Sunday, May 19, 2013

Minnesota Weekend

I have been in a constant routine of work and being a mom so when my college roommate Michele suggested a girls weekend away, I responded enthusiastically!  We tried to find a reasonable trip down to Miami, Key West, Ft Meyers, etc but just couldn't find anything affordable or with decent flight times so decided instead to do a long weekend in Minneapolis the last weekend of April, where Michele lives.  It ended up being a blast!  I didn't take my camera so don't have many pictures to show for the weekend sadly.

I drove up on Wednesday.  I was alarmed when I still was seeing ice and snow on the hillsides on the way up.  The drive was pretty painful and I was starting to wish I'd flown but I ended up getting there around 6pm and we went to an awesome local Italian place for dinner. 

We slept in (you'll see that being the theme of the weekend!) and had a delicious homemade chocolate chip pancake breakfast.  Then we took a long walk around Lake Nokomis with Michele's dog Riley.  It was a little bit cold for me.  I thought I was used to the cold, living in Chicago, but I will definitely concede that the Minnesotans know a cold I don't.  Congrats to them?  The walk was around 3 miles and so after we showered and got ready, we headed to the Mall of America. 

I love shopping, so this was one of the things I wanted to do over our weekend and I'm glad Michele was up for it.  I bought:
Nordstrom Rack - a pair of Paige Jimmy Jimmy skinny boyfriend jeans, and two pairs of shoes

Marshalls - a pair of Ralph Lauren brown sandals and a little Lightning McQueen car for Barrett, since his was somehow lost at school a few months ago

Gap - a blue plaid button down for Tim ($12!), a pink gingham button down for Barrett, and a navy sweater with hot pink hearts for me (no pictures online)

Old Navy - a couple of the Tami style tanks

I had my eye on a pair of over-the-knee leather boots at Steve Madden but lucky Michele got the last pair.

We headed back to Michele's and had a quick dinner of tilapia, salad and rice before heading out to a comedy show in downtown Minneapolis.  Afterwards, we crossed the street and had a few cocktails at Crave.  I had a (ok, 2) very delicious Crave martinis (Stolichnaya Razberi, Chambord, pineapple, Domaine Chandon Brut).

It was a gorgeous day.  We were really lucky with the weather Friday and Saturday!  We had breakfast and headed to Stillwater.  It is a quaint little town on the St Croix River, bordering Wisconsin.  It reminded me a lot of a smaller St Charles, MO, with its old homes and little shops.  We ate lunch outside and had salads and I had a bloody mary.  I haven't had one of those in years but, hey, I was on vacation, right?  They served it with a little glass of beer.  Is this a MN thing?  I hadn't seen that before. 

We walked around for a while, shopped a bit, had some mint chocolate chip ice cream (they called it mint bon-bon in the great North apparently) and headed back into the cities.  We ended up on the northeast side of the city, at a little local brewery near Michele's friends house.  It was named Indeed and we tried a few different beers.  Some of Michele's friends came too and so did my friend Terese!  She and her husband used to live in our area but they moved up to the Twin Cities a few years ago.  It was great to see her again and catch up! 

What do you know, another beautiful day in Minnesota!  We slept in (I was feeling pretty rested at this point!) and walked around the lake to a little breakfast place.  Oh, was it good!  I had a BLT omelet and lots of coffee. 

Sufficiently caffienated, we drove to Minehaha Falls.  Let me tell you, everyone was outside that day.

We walked around that area for a little while and then ventured into Uptown, an eclectic city-feeling area, which reminded me a lot of the Wicker Park area of Chicago.  We did some sightseeing and walked down by Lake Calhoun before heading back to Michele's and then to her friend Sarah's for a cook out.  I, of course, had to try the local drink a Big Ginger, which I'd seen people drinking so we stopped to buy the ingredients and do some grocery shopping for the cookout.  It was delicious!  It's: 1 part Irish whiskey, 4 parts ginger ale, some lime and lemon wedges squeezed in and for garnish, served over ice.  I may have bought the ingredients to make these at home.  We had a good time with some of Michele's friends.  She has such a strong group of friends she's made up in MN and is so busy and active all the time! 

I was antsy to get on the road the next morning and get back to my beautiful babies, whom I missed tremendously!  I left around 8am and got him around 2:15pm.  I pulled into the driveway and a little towhead popped up in the front window with a smile and said "MOMMY!"  (no it wasn't Tim, though I think he had the same sentiment) 

Although I could never see myself living even further north than I already live, I started to understand what's appealing about living in Minneapolis.  The lakes are beautiful, there seems to be a lot of things to do, the homes are charming, the cost of living was reasonable, and it's a city without feeling too harsh and urban.  When the weather was nice on Friday and Saturday, everyone was out in droves.  So many walkers, joggers, bikers and people out and enjoying the day.  There was so much activity!  I know Michele says there's a lot of activity in the winter too (ice fishing, broomball, races, etc) and that you have to get involved with that kind of activity or you'd go crazy.  But I also learned about roof rakes and there was still a lot of snow and ice-covered lakes for being the last weekend of April, so that will likely deter me from moving there!

Tim did a great job taking care of the kids for those few days and I appreciated that I had the chance to get away for a long weekend and have some fun girl time.  I had so much fun for the weekend and was glad to have a nice getaway, but there's no place like home, with my family of course!