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Visiting Minneapolis

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Sebastopol, CA
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Visiting Minneapolis

I was born in Minneapolis but my family moved to Calif when I was 5 and I've never been back. I am 60 years old and my sister is 12 years older than me. We lived in the Centerville/Hugo area and she went to White Bear Lake HS.

Next month I am taking my sister on a trip to the mid-West. We are staying with friend in Mason City, IA and plan to drive up in to Minnesota and see the area where she grew up. We'll be spending one night in Forest Lake. Any suggestions of things to do and see would be appreciated. I am an avid amateur photographer and am looking forward to taking pictures. Where should I go?

Minneapolis...
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1. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

Assuming you have no transportation limitations, I would visit one of two places, or both:

1. Chain of Lakes. Specifically Lake Harriet, the prettiest of the chain. This is an area that is designed for walkers, bikers, rollerbladers with low traffic and tons of natural beauty and charm. If it's next month, the sailboats will probably be gone (which is a great photo op always) but it's still lovely and relaxing.

2. Minnehaha Park. Visit the Minnehaha Falls and take a walk down the path to the River. The path lines the creek downstream of the falls and crosses it several times, making for a beatiful walk through a nice wooded area in a limestone valley. Also, stroll around the park above the falls and stop in for ice cream at the shop Sea Salt. I could spend all day there.

Mpls' nicest feature is its parks. Either one will be very memorable.

Sebastopol, CA
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2. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

Thank you for your response. Minnehaha Falls is definitely on my list of places to see but I didn't know about the Chain of Lakes. Now I have another question.

My brother, who stayed in Minnesota until after the birth of his second child and who goes back yearly for ice-fishing, is telling us that mid-October is too late and that we've made a mistake in our planning. He used the 'i' word (ice). Says it's a possibility. I hear all you Minnesotans laughing but remember--I'm a Californian. I sit through earthquakes with aplomb but I don't do the i-word. Especially in a car. Think we're in trouble?

Minneapolis...
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3. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

I wouldn't say it can't happen (because that would amount to me challenging the MN weather gods, which is just a bad idea) ...

but ice in October is very rare. It's rare to see snow until the very end of October or early November.

Personally, I think early to mid-October is the best time MN has to offer, with leaves changing and the cool breezes. I like 55 degrees and leaves changing. Just grab a sweater and enjoy the sights and smells (of burning birchwood). If enough leaves are on the trees, you'll be amazed at how beautful the Mississippi River Valley is and all the surrounding areas.

Oh, and if you were to choose between Minnehaha Park and the Chain of Lakes, I'd do the park. Both are beautiful though, and each has its own personality. Both have beautiful old houses nearby to see. Probably better house-watching around Lake Harriet.

Better natural beauty and more secluded walks available at Minnehaha Park.

Good people watching both places.

Keep the questions coming if you have them ....

Minneapolis...
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4. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

I should point out that 55 degrees is not what you should expect. MN weather is notoriously inconsistent. I've experienced 90 degrees in mid-October and 20. Best guess would be in the 60s. But keep a watch on the weather channel's web site to see what's in store for you so you can pack accordingly.

Really, it's a beautiful time to visit MN.

Minneapolis
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5. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

Take a walk along the Mississippi Mile -

from the NEW Guthrie

to the Hennepin Bridge

to Nicollet Island

to St. Anthony Main

to Father Hennepin Park

across the Stone Arch Bridge

back to your start at the Guthrie

finish by visiting the bar at the top of the Guthrie (no theatre tix needed) and venture out to the overlook - awesome view.

If time, the Mill City Museum run by the MN Historical Society is next door - and just a few years old.

http://www.minneapolis-riverfront.com/

minneapolisparks.org/grandrounds/dist_DR.htm

http://www.saintanthonymain.com/

http://www.millcitymuseum.org/

Vadnais Heights...
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6. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

If your staying in Forest Lake, I would suggest going to Taylor's Falls, a beautiful quaint town about 20 minutes northeast, right on the St. Croix River! Interstate State Park is right there....cliffs and hiking, watching rock climbers, taking the big paddleboat down the river or even renting a canoe for a couple hours (they provide a shuttle ride back to the parking lot) The town has some antique shops and a couple nice places for lunch. Mid Oct. is usually the peak time for color,but we might be about 1 week early this year... if you hit it right, it's spectacular!

Sebastopol, CA
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7. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

Ah, I'd love to get a peek at the St. Croix. I was actually eyeing Stillwater as a place to spend the night but my sister wanted to be closer to the area she remembers. 50s or 60s would be perfect, expecially if there is that crisp fall feel to the air. 90s, and I pout. I travel in the fall expressly to avoid the heat. Fall color would be a bonus but I do love naked trees.

I'm really getting excited about this trip. I've never seen the Mississippi River and I just re-read Tom Sawyer to get in the mood. Think I need to brush up on some Laura Ingalls Wilder too, while I'm at it.

Do you guys have nasty commute traffic? We will need to get to the airport by 10:00 a.m. on a Friday morning. We'll be driving from Forest Lake.

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8. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

The traffic can get pretty nasty for a metro area this size, but the good part for you is that you'll be going the opposite direction of the vast majority of it, at least once you get into the metro. Getting south from Forest Lake into the metro can get a little slow in the morning.

I would suggest getting to 35W south, exiting Hiawatha Avenue and stopping at a train station along Hiawatha. The train will take you into the station. You get off the train at the Lindberg terminal and walk up a flight ot stairs and youre at ticket desks. Should save time and frustration.

You definitely want to avoid downtown. And you don't want to drive Hiawatha allt he way to the airport. The lights will slow you. Take the train and bypass it all!

Sebastopol, CA
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9. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

Oh my! I was looking at one of the websites DowntownMinneapolis suggested and discovered this! http://www.humanonastick.com/magical.htm

It's a history tour of Minneapolis on Segways -- those two-wheeled personal scooters you stand on. Now that looks like fun and the tour covers a lot of territory. We are so doing that! I can't wait to report to you all about the experience.

I also learned that they have Segway tours in San Francisco and Sausalito--my back yard. I'm going to suggest one as a team-building event at work. I've always wanted to try one of those scooters.

Minneapolis
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10. Re: Visiting Minneapolis

Okay this is an odd suggestion - but I grew up in the White Bear Lake Area and my in-laws live in Forest Lake. Perhaps you would like to see something local near where you grew up?

Here's a couple of choices:

Tamarack Nature Center - which would make for a nice walk.

Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake. October is so fun to stop there. They have hay rides and other stuff going on.

My Mom knows this great garden between Forest Lake and WBL as well, I'll get back to you.

Love Taylors Falls by the way!!

PL :)