My Tuesday blog posts usually feature restaurants, but I didn’t have the opportunity to try a new one this week. I did visit the Como Park Conservatory, however, and was pleasantly surprised that it coincided with the St. Paul Winter Carnival’s Orchid Show.
Julmarknad at the American Swedish Institute
I love the holidays. One of my favorite holiday traditions is a new one, it’s visiting the American Swedish Institute for Julmarknad. The Best-Good Friend and I buy treasures made by local artisans in the craft market and then take our time exploring the Turnblad Mansion. During the holiday season, the mansion’s rooms are decorated to celebrate the holiday traditions of Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. This annual Christmas Rooms celebration is truly the “Only in Minnesota” holiday experience they strive for.
Wood Lake Nature Center was one of the first nature centers built in the Twin Cities.
Dedicated in 1971, it was once a recreational lake surrounded by homes.
Approximately 72,000 visitors enjoy the 150-acre area annually.
It’s the time of year when I find myself pondering the question… could I run a marathon?
The Twin Cities Marathon is dubbed the Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America and is one of the Top 10 U.S. Marathons. The 26.2 mile course runs through beautiful scenery (right past my house) and finishes at the state capitol.
This year, 8,858 runners finished the race with an average time of 4:18:34. Spectators lined up along the street to wish them well. I wondered how Asha and Chelsea felt when they passed the 14-mile mark; were they kicking ASSphalt or wishing they were drunk?
It was 35 degrees when the runners started out this year, I was still in my jammies and snuggled up in my robe. I wandered out to the race route late after spending a leisurely morning over my breakfast. When I watched the man run past barefoot holding his shoes and socks, I was once again reminded that being a spectator is more my style.
In the late 1970s, Roger Jackson, a Burnsville resident and fire equipment collector started displaying his collection with the help of his friends. A great source of entertainment for local kids, it included a short parade of equipment down Nicollet Avenue.
For more information, visit The Burnsville Fire Muster.
Who doesn’t love a fire truck? How about a hundred fire trucks? It was a lovely day for the Burnsville Fire Muster Parade!
This year had new surprises, like the Ames Horses leading the trucks down the route!
And my absolutely favorites, the Zurhah Motorcycle Corps at the end of the pack!
I grew up hearing stories from my dad about his childhood days visiting the farm. He loved talking about the family gathering to play bluegrass music but I think his favorite memory was daring his brother to pee on the electric fence. He would laugh so hard telling that story, tears would come to his eyes.
Eventually known as “The Great Minnesota Get Together,” the Minnesota State Fair moved from location to location in the early years. The first celebration was near the area that is now downtown Minneapolis. After that it traveled to Rochester, Red Wing, St. Paul, Winona and Owatonna.
After the extensive efforts of civic groups, the Minnesota State Fair finally found its permanent home in 1885. Its current space was donated by the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners and has grown from a 210-acre farm to 320 acres.
In its long history, there have only been five years when it hasn’t been held: 1861 and 1862 due to the Civil War and Dakota Indian Conflict, in 1893 because of scheduling conflicts with the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, in 1945 because of the fuel shortages during WWII, and in 1946 due to a polio epidemic. The Minnesota State Fair is now one of the largest state fairs in the United States by attendance, attracting nearly 1.8 million guests annually.
The Minnesota State Fair was a primary source used in this blog post.
In honor of my birthday, this week’s posts will be all about celebration. First up, a lovely morning spent with The Best-Good Friend. We had a delicious breakfast in her private oasis – we almost forgot we were still in the city:
We found the cattails, which are a favorite of mine. It made me smile to learn they are “cosmopolitan,” which actually means you can find them across all or most of the world, but I like to think of these simple plants as being sophisticated:
You don’t have to go far in Minneapolis to find a quiet retreat. The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary is the oldest public wildflower garden in the country.
A gem in the city, they offer classes and volunteer opportunities – or just a quick retreat into nature on busy day. But if you want to get the most out of your escape, don’t forget your bug repellent.
Minnehaha Falls is one of the most popular parks in Minneapolis. It’s so busy in the summer that I usually avoid it, but I had to see my frozen waterfall thawed. It had to be marvelous right now if someone would actually take a kayak over it.
My favorite park statue had me thinking about The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
I knew nothing about The Honoring All Veterans Memorial in Richfield, Minnesota until The Mother said she had added my dad’s name to it. Their Memorial Day Ceremony was my first visit and it won’t be my last. We have always put flowers on graves for Memorial Day but this was my first official event celebrating veterans and honoring their memory and service. It was a powerful experience.
The Honoring All Veterans Memorial was originally envisioned by Richfield artist Travis Gorshe in 2005 but it wasn’t until 2008 that the centerpiece featuring Charles W. “Chuck” Lindberg was placed. Chuck, a former United States Marine, was part of the combat patrol that climbed Mount Suribachi and raised the first of two U.S. flags on the summit during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.
Originally from North Dakota, Chuck spent most of his life living in Richfield. The last surviving member of the Iwo Jima flag-raising events in 1945, he insisted that the memorial be focused on honoring all veterans and the planning committee has done that well. Surrounding the bronze of Chuck Lindbergh are giant granite slabs etched with the names of veterans from all over the country who have served in war or served in other parts of the world. According to Len Gudmunson, president of the Memorial Board, it is a way to honor ALL veterans. A new slab was revealed on Monday to bring the total number of names inscribed over the past 5 years to 799:
The City of Richfield considers this to be a living monument because it will continue to grow as new names are added. Giant pillars surround the granite slabs representing each branch of service: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Merchant Marines and Navy.
As they say so eloquently on their site, “Just as our military branches continue to live, so will this Veterans Memorial.” If you are interested in learning more, visit the City of Richfield Honoring All Veterans Memorial page or call 612-861-9388 to request a brochure.