Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Midwest Summer's Night's Dream

Here are some key ingredients:
  • Temperatures in the mid-60s
  • Minimal mosquitoes
and ample doses of the following:

Leine's Summer Shandy is a "limited edition" treat that somehow makes the mixture of beer and lemonade tasty. Mighty tasty.

Some grilled grass-fed bison steaks from the St. Paul Farmer's Market.

And Ladder Ball -- a game I had never seen until moving back here last summer. It's just the right speed for a summer's evening.

Top it all off with a cone from Izzy's. If I'm ever in luck, they'll make a batch of the salty caramel ice cream I've only ever read about!

Friday, June 27, 2008

St. Paul's Riverfront

I've come to realize that it really isn't fair to compare Minneapolis' riverfront with Saint Paul's. Constrained by bluffs and an active railroad track, downtown Saint Paul just simply doesn't have the same easy access to the Mississippi that its brother upstream has. Nonetheless, Saint Paul really has done a good job making the riverbanks an attractive place to be. All along Shepard Road the river is flanked by a beautiful landscaped trail--divided for cycling and walking traffic. There are lovely flowers and grasses and lots of points where you can pull off and check out the river. Teresa Boardman, author and photographer of the excellent "St. Paul Real Estate Blog" has some great photos of one of the newest park installments on the east bank (north side) of the river. Check these out:

The park is really bringing you right down to the water's edge, while still giving you the great sense of urbanity--with the High Bridge and the skyline in the distance.

So Saint Paul, hat's off! You've done some great work on your waterfront given all that you've had working against you. Kudos!

All images: Teresa Boardman.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Me, Mayor Rybak, and Facebook

While it's true that I may be a dork, I seem to be in good company with the 1,434 other individuals who have Mayor R.T. Rybak listed as a friend in Facebook. I'm already a bit beyond the intended Facebook generation, but it seems to me that we are supposed to "friend" those people that we have established, or at least tangible, relationships with. Arguably, some of these 1,400-plus people actually know the Mayor, but I can't claim that. Yet when I discovered that one of my favorite elected officials had a Facebook page, I was compelled to invite him to become a friend of mine. Why? I'm not sure, but I couldn't resist the Starsky and Hutch-like photo on his profile page (see left) and well, who doesn't secretly aspire to having a famous friend--even if it's only on Facebook?

Invite R.T. to be a Facebook friend of yours, here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Get local on Etsy

I love website where you can buy and sell any manner of homemade art and craft. I've been looking for some artwork for our daughter's and still-gestating son's bedrooms. I'm a big fan of printmaking and I was delighted to discover a Minnesotan whose work is colorful, inventive and sweet. Check out Studio Mela's Etsy page here. If you want to shop local on a global website, you can use Etsy's "Geolocator" tool that allows you to select a state and city and then pulls up all of the sellers based there. Nice touch.

Now if only I could make up my mind about which prints to buy...

Image: Shelli at Studio Mela.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summertime on Harriet Island

The combination of the breeze coming off of the Mississippi and the warmth of a cloudless eve-of-summer sky, made this morning's visit to Harriet Island resplendent. Add in the peerless view of the downtown St. Paul skyline and the occasional, enormous piece of floating driftwood and you've got a pretty perfect setting for me. Now, if you asked the toddler what was so great about the place this morning, she'd probably tell you:
1) The duck and egret on the water.
2) The train chugging down the tracks adjacent to downtown.
3) The horn on the sternwheelers.
4) The slides and swings on the playground, and
5) Last, but certainly not least, the tuba player who was part of today's free children's music ensemble in the gorgeous Clarence Wigington Pavilion. The series will be going on all summer, check out the schedule here.

Enjoy your parks Twin Citians--they are a true delight!

image: Clarence Wigington Pavilion, City of St. Paul.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Living the Luxe Life for a Night

After years of sleeping in hostels, on friends' couches, and in cheap roadside inns, I've grown into adulthood appreciating the occasional indulgence of a luxury hotel. Around the same time, I also discovered that these lovely refuges also tended to have equally indulgent bars. It wasn't so long ago that the Twin Cities didn't have much to speak of in this department--with the exception of some of our lovely historic hotels. So I've been overjoyed by the presence of such glamorous accommodations as the Chambers, the Graves 601 (which I had the pleasure of staying in when it was Le Meridien, and it was a pleasure then too!), the new Westin, Hotel Ivy, and my personal favorite from other cities, the forthcoming W Hotel in the Foshay Tower. At this point in time, I'm most likely to pop in for the occasional cocktail and ogling of art and architecture (have you checked out the interior space of Bank, in the Westin?!?), but I hope that in the nearer future my husband and I can play tourists for a night, complete with wining, dining, and sleeping in some nouveau luxury!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Calling the University District Home

Bringing together businesses, the U, neighborhood advocates, and the city of Minneapolis, the University District Partnership Alliance--comprised of the SE Como, Marcy-Holmes, SE Industrial Area, U of M, Cedar-Riverside, and Prospect Park neighborhoods--aims to "preserve and promote the district as a place to live, learn, and do business." With funding from the state legislature, the Partnership will be offering home ownership incentives in the area, creating neighborhood visions and plans, and telling the stories of residents who love living there. I love the idea and structure of this program--part marketing, part economic development, part residential stabilization, and part community building. I wish them the best of luck in their endeavors!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Free Summer Historic Walking Tours in Minneapolis

Want to know the history of Elliot Park? How about the a glimpse into early 20th Century Jewish life on the Northside of Minneapolis? Well, you can learn more about these and other Minneapolis neighborhoods and historic sites by participating in any of the numerous free walking tours hosted by the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission. The schedule is posted here.

image: from the City of Minneapolis, inside the Shubert Theater on the 2007 tour.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A taste of summer

Nothing says summer like a trip to Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis--preferably via bike--and lunch at the Sea Salt Eatery, complete with a fried fish sandwich and a frosty pitcher of beer. For the uninitiated, Sea Salt is actually located within the park--its a concession of the park building right near the falls and parking lot. So enjoy your summer meal, stellar people watching, and the lovely setting of Minnehaha Park--not bad for an all-inclusive package!

image: Roman Espiritu