With two days left in the Twin Cities, we still have a lot to see and not very much time. As we mentioned before, we are not fans of towing the Airstream in the snow and at this part of the country, it would not be totally strange if we were to see a little snow in September. Our plan today, stock up on some local farmed goods at the Saint Paul Farmers Market and head over to Minneapolis to see what that ‘other’ city is all about.
Around this part of the country, farmer’s markets don’t run year round like they do in southern California. We are looking at mostly items from farmer’s fall harvest and some left overs of the spring harvest. Even though we don’t have that much storage space in the Airstream for fresh veggies, we stocked up for the next leg of our trip through Wisconsin and Illinois. We are probably not going to see fresh vegetables like this for awhile.
After Farmer’s Market, Chris and Jen took us to a favorite of theirs in Saint Paul called Heartland. Each Saturday morning people indulge on their specialty sandwiches and freshly baked pastries along with some amazing coffee.
Since Marlene was still barred from eating dairy and caffeine because of Luka’s allergies, all she could do is watch the girls wolf down cinnamon rolls and cheesy foccacia bread.
As we headed over the Minneapolis, we asked our hosts about the main differences between the two cities. To sum it up in simpler terms, Saint Paul has more of an European flair than Minneapolis, which is an All-American type of place.
Our first stop is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It is right next to the Walker Art Center which is one of the 5 biggest modern art museums in the country along with some of the great museums like the Guggenheim and the MoMA in NYC. One of the iconic sculptures at the garden is the Spoonbridge and Cherry which serves as the centerpiece.
Just a few months ago in April 2012, the Spoonbridge and Cherry was vandalized when someone graffitied ‘KONY’ on it. If you remember, KONY is the Ugandan warlord who’s atrocities were brought to attention with a viral campaign that ended up with the founder having a mental breakdown in the streets of San Diego performing lewd acts. Unlike him, the sculpture has been restored to its former glory.
Ava’s favorite was this metal sculpture since it also doubles as a giant swing.
Our next stop in Minneapolis is the Basilica of St. Mary right across the pedestrian bridge from the Walker Art Center. On our way there, we saw a local jazz band getting a promotional photo taken that broke into an impromptu jam session.
The Basilica of Saint Mary was built between 1907 and 1913 after the original Catholic church in the area could no longer accommodate parishioners. John Ireland, the archbishop of Saint Paul since 1888 announced that a basilica would be built on a full city block.
It was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and it is the first Basilica to be built in the United States. John Ireland was an influential Catholic figure in the Midwest during his time and was single handedly responsible for bring thousands of Irish Catholics from the slums of the east out west to Minnesota by providing upwards of 400,000 acres of farm land through a program he co-founded called the Irish Catholic Colonization Association.
As an archbishop, he was also very influential politically as he was a personal friend to both President McKinley as well as Theodore Roosevelt.
It is a beautiful structure both inside and out. At just about 100 years old, it isn’t nearly as old as some of the other Cathedrals of Basilicas we have visited. Notre Dame de Paris started construction back in 1163 AD which we visited last year during our 7-weeks in Europe with the girls. Basilique du Sacré Cœur, which is also in Paris, actually broke ground only 30 years before this and did not finish until 2 years after in 1917.
The girls once again had a blast with their new friend Cleo. To wrap up the day, we invited them to come to Lebanon Hills Campground for BBQ dinner and roast marshmallows by the fire.
Another very exciting thing for us here is being able to go shopping at a Trader Joe’s . To those who don’t have Trader Joe’s near your neck of the woods, it is a chain of medium-sized grocery stores that happen to carry some of the best tasting foods at prices anyone can afford. Ava loves them too for the freeze-dried strawberries, free samples and also you get a lollipop if you find the stuffed animal hidden somewhere in one of the aisles. After we leave the Midwest, we probably won’t find another one until we get to Atlanta, Georgia.
Trader Joe’s back at California is well known for it’s $1.99 bottles of wine. It is frequently used at private blind wine tasting parties along side bottles costing 10 to 100 times its value and often preferred for its drinkability. It is lovingly referred to ‘Two Buck Chuck’. Here in Minnesota, it is called ‘Three Buck Chuck’.
Back at the campground, we dusted off the camping chairs that we haven’t use since Alumafandango and even put a tablecloth on the picnic table.
And of course we also had to get the campfire going. The last time we did this was in Fruita, Colorado when we got to use the bundle of firewood we bought in Torrey, Utah.
We enjoyed great food, great drinks and even better company.
over and out,