CategoryHistory

The Last Voyage of the Sea Wing

T

My grandmother has always been afraid of water. She once told me that her father lost some relatives in a Lake Pepin disaster and from that point on he was afraid of water. He would fish from shore, never went in a boat, and didn’t have his children learn how to swim – in turn he passed his fear on to his daughter. It wasn’t until the 1970s when she found a letter in a drawer...

Exploring Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog

E

Temperatures were in the negative digits and the sun was still below the horizon when we left the Bed & Breakfast in Hibbing, Minnesota. It was nearly 6am as we pointed our car towards Sax-Zim Bog, a layer of ice coated the rear window and we had every inch of skin covered in anticipation of the winds whipping the snowy landscape – but we wanted to see a Great Gray Owl.

Fort Snelling: Going Back in Time

F

Located in the heart of the Twin Cities where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers converge, Fort Snelling State Park provides not only a quick nature escape, but also the opportunity to temporarily go back in time. When I walk through the park, I always find myself reflecting on the early days of Minnesota’s history and imagining what it must have been like for the first people living here...

History in Horticulture: The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

H

“He taught both in scientific words and with dirt-stained hands….” – Jane McKinnon The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is the Upper Midwest’s largest public garden and is open 363 days a year. Part of the University of Minnesota, the earliest grounds were established in 1907 as the Horticultural Research Center. They developed cold-hardy crops and we have them to thank...

Ho Ho Ho… Green Giant!

H

Did you know that Minnesota is home to The Jolly Green Giant? When I started researching this, I hadn’t realized that there was a 55-foot tall fiberglass statue in Blue Earth, MN. I was aware of the enormous wooden sign of the Giant (with Sprout!) on Route 169 near Le Sueur, however. The few times we drove by when I was a kid, I remember waving at the sign enthusiastically and being amazed...

The Woman Behind Cafe Maude

T

One of the things I love about the local eateries in Minneapolis is that they often have a story, and usually they are stories I didn’t know. Cafe Maude in southwest Minneapolis, for example, was named after Maude Armatage, a woman basically forgotten to history. Enticed to do a little Googling, I learned that Maude was considered a driving force in helping Minneapolis come of age in the...

The Coldest Day in Minnesota History

T

While the term “Polar Vortex” hasn’t been tossed around yet, Minnesota has been in a deep freeze this week. Cold temperatures and dangerous windchills have prompted school closings and there is no activity on my street with the exception of the mailman who races quickly past each day, bundled up in heavy boots, ski pants and face mask. Contrary to popular belief, until last year...

Heidi Van Heel

Heidi Van Heel

Writer, freelancer, and believer in magic living in Minneapolis. In my free time, I love reading, exploring the great outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

View Full Profile →

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow me on Twitter