The Franconia Sculpture Garden seems to be a fairly well-kept secret for the St. Croix Valley. The garden is filled with sculptures of all sorts, created by artists of all levels. The garden is free, and visitors simply show up and park. You can wander the sculptures right away, or stop by the information booth at the beginning for a better idea of what the garden is, who some of the artists are, and more information.
The garden has restrooms, but be warned, they aren't anything fabulous. They're actually pretty sketchy, to be honest. But, as a free place that relies completely on donations, I'm okay with having to deal with that. And at least those with children have an option.
Like I said, the sculptures vary greatly in structure and feel. Some of them feel almost like they don't belong in an artistic location, until you look at them more closely (or take a photo). It's a ton of fun to see how different artists interact with their work and turn something perfectly normal into a piece of art.
This house is an artists' residence. Franconia Sculpture Garden is not just a visitor's location; it is also a place for artists to be working on their next pieces. The house has a small office area that's open on weekdays, but otherwise it functions as a home. Fairly close to this house is a large area filled with supplies and tools and just generally space for the artists to be working. If you're lucky, you might go on a day when an artist is out and about working on his or her projects.
Some of the art is just fun, while other art is incredibly serious and even a bit depressing.
The next time you take a trip along the St. Croix, plug the Franconia Sculpture Garden into your GPS. And while you're stopping there, can we recommend you stop in at Coffee Talk first to get some coffee to warm you up?