A splendid gift book, Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes, comes from architectural historian Larry Millett. The book presents Minnesota history through the lens of 22 homes of distinction. Chock full of historical detail, the book features some 200 stunning photographs from St. Paul native Matt Schmitt. We travel throughout the state to get an insider’s look at “living architecture”—homes from Duluth to Worthington—that showcases exceptional craftsmanship and design. -- Phyllis Alsdurf
Excelsior Bay Books
36 Water St., Excelsior
A long-time Minnetonka resident, Phyllis Alsdurf is a journalism professor at Bethel University in St. Paul. She is the author the children’s book It’s Milking Time (Random House, 2012).
Wine, liquor and beer have always been go-to gifts. But how do you know what to get or how much to spend? I’ve learned during my years of selling wine that the best rule of thumb is to give something you are fond of. My choices for this holiday season:
Napa Cellars Pinot Noir (around $15): Great balanced flavor. Excellent choice with salmon.
Louis Bouillot Cremant du Bourgogne Sparkling Rose (around $20): Everyone loves bubbles for the holidays, and this is my go-to for a gift. Great flavor without a dry or yeasty finish. Cheers! —John Farrell, III
12900 Wayzata Blvd. Minnetonka
John Farrell, III is the VP of sales and merchandising for Haskell’s. His family business has been locally owned and operated since 1934.
As the mastermind behind Nickelback, Chad Kroeger has churned out more hits in 13 years than most artists in a lifetime, including recently released No Fixed Address.
I’ve only heard one song, but “Edge Of A Revolution” is the new album, distilled to four minutes and four seconds. The production polish would make Avril Lavigne’s 17-carat diamond ring blush, and the manufactured outrage has just enough focus to be adopted and regurgitated by millions. The specifics of the outrage don’t matter—dollars do, and Kroeger knows the perfect mix to create a money-making buffet for radio-rock masses to consume. –Alex Skjong
Barnes & Noble
13131 Ridgedale Drive
Alex Skjong has written for a number of publications in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Atlanta