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A Weekend in the Cities with G.G. and Mr. Mike

Friday

When we were at the cottage last, my parents mentioned they were coming to visit in a couple weeks. I had a million things planned for their stay.

Our first thing to do was take advantage of my Minnesota Historical Society membership. When my mom bought my membership she upgraded to one that included two guest passes. James J. Hill's home was on that list. I have been wanting to go for years.

The layout reminded me a lot of Glensheen.

Except it seemed a lot darker. I guess that's because all of the lighting is era appropriate. Is that the case at Glensheen, Blake?

Even though no one in the family could play, the Hill's had a whole room devoted to the organ.

It was the thing to do at the time if you were one of the richest people on the planet.

The wood carvings were out of this world.

And all done by hand.


I'm sure James loved the 8 years of construction for the Cathedral going on across from his house.

No house is complete without a gold ceiling.

The basement was devoted to the servants a la Downton Abbey.

This was my favorite part of the house. Love the industrial scale of the space.

The servants even had their own porch.

The tour was 75 minutes long. I was a little nervous with how Meadow would be, but she was awesome. She whispered whenever she talked and stayed close by us the whole time.

With the Cathedral across the street we walked over to check it out.

By then we were ready for lunch. We all quickly agreed on Mickey's Diner.

For a few minutes we had the place to ourselves.

"I want a Minnie Mouse pancake with lots of butter."

And that's what she got.

My dad wanted to ride the light rail. We decided to ditch our car at the Depot and catch a ride.

First stop was the newly renovated Capital.

Beautiful renovation. I had come here when I was a kid with my parents. It was nice, but kind of dull. I think the paint had just faded over the years.

Today was the day for beautiful architecture.

I love the frames that the columns create.

I would actually come back for the official tour.

Brooke doesn't even like politics.

The capital was situated so that downtown and the cathedral were at 45 degree angles from the capitol mall. The center road was meant to stretch to West 7th with grand buildings on each side. That never quite happened. Just beyond here is the I-94 trench.

The weather was unusually mild for this time of year.

We hopped back on the train to try out a new brewery.

New to us at least.

Scott took us through a no pedestrian zone.

Well they wanted to take the light rail to a brewery.  Problem is that they're all in odd locations away from University.

We finally made it to Lake Monster Brewing. The beer was only OK, but Meadow and Brooke loved the root beer.

I had to school Mr. Mike and G.G. on the intricacies of Sorry! They were confused for the first ten or so minutes.

Meanwhile, Meadow and I played a few rounds of Candy Land.

These two.

Then we took the train back to our car.

Once home we had two kinds of Nueske's hot dogs. Their hot dogs are nearly as good as their famed bacon. That is after I picked up chips and buns from Cub.


Saturday
Earlier in the week I ordered some donuts from the Silver Fork and picked them up. They're made by a couple that I trade babysitting with once and while who I've met through the grapevine. I picked out the cinnamon sugar cake donuts. I thought that G.G. and Mike would like the nod to Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty.

My dad had wanted to take a tour at the US Bank Stadium. When we got there we saw there was a dirt bike event going on. Since that fell through, we took my parents over to see the Mary Tyler Moore house.

Gail was surprised to see it was on a corner. I had to say, it was never really in the show.

Um yea every time she was at her apartment they showed the outside.

Next we went to the Bakken Museum. I've always wanted to check out this place. It's a hands on science museum about electricity and magnets.


Half the museum is in a house originally built for the Goodfellows. The Goodfellow family sold their dry goods store to the Daytons. 

Then we were hungry for lunch. My dad has been wanting to try Pizzeria Lola.

Pizzeria Lola is more of a sit down place. Their other location, Hello Pizza, seemed like a good choice for lunch.

We clearly enjoyed said pizza.

Meadow has been begging to go to a playground. We promised her we would. So, we brought her over to the playground at Lake Harriet. Seems crazy that we were just here flying kites.

On the frozen lake, that is.

Now people are grilling out. In February.

In t-shirts.

Meadow finally will play on her own.

She had a good time.

After we left Lake Harriet we decided to go downtown to check out the soon to be closing Macy's.

That's the store that was once Dayton's and originally opened as Goodfellow's. Full circle.

First we got lost in the nearly empty basement looking for a restroom.

Some people are lamenting the closure. This building is ripe to become a central attraction to downtown. I imagine a food hall like Midtown Global Market or the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Rumor has it that is part of the future plans.

I really wanted to come here because I heard they were selling all their random displays and fixtures.

So many mannequins.

One area was full of Meadow sized chairs. We ended up getting her a new, old, rocking chair.

When we were driving up our block, I said something like, "Is that the..." Yes, indeed the Weinermobile was parked on our block.

No one seemed to know why it was there.

Another late dinner, this time nachos.

Sunday
The last time my parents visited we went on a Mississippi steamboat ride. Nearby is the Wabasha Street Caves. I saw that they do tours on the weekends. I've never been so it seemed like a good idea.

The caves were originally used to grow mushrooms. When the dance hall space was put it in a mushroom design was cleverly added.

This space was home to a lot of gangsters back in the day. There is also a secret tunnel to a speakeasy from back in the prohibition days.

At some point the caves were used to age cheese.

All the markings on the walls are done by hand to create this tunnel.


Our tour guide was awesome and it was fun to learn about some of the history of the place.

Usually when my parents are here my mom always has to go to Ikea. My dad said he wanted to go to the Mall of America since they hadn't been in years. We spent a lot of time waiting for my mom to shop.


For lunch Meadow and I shared falafel from the Naf Naf Grill.

All day Meadow kept asking my mom if she could go on rides. Eventually Meadow got her wish.

Her favorite ride ever is the carousal. Last time we rode on this I accidently picked one that didn't move. This time Meadow thought the horse was too high.

She hung onto my arm the whole time and wouldn't let me go.

Meadow got to pick one other ride and she chose Blue's Clues. My mom went with her to help her get in, but ended up joining her.

After this we went home. I went to bed early as I was starting to come down with something. The next morning my parents left. I hope they make it back again in the summer.

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