just a short drive away, stop for a wine tasting at the Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls, MN.
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