Im from a suburb of the Twin Cities, and there are a bunch of really great stores there, and its only about a 40 minute drive. I would recommend stocking up on your patagonia and marmot apparel before heading up to Northfield (where the shopping opps are slim!)
Thanks for all the info about the cold! Hearing all of this has made me realize that I really could handle it, which will make my decision a lot easier! I was looking at a similar school (Davidson), which is in a warmer place, but I'm starting to like Carleton more.
We visited the last week in April, and the weather was picture-perfect. Sunny and a high in the 60s, I think. I was walking around in jeans and a little fleece jacket, and the girls were sunning in the Bald Spot in shorts and spaghetti straps. It's all a matter of perspective.
kgkendall, my son graduated from Carleton last summer, and we're from Tennessee. He loved his time as a Carl and was fine with Minnesota weather. He's now in Boston and said that boots are more necessary there because it tends to be a more wet snow. He never bother with them in Northfield.
Like you, we don't have good cold-weather stores here. I bought a lot of stuff from L.L. Bean. Good luck with your decision!
Rejected, got my letter today in the L.A. suburbs. I wasn't really surprised, and I've gotten into some other places I like, but the words, "we are sorry to inform you" never really get easier to read.