Minnesota Now with Cathy Wurzer

Local blogger highlights the best of Minnesota this fall

A woman sits on a rock on the north shore of Minnesota
Kristen Glazer sits along Minnesota's north shore with Split Rock Lighthouse in the background.
Courtesy: Kristen Glazer

It is that time of the year where the leaves are starting to turn and Minnesota’s natural landscape really starts to show off. According to the DNR fall color finder, much of northern Minnesota is 50 to 75 percent peak color.

And it can be a small window of time to see the glory of fall foliage.

One local blogger is helping Minnesotans make the most of fall and all the state has to offer. Her name is Kristen Glazer and she runs a blog called Expedition Kristen. She joined MPR News host Cathy Wurzer.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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Audio transcript

CATHY WURZER: This is the time of year when the leaves are starting to turn. Minnesota's natural landscape really starts to show off. According to the DNR Color Finder, much of Northern Minnesota is 50% to 75% peak color, and it can be a small window of time to see the glory of fall foliage.

One local blogger is helping Minnesotans make the most of fall and all the state has to offer. Her name is Kristen Glazer. She runs a blog called Expedition Kristen along with an Instagram account that has about 33,500 followers. Pretty impressive. She joins us right now. Kristen, welcome to the program.

KRISTEN GLAZER: Thank you so much for having me.

CATHY WURZER: You're not a native Minnesotan, right? You moved here from?

KRISTEN GLAZER: Yes. I'm from Long Island originally. I was born and raised there, and I've been in Minnesota now for about 12 years.

CATHY WURZER: OK. And you launched this blog?

KRISTEN GLAZER: I did, yes. I've had it for about 3 and 1/2 years now. My background is in marketing, and the blog really came out of COVID, just needing a creative outlet and something to do. And at the time, all there really was to hike and be outside.

So I started an Instagram just writing about different hikes and adventures I was on and started to see that it was much more than that. It was gaining traction with a lot of Minnesotans wanting to hear more, and it's just kind of grown organically from that.

CATHY WURZER: It's kind of funny how when you are a native of an area, you just kind take it for granted. You think you know everything about the area, but you really don't, and you need someone with fresh eyes to kind of show you, which is kind of what you've done, in a sense.

KRISTEN GLAZER: Yeah, I would agree with that. And it's interesting because the reason I have landed here in Minnesota is because I met my husband in college, and he's from Minnesota. And it's been really fun to explore so many of these areas with him for his very first time. So for someone who grew up here, there's so much that he didn't even know was in his own backyard.

CATHY WURZER: Wow. What makes this state so special this time of the year?

KRISTEN GLAZER: Well, I think a lot of things makes Minnesota special, but really, the fall colors are incredible. I think a lot of people think about New England or some other areas for fall colors, but we have the North Shore with Lake Superior and just incredible views up there with the mountains and the hikes and dense forests. And then we also have the Bluff region in the South part of our state, and I think, really, those two are like the most breathtaking parts of Minnesota in the fall.

CATHY WURZER: Absolutely. They are just gorgeous. Do you have specific places that you like to go?

KRISTEN GLAZER: I do. I have a lot of places. It can be hard to fit it all in, and I try to plan it accordingly as the fall colors move South through our state. So I try to get up North quite a bit in September and then eventually down further South as they come through to that Bluff region.

CATHY WURZER: Do you have-- I almost hate to ask this question because the minute I ask it you're going to say, I really don't want to say this in front of thousands of people right now. But do you have a hidden gem that people might not know about?

KRISTEN GLAZER: I do. So the town of Montgomery-- have you heard of that?


KRISTEN GLAZER: Montgomery, Minnesota.

CATHY WURZER: They've got Kolacky Days, I think, right?

KRISTEN GLAZER: Yes, exactly. So people either know it well, or I have found most people actually have never ever heard of it. And that I really think is such a hidden gem for a few reasons. One is that it's really close to the Twin Cities. It's under an hour. It's just outside Northfield, so you could make it a whole weekend if you wanted to stay in Northfield and do more there.

But the town of Montgomery has an apple orchard, a bakery that you mentioned there with those kolackies that have been around for generations with this bakery, and then a brewery and a pizza shop. It's a really, really cute little historic town, and I don't think people always think about it when they are looking for a fall adventure.

CATHY WURZER: I think that's a great idea. You're right. Montgomery does not come to mind. It is very cute. I like it. The kolackies are great, by the way. The apricot? Lovely. I like those. That's a great spot, and you wouldn't expect that.

Most people think North Shore, to be honest, for fall colors. And I'm a fan of Two Harbors because I've got some relatives up there, and that's always a fun place, especially with the Castle Danger brewery and now the Tipsy Mosquito.


CATHY WURZER: Have you heard of Tipsy Mosquito? That's a new one.

KRISTEN GLAZER: No, but I know Castle Danger well. I love that area.

CATHY WURZER: Yeah. It is wonderful. So how much time do you spend traveling around Minnesota for your blog?



It's always a balance for me. I do have a full time job marketing in health care, so this is really a side hustle for me. But it's just so much fun. I travel most weekends as much as I can. In the evenings, I try to do a lot of local things. And certainly, if I ever have a three day weekend or a holiday, I try to maximize that as best as I can.

Sometimes, it can get a little crazy where I just need some downtime and to slow down, but it's just really fun. I love hiking. I love exploring. I love checking out new breweries. And we're going to an Oktoberfest in La Crosse this weekend, so it's hard to say no because it's just all so much fun.

CATHY WURZER: If you're going to go do an Oktoberfest, go to La Crosse. That's my advice. I think you're right to do that. So before you go, so far, of course, the landscape changes every single day. Where have you been that you've thought to yourself, oh my gosh, this is amazing? So far yet this year, where have you gone?

KRISTEN GLAZER: Well, a couple of things with that. I would say just first of all, something to note. This year, the colors are moving much faster than last year. And they're saying, I think, a big part of that is because of the drought that we experienced. So if you are looking to get up North, really, do that now, like this weekend or next weekend, because they're already in peak.

If you don't have time to get up there right away, you do have a few more weeks for it to move down to the Red Wing, Winona area. So fall is not over, but it is well on its way up in the North Shore. If you are going to the North Shore, really, I think the most amazing thing I've done up there is the gondola ride at Lutsen Mountains.

And you can take the gondola to the top, or if you're looking for something a little bit more strenuous, you can do the hike itself. And that, to me, was really unbelievable, just a sea of rolling hills and rolling mountains that are all red, orange, and yellow in one direction. And then behind you is Lake Superior. It's kind of hard to beat a view like that.

CATHY WURZER: Oh, that is beautiful. Kristen, it's been so much fun talking to you. Thanks so much.

KRISTEN GLAZER: Thank you so much for having me.

CATHY WURZER: Happy travels. Kristen Glazer is a travel blogger, and she creates guides for Minnesota and the Midwest. You can find her Instagram @expeditionkristen, or her website, expeditionkristen.com. We'll have both links on our website as well.

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