A sandstone quarry was cut into the Kettle River bluffs here in 1885, and this city grew up alongside it. The town was completely wiped out by the same fire that destroyed Hinckley  in 1894; most of the population rode out the inferno in the river.
Highway 23, aka the Veterans Evergreen Memorial Drive Scenic Byway, leads from here all the way to Duluth  and has long been the scenic route to Lake Superior.
The tiny Sandstone History & Art Center (402 Main St., 320/245-2271, 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Thurs., noon–4 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat., $1 adults), built of local stone, features a diorama of the quarry and not much else.
You can walk around the real thing in Robinson Park on the east edge of town along 3rd Street. The self-guided trail map available at the museum gives a history of the site and details what remains after 50 years of cutting.
While the Audubon Center of the North Woods (54165 Audubon Dr., 320/245-2648 or 888/404-7743, www.audubon-center.org ) specializes in group educational programs, visitors are warmly welcomed. The center rehabilitates animals for release into the wild and has seven resident raptors. There are several gentle trails around the center, and the shop is an excellent source of Northwoods information.
If twang is your thang, you’ll want a ticket for the Midwest Country Music Theater (309 Commercial Ave., 320/245-2429, www.midwestcountry.com , $15–22), a 300-seat venue with weekend Grand Ole Opry–style shows.
If you are going to stick around a while, or are visiting nearby Banning State Park  but not camping, consider the small and simple 61 Motel (1409 Hwy 23 N., 320/245-5419, $40). It’s so old it’s now a classic, but it passes the white-glove test.
Jefferson Lines (888/864-2832, www.jeffersonlines.com ) buses stop at the BP Convenience Store station along Highway 23.