Did Vikings really arrive in Alexandria in 1362? Who knows, but it's fun to speculate about it while basking on one of the lakes that surround the "birthplace of America,'' only two hours northwest of the Twin Cities.
What to do: Ride the 55-mile Central Lakes Trail. Swim at Lake Carlos State Park (pictured). Visit Carlos Creek Winery. Go to the Runestone Museum to learn about those early Vikings. Visit the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum.
Events to catch: Aug. 5-13, Festival of the Lakes chamber music series.
Information: For more, see Alexandria's enigma.