Lebanon Hills Campground
It worked out that our friend, Mike, was going to be in Minneapolis for business and since we were going to be there around that time we fine tuned things so we could spend a couple of days together. We sure miss our friends, but being on the road allows us the flexibility to make things like this work! Rose also sent along some delicious cookies. Thanks Rose, missed you!
|Mike & Steve. We wish Rose could have come too!|
What was amazing was we were able to catch a last minute cancellation at the most perfect park. I was looking for something in the country, but close to the airport and the city as we were going to do a city vacation. Lebanon Hills Regional Park is 10 minutes south of the airport. While I was talking to the campground manager on the phone about the campground (this was Labor Day weekend after all) and he was telling me it was full, I saw online that one site looked open. He double checked and confirmed that it was. It was also one of the better spots! Perfect! We'll take it. The park itself is perfectly located, full hookups, great Verizon service, nice long, level sites plenty large enough for bigger RVs, quiet, green and it even has a laundry on site. The park itself has miles of hiking and biking trails with lots of lakes and ponds. $30a night.
|The sites are spaced out nicely.|
We drove to Minneapolis and parked at our first site, the Sculpture Garden. Easy, open parking lot where we could stay until midnight. I think it cost $6 for all day. Not bad at all. We finally had a nice day without rain, not too humid and a nice breeze. We strolled around the park looking at the outdoor sculptures.
We could see the Basilica just across the freeway and decided we'd just walk the rest of the day around the city as much of what we wanted to see was in walkable distance. We wanted some good exercise anyways. The Basilica was just gorgeous on the outside. When aren't they? I love to see the architecture, stained glass and craftsmanship that took years to build these beautiful buildings. Unfortunately it was closed?! I've never seen a church closed before. Since it was Labor Day and the State Fair of Minnesota was going on, I guess they didn't figure anyone would want to go inside :-(
|The Basilica of St. Mary's. It was |
America's first basilica. It was built between 1907 & 1915.
It was getting a bit warm so we decided to find a brewpub to do a little sampling, get a bite to eat and cool off a bit. We joked that they'd probably be closed too. For some reason the directions on each of our phones just wasn't getting us to where we wanted to go. We just decided to head for the heart of downtown and the river. We walked down some of the very pretty streets and ended up at Rock Bottom Brewery. Not what we had in mind, but it will do.
Some strange looking places too. Hell's Kitchen is one I wish we had time to investigate further. Read a little interesting description of the place HERE. This was an interesting storefront for public transit office with a bus coming out of the building.
We wanted to go up in the Foshay building for the great view. It was just around the corner a couple of blocks down. It is the oldest building in Minneapolis, built in 1927. The entrance was very 70s-ish, dark inside with bright lights decorating it in areas. The "W" hotel resides in it now. When we got to the front desk and asked about getting to the observation deck, he said it would be $8 per person, but that it was closed for the holiday. Boy are we striking out. Oh well. Hopefully they didn't turn the river off!
As we walked towards the river you can see all the walkway-bridges that attach each building on almost every block. How smart! No need to get out in those cold, cold snowy winters any more than you have to!
|(note the reflection of the Foshay building)|
|My favorite building. An old fashioned huge skyscraper!!|
We walked over what we thought was the Stone Arch Bridge. It wasn't, but it was a lovely walk anyway and you could enjoy the views of both Minneapolis, St. Paul and the small Nicolette Island.
Once on the other side in St. Paul we walked a beautifully tree lined Main St. It had some shops and restaurants with a small green space across the tree lined street in front of the river with a nice bike path. We decided we were thirsty again. We ordered a drink and thought we'd try something local. An order of Minnesota Walleye Spring Rolls were just the ticket! As we ate, we watched the parade of walkers, joggers, bikers and some folks on Segways.
|Walleye Spring Rolls|
Once finished we started to cross the street and noticed a station where you could rent city bikes for a small fee. It's a hop on/hop off type of system where you can rent and return them to any station in the city. We've seen these at some of the larger cities. It's a great way to get people off their tuckus and get some exercise, utilize the beautiful bike trails and keep less cars on the road. By this time we had walked about 3 miles and thought this would be a wonderful way to wrap up our city time. And it was. We enjoyed the heck out of day and dropped the bikes off just around the block from the Sculpture Garden where we started.
Steve BBQd some sausages and it was a great dinner al fresco of Italian Sausages, peppers & onions with a nice salad. Of course we had some of Mike's amazing Margaritas beforehand.
What a great day! Even though many things were closed for Labor Day we had a great time. Surprisingly one of my favorite since we've been on the road. I'm definitely an outdoor girl, but I do like a good day in the city once in a while.