So, Minnesota, Then

Spent a few days last week up in the Twin Cities, visiting Paul, Theresa and Audrey — and their new dog, Pogo. [Also called at various times, PoPo, Pongo, Mongo, Torgo, Togo, Bobo, So-and-so, Bozo —M]

Thursday Arrived into MSP — without any real travel delays, if you can believe that. Found P+T's new (to us) house without a problem, in a nice little '50s-era suburb north of St. Paul. Around sunset, we took a stroll to Lake Johanna, just a couple blocks from their house.

Friday Theresa's mother Trish was around for a couple of days, so she took Audrey off to kindergarten (!); we had a leisurely start to the day before hitting the road to Taylors Falls, about an hour north. The interstate park is kind of around and south of the town. We paid our entry, parked the car, and took the River Trail. Around 2 miles, it goes along the St. Croix river; with a late fall just arriving, it was just beautiful out there.

The trail ends (or begins, I suppose, depending on where you enter the park) at the "potholes," a bunch of natural caves in the rock, including the Bottomless Pit. Now, I know it wasn't really going to be bottomless — but when I could actually see the bottom, about 60' down, I felt a bit cheated.

Across the street, to the town itself, for a little lunch. Including fried cheese curds. Mmmmmmm.

A stroll back along the other side of the highway, along what used to be a rail line. And then the scenic route home in time for some sitting outside in the last light of the evening, playing with the dog. Then off to Muffaletta for dinner. Choosing from the menu was agonizing, everything sounded so good. And everything we got was.

So, at the booth, then, Monica had a view of the door. And — stop and think for a moment. How likely are you to see a celebrity in St. Paul? I mean, nothing against the city, but who would be in St. Paul? That's right, Garrison Keillor came into the restaurant, and took the table next to us. Since he was with some friends, we opted not to interrupt him, but it was kinda fun catching bits of that voice.

Saturday We had timed our trip so that we could attend FallCon. Mon and I got a great breakfast at Keys Cafe before heading to the convention, while everyone else went about their weekend business. There was to be a family gathering later in the day for Marcus' birthday, so we got to the convention early and hit it in a whirlwind. I met up with the local creators group, we worked our way through the vendors, and then headed off to Marcus and Melissa's house in Minneapolis. Still nice enough to sit outside, visiting and playing with their Australian Shepherd puppy. Kelly and Julie were there, with the twins, and we also got to meet Marcus and Melissa's new daughter. Back to P+T's for the ribs we had sent from Rendezvous, in honor of that Memphis trip a few years back.

Sunday was gray and rainy — kind of a novelty for us — so we enjoyed the lazy morning, lingering over a late breakfast and the comics section.

Then headed into the city to The Walker. There's a Modernist prefab house from Flatpak outside these days that was fun to check out (and imagine as a casita out back).


Inside, the main goal in our visit to the (much expanded since we were last there) museum was the Saarinen show, but there was also time to check out Statements, Mythologies, and the permanent collection. Then it was time for ice cream up the hill at Sebastian Joe's. At home that evening, a fire in the fireplace and beef stew.

Monday Though P+T were off work Monday, Trish was gone by then, and Audrey wanted to skip her usual after school activities to spend the afternoon with us. We'd run through our planned activities, but Mon wanted to go to the IKEA that she spotted when the plane was landing. We started at Sunnyside Up Cafe — where they put mushrooms in their sausage gravy.

And then to Open Book. A real singular entity, it combines a letterpress/binding workshop, a gift store with all sorts of prints from around the country, a gallery space, a small publisher, a coffee shop, and all kinds of meeting rooms in an amazing, large, industrial space. Basically, I could live there. But I chose not to, for now, and we continued on our day. We retrieved Audrey, picked up some cheese and cheese curds, and headed back home for a walk (and bike for Audrey and P) around the neighborhood.

Turned out to be the nicest weather of the whole trip, still warm at the end of the day. But not warm enough that, when Pogo decided to go swimming in the lake, any of us were following him.

Dinner that evening at Tavern on Grand for some walleye (fried, light and crisp) and next door for some ice cream. A little driving around downtown St. Paul, and then home to pack.

Tuesday's trip home was, again, uneventful. Flights were even early, which made for a pleasant conclusion to a terrific trip.


paulbob said...

Bram and Mon,

It was so great to see you guys again. We look forward to our next trip to New Mexico, but we probably won't bring the dog.

P & T & AC

Mouse Jockey said...

Sounds like you had a great time. It made me a little homesick actually. I worked at the Sebastian Joe's one summer when I was living in Minneapolis, literally 3 blocks away, with my Dad. My favorite flavor is Pavarotti and Raspberry Choc. Chip isn't bad either. I was their in Sept. for a wedding but it was so brief I missed my favorite things like that and The Walker. Oh well, it was fun to live vicariously through you. Hope all is well. : ]