Summer is the time for slow days, vacations and enjoying life outdoors during the months that don't come with snow and ice. During these days, people in the Hiawatha Valley spend time in and around Lake Pepin: sailing, watching the waves from beaches in Lake City, and camping along the lake in Stockholm, Wis.. While traveling around the Driftless Region, maybe take some time to visit the art galleries that are one of the things that make this pocket of Minnesota and Wisconsin unique.

Secret Heart Gallery

Maiden Rock

B.J. Christofferson opened a little gallery in the heart of Maiden Rock. The artist's art, created for "The 1968 Exhibit," has been seen throughout the country during the show's 10 years of touring.

Locally, Christofferson's catholic imagery can sometimes be spotted on train cars.

Inside the Secret Heart Gallery, visitors find an eclectic collection of items from original artwork and dioramas to tourist-focused pieces like postcards. There are also numerous pieces that Christofferson has brought back to Wisconsin from her trips to Mexico.

Address: W3553 Hwy 35, Maiden Rock, WI 54750

Hours: (spring and summer) Fridays by chance or appointment; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays noon to 4p.m.

Abode Gallery

Stockholm

The Abode Gallery's Facebook page tells its visitors that "In the Home and Lifestyle Store, each and every item has a story - a story about the person who crafted it, about the place it came from and the materials used to create it."

This perfectly describes Abode Gallery in Stockholm. Almost everything is labeled with the artist or creator's name and a little information about them or the piece. The shop is packed with unique and homemade items: wooden vases, blown glass, handmade jewelry, "comfort birds," (they are similar to stress rocks but made of wood and in the shape of a bird) and framed photography and paintings, to name a few.

In the center of the store is a shelf of essential oils and lotions from Minnesota's SunLeaf, which give a calming scent to the whole store.

Address: N2030 Spring St #3, Stockholm, WI 54769

Hours: Monday and Tuesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Purple Turtle Artisan Collective

Stockholm

As the name suggests, the Purple Turtle is host to a variety of artists and crafters and their work. Jewelry, woodwork, pottery, cloth wallets, wooden toys, yarn and more. For those who cannot make it to the store, The Purple Turtle can be found at pop-up shops throughout the region.

Address: N2020 Spring St., Stockholm, WI 54769

Hours: Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday and Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m..

Lake Pepin Pearl Button Co.

Lake City

This three-floored store has a little bit of everything, including free coffee. Shoppers enter the first floor and find a variety of home decor, antiques, gift items and collectables. Upstairs, there are more items and an art gallery that features work from artists on numerous subjects.

There are also numerous Lake Pepin and Lake City items that make for great souvenirs or gifts for those who love the area. Handmade soaps, candles, and sitting on Lake Pepin makes the entire store smell almost as inviting as all of the trinkets found throughout the store.

Address: 226 S. Washington St., Lake City, MN 55041

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Red Wing Artisan Collective

Red Wing

Like many other galleries, the Artisan Collective is, well, a collective of arts and crafts, from candles to coffee cup cozies. Along with the items for sale, the organization offers room for creating and a variety of classes and events throughout the year.

Address: 1523 Old West Main St., Red Wing, MN 55066

Hours: Thursday to Sunday noon to 6 p.m.