Stillwater  has a host of historic and elegant inns, many in 19th-century lumber baron mansions, and choosing is easy because they are all excellent. Most are members of the Stillwater Bed & Breakfast Association (www.stillwaterbb.com ).
Filled with the bounty from years of compulsive shopping in Southeast Asia, the exotic Elephant Walk (801 Pine St. W., 651/430-0359 or 888/430-0359, www.elephantwalkbb.com , $139–269) has as much character as any bed-and-breakfast in the state. It’s like walking through a funky little museum. Each of the four guestrooms has a private bath, whirlpool, fireplace, and stocked refrigerator.
No detail is overlooked at the spectacular antiques-filled Rivertown Inn (306 Olive St. W., 651/430-2955, www.rivertowninn.com , $175–325), an 1882 Victorian mansion whose period decor is also of museum quality. The nine gorgeous guestrooms each have a private bath, whirlpool, and fireplace. Breakfast is served in the dining room, or you can eat outside in the gazebo.
Both of Stillwater’s historic hotels have large rooms and antique furnishings. The ageless Lowell Inn (102 2nd St. N., 651/439-1100, www.lowellinn.com , $99) opened in 1927, and the rooms, though newly renovated, ooze character. The Water Street Inn (101 Water St. S., 651/439-6000, www.waterstreetinn.us , $129–229), just off the river, occupies a renovated and expanded 1890 commercial building and is equally charming.
The historic inns are a big part of the Stillwater experience, but you can save a lot by spending the night “up on the hill.” Rooms at the Super 8 (2190 Frontage Rd. W., 651/430-3990 or 800/800-8000, www.super8.com , $56–86) are the cheapest in town.