Sorry I have been so slow in getting a trip recap up...I really have no excuse. And now that it's here, it's super long, so I understand if you just wanna skim through and look at the pictures! Hopefully you find something of interest though, and I've popped some links in to help any potential Twin Cities trip-planners. So, here we go!
Shaun and I flew out with our friend Rich on Wednesday the 8th. My parents met us at the Minneapolis airport that evening, along with Ruby (the crazy Westie-Scottie mix who never seems to run out of energy).
Seriously, almost any time she was awake, she was trying to play fetch with someone - and usually succeeded, since you just can't say no to that face. On Thursday we played mini golf, got some pizza, and played games before going to pick up John and Sarah at the airport after their flight from DC.
On Friday, I started off the hometown tour with a quick trip to downtown Wayzata - nothing too exciting, but it's a cute little area with shops and a beautiful view of Lake Minnetonka. It's also where we used to have our homecoming parades in high school...aw, memories.
We did some grilling out for an early dinner, and then Rich, John, Sarah, Shaun, my sister Laura and I took off for the Minneapolis and the baseball game (while my parents ventured over to the Basilica Block Party). We made a quick stop on the Stone Arch bridge to get a glimpse of the city skyline, old mills and of course, the Mississippi River:
The game was fun - it was close and exciting but ultimately a victory for the Twins over the White Sox. Soon the Vikings will have the Metrodome all to themselves, since the Twins and the Gophers are getting their own new stadiums - both looked really nice when we drove by. For now, one last look at the 'dome:
On Saturday I wanted to show a bit of St. Paul, so the five of us followed my dad and Laura past the governor's mansion and the capitol building, and then we stopped for a brief swing through the Como Zoo. I don't have any pictures because everything was just so crazy! We left the zoo and went back home to meet up with my mom, then we all went out to Lord Fletcher's to eat at "The Wharf", an outdoor part of the restaurant that's right on Lake Minnetonka - just a different part than we were at the previous day.
The evening was a bit more relaxed as we took a walk around Lake Harriet, and Lyndale Park Rose Garden, in the beautiful sunset. (Well, relaxed except for Ruby, who wanted to run almost constantly - Shaun took her leash and they literally ran circles around our group toward the end. And that was the second time my mom had taken her on the 3-mile loop that day!)
Lake Harriet and Minneapolis skyline at my favorite time of dayShaun, me, Rich, Sarah, John (and Ruby)
Rose Garden (before we decided to get married at Notre Dame I briefly thought about this as a wedding location...can you see why??)
Before John and Sarah left on Sunday, we made a stop at the Mall of America. I can't believe it's been around for 17 years already! I remember going with my cousins shortly after it opened. I still contend though that the theme park was much better as Camp Snoopy than the current Nickelodeon Universe. The neon colors alone are enough to make you go crazy.
Anyway, our last stop before hitting the airport was the 5-8 Club. Coincidentally, Shaun and I had seen the same episode of Man v. Food as John and Sarah did that had put the 5-8 Club's Juicy Lucy up against Matt's Bar's Jucy Lucy (both are versions of a burger, originated in Minneapolis, that has cheese in between two patties rather than on top), and we decided to give one of them a try. 5-8 Club's burger was pretty tasty, but since Man v. Food hadn't provided a verdict, we decided that we would try Matt's Bar when everyone comes back for a game at Target Field someday and see if we come up with a favorite.
After we bid farewell to John and Sarah, we made the short trip to my cousin Emily's place to visit her 18-month-old son Timmy and 1-month-old daughter Brynn, and of course my Aunt Mary. My Aunt Anne had also driven up from Iowa with my cousin Ashley (who was visiting from Houston...got all that?), so it was quite the gathering! I wasn't sure whether I'd feel the baby itch when I got to hold Brynn, and while she's adorable, I definitely knew I'm not ready for that yet! (my hubby can breathe easy)
After having some early birthday cake for Aunt Mary's and my shared birthday, the whole group of relatives and friends went to enjoy a John Philip Sousa Band concert at Centennial Lakes Park. As a little kid I loved going to see them, and of course as a band nerd in school my appreciation grew, so it was fun to go back and share that experience with some of my favorite people, outside on a beautiful evening.
Emily, Ashley, Laura holding Timmy, me holding Brynn, Shaun holding Ruby, and Rich
We took Rich to the airport early Monday morning, and Shaun and I came back and napped for a bit before the day's activities. We had seen on Sunday that Centennial Lakes had a nice putting course, so we played nine holes with my parents and Laura. And of course, we had to do a short run on the paddle boat afterward.
The rest of the time was mostly spent relaxing and trying a few restaurants. We also stopped at Shop in the City, because I was intrigued by my birthday gift that Aunt Mary found there...a shirt with the following design:
I hope that doesn't offend anyone, and I did realize that you could swap in your own state and simply replace Minnesota with "too cold" or "too many hotdishes" or something to that effect - even before I found the company's website with my shirt and tons of other region-specific shirts. Regardless...I'll still have fun wearing this around Connecticut.
It was really great to spend time with friends and family, though it went too quickly as always. At least we'll be back for Christmas at the latest. Anyway, thanks for reading my gibberish...if you want to see any more pictures, check them out here! I will try to get back to a schedule of more frequent (but shorter) posts soon!
2 days ago