Category Archives: Minnesota Mondays

One, Two, Three Strikes and Fireworks!

It’s almost the Fourth of July, which has me thinking about fireworks…and I have to say, one of my favorite spots to see a great show is at Target Field.

Target_Field_Fireworks_2From Memorial Day to Labor Day, every Minnesota Twins Friday night home game at Target Field is a Fireworks Night. That’s right…even if it’s not the Fourth of July you can enjoy a spectacle of fireworks!

Target_Field_Fireworks_3jpgThe show happens in Center Field, just beyond Minnie & Paul. On Friday nights, after nine innings of baseball, fans can stay in their seats (or move closer for a better view of the outfield) and watch the countdown clock. The stadium will go dark, and “bing, bang, boom” the sky above Target Field will become illuminated with an array of fireworks that usually inspire  a good deal of “oohs and ahhs” from the crowd, regardless of the game’s final score.

What’s your favorite fireworks memory at Target Field?


Flying Into Summer: The Aveda Butterfly Garden

As summer officially begins, there’s something special in the air at the Minnesota Zoo—the Aveda Butterfly Garden.  Just beyond of the Tropics Trail, visitors step outside and into a screen tent filled with flowers and plants…and lots of butterflies!

It’s a beautifully serene environment, where the birds outside of the tent are chirping, the scent of wildflowers fills the air and butterflies slowly bat their wings as they fly from one flower to another, sometimes landing on the shoulder (or nose) of zoo visitors. As a guest, you are asked to be cautious, as you never know where the butterflies may land…often it can be right on the path in front of you. The varied amounts of colors and sizes of butterfly species within the garden is amazing…it seems like no two are exactly alike.

The special summer exhibit is open from June 18 to September 5. If you visit, be sure to bring your camera. There’s plenty of photo opportunities to capture nature’s bounty of colors. #MnMondays

Bridge Back In Time

The Stone Arch Bridge crosses over the Mississippi River, connecting downtown Minneapolis to St. Anthony Main. Built by James J. Hill in 1883, the granite and limestone bridge consists of 23 arches.

StoneArch_MillCityViewFeaturing fantastic views of St. Anthony Falls, downtown skyline and the river, the pedestrian-only bridge is a popular place for locals and visitors. On the downtown side you’ll find Gold Medal Park where you can enjoy an urban park setting, the Guthrie Theater for local entertainment and the Mill City Museum which celebrates the city’s flour-focused beginnings.

StoneArch_CityViewOn the other side of Stone Arch is St. Anthony Main, a historic area which was once the home of flour mills. Today, you’ll find a variety of eateries including Tugg’s Tavern which offers an outdoor patio ideal for sipping a fresh-squeezed spiked lemonade.

Insider tip: when you’re in Gold Medal Park, grab ice cream at Izzy’s Ice Cream.

Where’s your favorite vantage point of the Stone Arch Bridge?

A Lift Bridge, Lighthouse and Loss of a Legendary Lady

As a tribute to my Great-Great Aunt Ruby—one of Duluth’s finest residents who passed away last week, today’s #MnMondays is all about Canal Park in Duluth, Mn.

Situated on the westernmost tip of Lake Superior, Canal Park is home to lighthouses, the famous Lift Bridge, Lake Superior Marine Museum and a variety of shops, hotels and restaurants. Popular with visitors and locals alike, the park welcomes guests and ships from around the world. This summer, the port will host the Tall Ships Festival from August 18-21. In addition to a variety of ships, the celebration will include the arrival of the Draken Harald Hårfagre—a hand-constructed Viking replica ship from Norway.

One of the loveliest views of the city, port and lakefront can be found by taking a walk out to the Duluth North Pier Lighthouse. Built in 1909, the structure is not open for tours, but it’s the perfect spot for photos.

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For those craving in-depth details about Lake Superior, shipwrecks and historical details, the Lake Superior Marine Museum. Need a little retail therapy? The DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace is former manufacturing warehouse built in 1909 that was transformed into a shopping and restaurant space in the 1980’s. If breweries are your thing, the Canal Park Brewing Company offers lake views, craft brews and pub foods.


LakeSuperiorProud Duluth resident for more than 50 years, my Great-Great Aunt Ruby was one of a kind. She and her dear husband Bob met many years ago in camera club and traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada capturing nature’s beauty through their camera lenses. Avid storytellers, they shared their photos and experiences with such great detail. As a young girl, I was inspired by their stories and credit them for my early interest in photography and travel writing. She’d come to the cities to visit, always bringing candy and bars to share while catching up over coffee.

The last time I visited with Ruby at the nursing home, we asked her what she missed the most and she said “My Freedom.” After 92 years on earth she has her angel wings along with the freedom to explore heaven with Bob, sip coffee with her siblings and flaunt her Norwegian pride.

In Ruby (and Bob’s) honor, I shall go forth with my camera in hand to capture all of life’s journeys…

Photo credit: the above photo was taken by Ruby’s late husband, Bob.

