Farewell to a Music Legend: Memorial at Paisley Park

PaintingThe world lost a music icon on Thursday, April 24 but in Minnesota we lost a hometown hero.

In this week’s Minnesota Mondays post I wanted to share a first-hand account of the memorial that has formed outside Prince’s home and studio—Paisley Park.

On Saturday evening just before six, I made my way out to Chanhassen to pay tribute to the music legend. As I made my way closer, the traffic on Highway 5 began to slow, and I saw the lines of cars making their way to find parking within Lake Ann Regional Park and streams of people dressed in purple, carrying signs, flowers and mementos. As I became part of those walking along the trail to Paisley Park, I was taken aback by the sheer volume of people who had come out on a Saturday night to pay their respects. As I got to the fence surrounding Paisley Park, the massive amount of purple balloons, flowers and people just amazed me. The fence was lined with cards, drawings, notes, paintings, buttons and bouquets of Tootsie Pops. Prince’s music was playing, press trucks were lined up along Audubon Road and thousands of mourners were gathered at the site, somberly paying respect to a life lost, yet celebrating the legendary work of the artist at the same time.

The rainy weather had moved out, there was a soft breeze blowing and the sun illuminated all of the purple along the fence. Family and friends were coming out of the private memorial that had just ended, media outlets were reporting live from the scene, artist Dan Lacey was adding details to a painting of Prince, there were multiple languages being spoken and people of all ages and ethnicities were amongst the crowd. It was truly a moving experience and it was clear to see the depth and importance of Prince’s music.

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Sadly, I don’t think we always realize the profound greatness of people until they’re gone. Growing up in the 1980’s as a child in Minnesota, Prince’s music was everywhere. It seems nearly everyone has a Prince-related story  to share with everything from sightings of Prince at The Dakota, Paisley Park parties and even a sweet story of him stopping by a young girl’s lemonade stand. As a music lover myself, I always enjoyed when artists would sing a Prince song at a concert, and I knew he had a lot of fans, but standing at the fence on Saturday, I realized I hadn’t fully recognized all that Prince had given to the state of Minnesota. He put our local music on the map and gave the state some serious street cred. Plus, regardless of his success, he stayed local, created thousands of musical masterpieces and ultimately left this earth right at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota, within an unassuming white structure along Highway 5.

Unfortunately, I don’t have my own story to tell about the time I met Prince. But as a writer, music aficionado and Minnesotan, I want to say thank you to Prince for your music that you shared with the world and bid you a fond farewell. #RIPPrince #Prince #Purple

What’s your favorite Prince-related memory?


A Spring Stroll Around Lake Harriet

It’s official—spring has sprung in the Twin Cities! The birds have arrived, trees are budding and the locals are all about getting outside! In honor of Earth Day coming later this week (April 22), today’s #MNMondays feature is all about an ideal place to enjoy nature without leaving Minneapolis—a walk (or bike) around Lake Harriet.

Part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park, Lake Harriet is circled by a 2.75-mile pedestrian trail and slightly larger bicycle trail, which connect to the larger trail system along the shores of Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. Picturesque and relaxing, visitors can see a variety of birds and duck species as well as a plethora of trees and foliage. There’s also a marina for non-motorized watercraft, canoe rentals, multiple fishing piers at various points around the lake and two swimming beaches. Plus, a rose garden during the warmer months!

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In addition, there’s the Lake Harriet Bandshell with live performances throughout the summer, and Bread & Pickle—a walk-up eatery with casual dining options and plenty of tables for waterfront dining (and an indoor restroom).Bandshell

While all of the lakes within the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park are nice, I find Lake Harriet particularly appealing because it’s  a bit more relaxed and slightly more secluded than the trails around Lake Calhoun. It’s a lovely walk around the lake with nice breezes and plenty of wildlife sightings—plus there’s a tree with a fairy door—how many lakes offer that?FairyDoor

It’s also a nice spot to relax by the waterfront while enjoying a snack from Bread & Pickle or to hop on the vintage Como-Harriet Streetcar Line for a summertime ride over to Lake Calhoun.

All in all, Lake Harriet is the perfect place to relax, enjoy nature and unplug from the daily grind without leaving the Minneapolis city limits!DuckCouple

Minnesota Twins Home Opener 2016

ScoreboardThis week’s Minnesota Mondays feature is all about the Twins Home Opener—which in my eyes is a holiday. There’s nothing like arriving at the ballpark for the first game of the season, cheering for the players as the lineup is announced, seeing the large American flag unfurled in the outfield and seeing the fighter jets flyover the stadium at the end of the National Anthem.

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In addition to the excitement of a new baseball season beginning, Target Field introduces new ballpark foods each year—and this season fans were treated to a really exciting new feature “Minnie & Paul’s.” Located in the former “Batter’s Eye” section in the upper deck above center field, this new area features two new food options—Red Cow and Pizza Luce—two popular eateries in the metro area. Red Cow offers three gourmet burger options, including a turkey burger option, plus beer battered french fries and craft beers. Pizza Luce has by the slice or whole pizza in four flavors—cheese, Athena, pepperoni and the T.C. Bear meat lover’s option only available at Target Field (I highly recommend the T.C. Bear pizza–very delicious). Besides the new food options at Minnie & Paul’s, there’s a full-service bar, dining tables and chair rails with fantastic ballpark views.

Throughout the ballpark there’s additional new dining choices, including chili from the Loon Cafe, gelato from Izzy’s Ice Cream and the “Grape Ape” cocktail.

Unfortunately, the Twins didn’t win the game but it’s sure to be another great season filled with fabulous foods and fun at Target Field!TC


There’s No Place Like Target Field

Happy Opening Day 2016!
The wait is almost over, in just one week I can go back to my happy place—Target Field. While there are a lot of great destinations around the state…few things can compete with a beautiful day at the ballpark.

Offering skyline views and concessions featuring local flavors like Kramarczuk’s brats and hot dogs, Izzy’s ice cream, Murray’s steak sandwich and Mac’s fish & chips, Target Field provides a one-of-a-kind experience for all who enter its gates.

Izzy’s Ice Cream
Murray’s Steak Sandwich at the Town Ball Tavern

Whether you splurge on seats right behind home plate or save your cash for some good eats and sit in the cheap seats, there’s really not a bad seat in the house. Plus, all fans have access to the Twins Pub where you can watch the in-game organist play, Barrio bar and lounge overlooking the outfield and a variety of great spots along the rails where you can stop and ponder the meaning of baseball and take in the ballpark in all of its glory. If you want to set a spell and grab a bite to eat, the ballpark has two full-service restaurants open to everyone—Hrbek’s and the Town Ball Tavern—ideal for pregame meals or rain delays.
It’s been almost six months since the end of the season and I’m so excited for the Home Opener.
Tell me, what excited you the most about MLB’s Opening Day 2016?
Stay tuned…next week’s Minnesota Mondays I will take you inside the ballpark for the Minnesota Twins Home Opener!