Minneapolis – 2012 Road Trip – Day 15

Friday the 13th found us still in downtown Minneapolis. Our first stop was the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens, one of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the country. The centerpiece of the garden is the Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain as well as the Cowles Conservatory, which has more flora and sculpture inside.

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Leaving downtown we went to an area of older neighborhoods surrounding Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriot, even stopping at an estate sale in a great old house. The views across the lakes towards downtown were nice, as was the residential and commercial districts of the area.

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Going back to the center of downtown we spent a few hours wandering through all of the buildings and walkways that allow you to go between them in the wintertime without freezing your ass off.

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Of all the public art in Minneapolis the most unusual must be the statue of Mary Tyler Moore, doing her signature move that was in the opening of a 1970s TV show set in Minneapolis.

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A work colleague of mine has lived in Minneapolis, and invited us meet with them when we were in town.   We decided to go out to dinner, then attend a Minnesota Twins baseball game at Target Field. They chose a restaurant called Bar La Grassa in a restored warehouse district just north of the stadium. Clearly Minneapolis is a very trendy city.

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After dinner we walked over to the stadium for the game. Target Field was completed in 2010. The architectural design firm, tried to avoid creating a replica of the old-style brick Camden Yards or modern urban design of the new Nationals Park, instead, the design for the stadium employs local limestone, heated viewing areas and a heated field. The stadium is integrated with a light rail train station.

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While the stadium faces some of downtown, and you have views of skyscrapers it does not have the same dramatic view as stadiums like PNC Park in Pittsburgh Nevertheless it is a nice stadium, it was a comfortable night, and we enjoyed spending the evening with them.

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Minnesota – 2012 Road Trip – Day 14 – Across the State

The following morning we crossed over into Minnesota taking a more or less direct route to Minneapolis/St Paul. This route took us through a small town called New Ulm, a town very proud of their German heritage. We stopped at a small restaurant for lunch, which was ok, but nothing memorable, so much so I don’t even recall the name of the restaurant.

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After a brief stop in a St Paul suburb of Hastings to tour a historic house, we headed into the middle of the city.

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While in St Paul we stopped and toured the Minnesota State Capital, as well as the park grounds, which had a Lindbergh statue.

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Having seen well over 20 state capitals at this point, the Minnesota one looks pretty much like all the others, although they did have some nice gold statues on the outside.

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Leaving St Paul we drove along the Mississippi River road through the neighborhoods into Minneapolis. This route took us into the University of Minnesota campus. The area had a feel much like Ohio State, as it is in a large city, but still maintains a distinct college campus feel.

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Closer to downtown we stopped in a neighborhood of refurbished flour factories and other post industrial chic type of places. Being directly on the river across from downtown it has a very hipster vibe to it.

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Connecting it to downtown is a footbridge called the Stone Arch Bridge, is a former railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Saint Anthony Falls. It is the only arched bridge made of stone on the entire length of Mississippi River, and also the second oldest next to Eads Bridge, which we saw in St Louis at the beginning of the trip.

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Returning to our car, we drove across the river and cruised around downtown, passing Target Field, the Metrodome, and other landmarks. Again crossing the river on the Washington Avenue Bridge. The bridge has two decks, with the lower deck designated for cars and light rail trains and the upper deck used for pedestrians and bicycles.

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