Saturday, October 22, 2016

Quick Trip: Minnesota and Wisconsin

Judy found some cheap tickets for a flight from LAX to Minneapolis/St. Paul, where her sister lives, so we decided to take a short trip to Minnesota to visit her and also to spend some time in Minnesota which neither of us had ever visited, except for layovers in the airport. We also decided to make a quick trip into Wisconsin which Judy had never visited. This is a summary of that trip and links to our posts that relate to it. 

We flew out of LAX just before 8:00 p.m. and did not arrive in Minneapolis until 1:18 a.m. We got a hotel near the airport with a shuttle so we would not have to bother Judy's sister that night and so that we could get to bed as soon as possible after arriving. We also arranged to pick up a rental car at the airport the next morning. 
We met Judy's sister at the Mall of America at 10:00 a.m. when it opened the next morning. We took about an hour to walk through and get a sense of it, then, with Judy's sister joining us, drove to nearby Fort Snelling State Park, where we saw amazing open space right next to the Twin Cities, which included beautiful lakes and wild turkeys. Then we headed for Minnehaha Park where we visited the beautiful Minnehaha Falls, itself within an urban setting, and ate at the nearby Sea Salt Eatery which had pretty good seafood offerings. That afternoon we visited the Basilica of St. Mary, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and then met our brother-in-law at the restaurant, Piccolo, a favorite of Andrew Zimmern. That night we stayed at Judy's sister's home in Anoka, right off the Mississippi River. 
     Snelling State Park and Minnehaha Falls  (Judy)
     Eastern Wild Turkey  (Bob)
     Sea Salt Eatery - Minneapolis   (Bob)
     Minneapolis and St. Paul: A Tale of Two Cities and the Basilica of St. Mary  (Judy)
     Basilica of St. Mary  (Bob)
     Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (Judy)
     Minneapolis Institute of Art (Judy)
     Piccolo - Minneapolis  (Bob)

The next morning we visited the St. Paul Farmer's Market in downtown, with both Judy's sister and brother-in-law, then the Cathedral of St. Paul. Afterwards we drove by the Minnesota Capital Building which was closed for renovations, then visited the Hmongtown Marketplace where we had lunch, another favorite place of Andrew Zimmern. That afternoon we spent several hours at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus, then drove to Wisconsin where we visited Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park, then Legacy Chocolates in Menomonie for some dessert. Later that afternoon we drove back to Anoka where we visited some local sights and spent the night at Judy's sister's home.
     St. Paul: Farmers' Market and Hmongtown Marketplace (Judy)
     Cathedral of St. Paul - Minnesota  (Bob)
     Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum (Judy)
     Wisconsin: Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park (Judy)

Sunday morning we went to an LDS sacrament meeting in Anoka, then headed off on our own for the North Shore Drive along the west shore of Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota. It was a drive of 175 miles, just under three hours, to get to Duluth, the beginning of the North Shore Drive. From Duluth we started up Hwy 61, which is the North Shore Drive, and drove 20 miles to Knife River and stopped at Russ Kendall's Smokehouse for smoked fish, another of Andrew Zimmern's favored places to eat. We drove another 20 miles to Gooseberry Falls State Park where we saw multiple waterfalls on the Gooseberry River. Another 5 mile drive took us to Split Rock Lighthouse where we toured the lighthouse and got a dramatic view from the edge of a cliff of Lake Superior. Then we drove another 15 miles to Tettegouche State Park where we took a 3 mile round trip hike into 60 foot high High Falls, where we looked at it from the top on the south side, crossed a bridge to the north side, then followed a trail down to the bottom of the falls. We finished the day by driving 50 miles to Grand Marais where we ate at the Angry Trout Cafe and stayed in a Best Western right on the shore of Lake Superior.
     Russ Kendall's Smokehouse - Knife River, MN  (Bob)
     Angry Trout Cafe - Grand Marai, MN  (Bob)

We got out early for a drive to the Canadian border, 44 miles north. Grand Portage State Park is on the U.S. side of the border. We took a 1 mile round trip hike into High Falls, the highest waterfall in Minnesota with a 120 foot drop. We drove back to Grand Marais, then headed west of Lake Superior toward Eagle Mountain in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. We hiked 7 miles round trip to the top of Eagle Mountain, the tallest point in Minnesota, in a constant drizzle. The highlight of our hike was seeing a gray wolf in front of us on the trail before it loped off and disappeared into the trees. Then the long drive back to Minneapolis for our flight home the next morning. We stopped briefly at Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth for a sandwich for dinner, drove across the Aerial Lift Bridge, and back, then continued on. We stayed at the Super 8 Hotel near the airport that night, the same one we stayed at on our way in.
     Eagle Mountain and Northeastern Minnesota Waterfalls (Bob)
     Minnesota Varying Hare  (Bob)
     Northern Waters Smokehaus - Duluth, MN  (Bob)

We were up early for our 7:00 a.m. flight back to LAX the next morning. This was the perfect time to visit Northern Minnesota. The weather was relatively cool, so the mosquitoes were gone and the autumn colors were in full swing, with beautiful swaths of reds and yellows

1 comment:

  1. I had been to Minnesota before. I went with my family in about 1975 to visit my sister and her family the FIRST time they lived there. We drove all the way from Utah. I much preferred FLYING to Minnesota and then driving within the state and in Wisconsin--much better scenery!