Historic Fort Snelling and National Cemetery

For centuries, brave men and women have volunteered to put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. In honor of Memorial Day, this week’s Minnesota Mondays focuses on Historic Fort Snelling. Situated where the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers meet, the fort was founded in 1820 to protect the fur trade. Throughout the years the fort played a key role in the American expansion while housing multiple military dignitaries, Presidents and enslaved people, including Dred and Harriet Scott. It also served as an internment camp in 1862, after the U.S.-Dakota War and the fort was used as a training center from the Civil War through World War II.Today, visitors to the historic site can experience what life was like in the 1800’s. They can visit the hospital and learn about the medicinal practices of the times, step into Sutler’s Store to see what items were available to soldiers for purchase, check out the barracks, Commanding Officer’s House, schoolhouse, Squad Room, Post Shops, Half-Moon Battery and the Round Tower.

Throughout the site, there are costumed staff to describe life at the fort. There’s also a variety of events throughout the day including Cannon and Infantry Drills, cooking demonstrations and Retreat Parades.

Give yourself plenty of time (at least 2.5 hours) to take in the site…and be sure to go to the top of the Round Tower for a great overview of the entire fort and an ideal spot for photos.

In addition to the historic site, Fort Snelling National Cemetery is just a few miles away. The final resting place of generations of military heroes (including my own beloved Grandfather), it’s a beautiful place to visit and honor those who have served our country with pride.

Cheers to Patio Season!


As the days grow longer and temps get higher in Minneapolis, there’s no place quite like the Rooftop Garden at Brit’s Pub. Located along the Nicollet Mall, the pub offers an authentic British Pub atmosphere with a dark wood bar, brown leather couches and plenty of TVs tuned into soccer matches.

While the atmosphere in the pub is rather inviting, if the weather is warm you need to make your way up the stairwell and onto the patio where you can sip a pint with views of the surrounding downtown buildings, listen to the British flags blowing in the breeze and perhaps enjoy some lawn bowling.

GardenFeeling hungry? The menu offers a variety of good eats including a superb Fish & Chips. On select summer evenings you can enjoy a movie on the lawn and other special events.

Be sure to take a selfie at the red phone booth! IMG_6059


Deliciously Retro

Is there anything more refreshing than a frosted mug of A&W Root beer?

MugIf you’re in need of a nostalgic dining experience, drive along I-35 to Faribault, MN. There you’ll find the Faribault A&W Drive-In  with carhop service during warmer months and an eat-in restaurant.

If you dine inside, you’ll be greeted by the classic Spokesbear Rooty, along with a mod take on the classic A&W color scheme with table service. Grab a spot to sit, peruse through the menu, and the restaurant’s speedy servers will get you a frosted mug of root beer in no time at all (and refill it while you enjoy your burger and fries).

It’s the ideal place to sip and remember the good ‘ol days of road trips, drive-ins and classic cars. #MNMondays #OnlyinMN #A&WRootbeer #Frostymug



Minnehaha Falls—A Minnesota Tradition

With Memorial Day less than three weeks away, I’ve got summer on the brain. One of my favorite warm weather spots in the metro is Minnehaha Falls. Situated right off the light rail line and close to the Mall of America, the Minnehaha Regional Park is the ideal place for enjoying some time outside.

Visitors can take the stairs/trail down to get an up close view of the 53-foot waterfall, or they can meander around the park area exploring river overlooks, limestone bluffs and historic buildings such as the Princess Depot, Longfellow House and John H. Stevens House. There’s also a variety of walking trails leading to Fort Snelling State Park, as well as gardens, picnic areas, a disc golf course and art sculptures.

MinnehahaFalls1If you have a hankering to dine on some fish, the park’s seasonal Sea Salt Eatery is open from April to late October in the Minnehaha Park Pavilion. Serving a variety of fish entrees and craft beers, the restaurant is a popular spot to grab a bite to eat—plan ahead there’s often a very long line!SeaSalt

Now, if we could just get this rain to move out of town…

#MNMondays #MinnehahaFalls #OnlyinMN

A “Welcome Home” Sign of Sorts

Perched on a hillside along Interstate 35 in Glenville, Minnesota, the Round Prairie Lutheran Church feels like a “Welcome Home” sign to me. Just two miles north of the Iowa-Minnesota Border, the little white church has been an iconic landmark on every family road trip, as well as all of my trips home from Drake University. This past weekend was no exception. In fact, not only did we drive by the classic church on the way back from Des Moines, but it was just after the building welcomed us back into the state that the clouds parted and we finally saw some sunshine after a rainy Drake Relays/Garth Brooks concert weekend getaway.

While I’ve never been inside, seeing the quintessential white church building always makes me happy. It’s a little beacon marking that the trip may be reaching its end, but the journey has been safe thus far.

According to the Albert Lea Tribune, the church celebrated its 150th Anniversary last fall. Judging by the photos on the Round Prairie Lutheran website, the church founded by Norwegian immigrants is as charming on the inside as it is on the outside…perhaps next time I should swing by for a service…#MNMondays #RoundPrairieLutheran

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?