"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fun in Minneapolis

August 30
Minneapolis, MN
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.

Full Hookups

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.
 
Next we took a short walk to the United Methodist Church.  Another gorgeous church!  Again, closed.  Bummer.  It had a huge stained glass window in the front that the sun was shining on and promised to flood the church with color.  Darn it! 



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.

5 comments:

  1. we stayed in that very park when were in Minneapolis, and loved it as well. . .we toured mostly in St Paul I guess. . .we certainly didn't see as many things in Minneapolis as you guys did. . .would definitely return.

    http://readytogofulltimerving.blogspot.com/2014/08/st-paulminnesotas-state-capitol.html

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    1. Janice your post and pictures were beautiful. Now I wish we had spent more time to in St. Paul. Funny how I rarely say, We've seen it all, let's go. It's more like, we'll have to come back!

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  2. You were able to see some great sites even though so many were closed! I'm trying to keep an open mind about visiting cities - I've seen some great posts over the summer and yours just adds to those! Those bikes are such a smart idea :-)

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  3. If we thought ahead, we'd have brought our own bikes as those rental lack any shock absorbers at all! Not that comfortable going over cobblestone paths, curbs, etc. But such a wonderful idea and way to get around. We'd definitely do it again in any big city where what we want to see isn't too spread out or in really hilly terrain. The campground felt as if it were no where near the city. It is a huge, green park.

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  4. When I was in Minneapolis a few years ago, I too walked past Hell's Kitchen and wondered what was inside. I had already filled my tummy with fish 'n chips from the english pub down the street. A group of us took the light rail past the Vikings stadium and on to Mall of America. It's definitely a must see stop if you have time.

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