Dinner cruise to celebrate Walter Mondale’s love of Scandia and the St. Croix

Eat like Walter and Joan Mondale while cruising the river they loved — and celebrate the 55th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.




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U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale lifts his Thanks Giving turkey from the broiler, Thursday, Nov.11, 1977 in the kitchen of his Washington residence. “Every Thanksgiving,” Mondale stated, “I make the turkey and let my wife sleep.” (AP Photo)

Wherever you go in Scandia – or up and down the St. Croix River Valley, for that matter – you can’t help but come across the legacy of Walter Mondale.

He ate here. He slept here. He relaxed here. And through the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, he made sure that the St. Croix would remain unspoiled so that future generations could enjoy it as much as he did.

America’s 42nd vice president is as much a part of Scandia’s heritage as the immigrants who made it Minnesota’s first Swedish settlement. To celebrate Mondale’s connection to Scandia and his love of the river, Scandia Heritage Alliance is sponsoring a dinner cruise June 8 featuring stories, history, photos – and the food that Mondale loved.

Longtime friend Peter Gove, who will present that history, notes that Mondale’s first date with his future wife, Joan, was on the St. Croix. They owned a cabin in Scandia for 26 years that was a summer gathering place for generations of their family. Mondale may have been one of the most powerful men in the world, but he also was a member of the Scandia community, patronizing its festivals, local restaurants and shops.

On board the Taylors Falls Princess (Greg Seitz/St. Croix 360)

Joan told reporters during Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign that he loved to cook because it was an all-consuming contrast to his public life. He wrote down recipes on scraps of paper or the backs of envelopes, and then stuffed them into a card file. 

The casual buffet on board the river cruise will include recipes from the Mondale family recipe book, including Fettucine a la Pimento Mondale, wild rice casserole, a salad and a selection of Mondale family favorite sweets. Chicken will be served on the side. 

Proceeds from the evening will support Scandia Heritage Alliance, which strives to preserve and celebrate Scandia’s history, culture, arts, and rural character. Its projects include the Water Tower Barn arts and heritage center, Scandia Heritage Trail and Scandia History Series. 

The event will launch from Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours at Interstate Park at 6 p.m. on June 8. Tickets are $70 per person, and available at scandiaheritage.eventbrite.com through May 31. You can also contact Susan Rodsjo at 651-233-0267 to reserve your space and send a check to Scandia Heritage Alliance, PO Box 159, Scandia, MN 55073. 


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Dinner cruise to celebrate Walter Mondale’s love of Scandia and the St. Croix