Minnesota is another one of those “frozen north” states that I had never visited. Most of what I know about MN came from listening to Prairie Home Companion, which, uh, might not be completely accurate. A thunderstorm hit while I was on the interstate. I pulled off at a roadside rest to wait it out. Several trucks were also there, so I felt like I had made a good decision. The storm passed and I continued.
My hosts, Paul and Janice, provided good directions to Minneapolis. I pulled up in front of their house in the afternoon, and Paul kindly backed the trailer into his driveway for me. Dinner included ribs from the smoker and fresh corn on the cob. Paul was a student of my husband years ago at Baymonte Christian School near Santa Cruz. I enjoyed hearing his stories.
The next day, Paul and Janice drove me around Minneapolis and St. Paul, admiring the elegant homes and historic architecture of the twin cities. They graciously drove past The Fitzgerald Theater which I wanted to see.
We parked downtown and walked to the Mill City Museum, located in the old General Mills flour production facility. I enjoyed learning the history of General Mills and the significance of flour production to Minneapolis. The gift shop is wonderland for anyone who likes to bake.
We drove a few miles to Minnehaha Park where a statue of Hiawatha and Minnehaha stands. Minnehaha Falls is said to be the waterfall of Longfellow’s poem The Song of Hiawatha.
Paul and Janice asked if I wanted to go to The Mall of America. I said no, but wouldn’t mind driving by. It’s huge! We just happened to end up at Grand Ole Creamery for ice cream cones. It’s a cute place with unique ice cream flavors and handmade waffle cones.On the way home, we stopped at Kowalski’s Market. It’s kind of a mash-up of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and a regular supermarket. Kowalski’s had an entire department for cheese with its own Certified Cheese Professional! Paul & Janice are on a first-name basis with her, so I got to meet Liz Nerud. I was introduced as from California. Liz mentioned that she had competed in the Cheesemonger Invitational in San Francisco (she did well, too). Liz is kind of famous in the cheese world. Google her.
The following morning, I went to church with my hosts. Their church has a pipe organ. Oh. My. Goodness. It’s been years since I sang hymns accompanied by a pipe organ, so I was completely thrilled. Janice and I spoke with the organist for a little while afterward and found out more about him and the instrument. The whole service was amazing. I couldn’t stop smiling.Later that day, I was able to meet Paul & Janice’s daughter and son-in-law, and also Janice’s mom as we all shared a meal. We must have covered almost every subject imaginable. After lunch, Paul & Janice sent me off with grilled bratwurst, a jar of honey butter, homemade Puppy Chow (a people food), and other goodies. I pulled out of the driveway and headed south to Iowa under clear skies.