By Mpls.St.Paul Magazine / Inspired by Ted Marti's My North
In 1860, just six years after New Ulm was founded, August Schell opened a brewery that would eventually come to define the city. In the 157 years since, the two have been inextricably linked; the success and growth of the one tied steadfastly to the other. And at the center of it all, always, is August Schell’s family.
Today Ted Marti runs the show while his three sons—the sixth generation of the business—Jace, Kyle and Franz, do their distinct parts to help. Any visit to New Ulm has to include a trip up the old brewery road to explore the historic Schell's Brewery grounds—gardens, deer, peacocks and all—but be sure to visit the rest of town, as well. New Ulm’s most famous attraction might be the brewery, but no trip is complete without a walk through the city’s charming downtown area, rich with German heritage and proud immigrant history.
So, here’s all the stuff to do when you’re not up at Schell’s drinking pilsners with the Martis.
Walk Minnesota Street
One of the great, sleepy main streets in the state, Minnesota Street is perfect for a leisurely stroll and a bite. Check out the legendary German restaurant, Veigel’s Kaiserhoff, and nearby B&L Bar, which has been pouring Schell’s for more than a century. There are also newer, more modern grubberies like Lola - An American Bistro, which offers a menu as sophisticated as its loft-chic atmosphere. Also on Minnesota are the city’s 45-foot-tall Glockenspiel and the Frederick Kiesling house, one of only three downtown New Ulm structures to survive the Dakota War of 1862.
Summit Hermann The German
There’s no better view of New Ulm’s majestic slice of the Minnesota River Valley than the one to be had atop their greatest monument, Hermann The German. Commissioned in 1887 and taking the better part of a decade to construct, the 4,000-plus pound bronze statue honoring an ancient German army hero sits atop a marble dome for a total height of 102 feet. And although you can’t summit Hermann himself, you can take a spiral staircase and then a ladder to the roof of the dome, where the only thing more dramatic than your panoramic view of the river is the massive German warrior above you.
Visit the Brown County Historical Society Museum
In addition to being one of the most architecturally significant buildings in New Ulm, this German-Renaissance style former post office is also one of its most historically significant: It houses the vast collection and research library of the Brown County Historical Society. A must-stop when you get into town because of its maps of the area’s historical sites, you’ll also learn a thing or two from their collections. The Brown County farming history display is enlightening, but the fully immersive exhibit chronicling the Dakota War of 1862 is next level, and will inform every historic site on the rest of your trip with new meaning.
Have Brunch At Morgan Creek Vineyards
Nestled amidst rolling farm hills just outside of town is one of the more bucolic winery settings this side of Napa Valley. Owned and operated by Ted Marti’s brother Georg and his wife Paula, in addition to offering tasty German, French and American-style wines, Morgan Creek Vineyards offers Sunday brunch on their vineyard-facing patio, with food cooked exclusively in their outdoor wood-fired oven and live classical music accompaniment.
Check Out Some Historic Homes
August Schell isn’t the only one with a cool old house in New Ulm, and most of the others are just a few blocks from Minnesota Street. The colorful, Queen Anne style childhood home of author and painter Wanda Gag, which includes works from Gag and her painter father Anton, is at the top of most people’s lists when it comes to house tours, but just down the street the John Lind house is another stately Queen Anne worth a visit. Lind, the 14th Governor of Minnesota and first Swedish-born American to be elected to Congress, built the house in 1887 for the then-princely sum of $5,000.