Amy Rea is a freelance writer and author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes: an Explorer’s Guide (Countryman Press, 2008), as well as the upcoming Backroads & Byways of Minnesota (Countryman Press, spring 2011).
She grew up in northern Minnesota, attended the University of Minnesota, and bounced around various careers including managing a maternity store and working as a travel agent before settling into her writing career.
She’s married with two teenage boys and two rather poorly trained dogs.
One of the most iconic figures in Minnesota has to be Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox, Babe. How exactly Bunyan came into popularity isn’t clear, although some think that the stories originated in the early 1900s at a Wisconsin logging camp, while others point to early 1800s Canada. It’s not clear if there was an actual person who later became the mythic version of Bunyan, or if this was campfire lore turned into advertising. But variations exist in many parts of the country, and each tale seems taller than the next:
Just outside of Little Falls is a historic site open only in the summertime, so you still have several weeks to plan a visit. The Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site has the preserved childhood home of the famed aviator, as well as the Charles A. Lindbergh State Park across the street (and which is named after the aviator’s father).
There’s a new addition to the varied scenery at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: the Harrison Sculpture Collection at the Arboretum’s highest physical point, with sculptures donated by Wayzata philanthropists Alfred and Ingrid Harrison, sculptures they’d collected from all over the world.
Have you heard of Dorset, Minnesota, the Restaurant Capital of the World? No? Well. Let’s take a visit. Dorset is a village Park Rapids and Akeley in northern Minnesota, with a population of about 22 people.
It’s so tucked away into the woods that you could easily drive right by it and never know it’s there—perhaps a good reason for the name: Lost Lake Lodge.
Yes, it seems like just yesterday we were all being beaten down by the long winter and polar vortex. Believe it or not, Independence Day is only three weeks away, and it falls on a Friday this year, making for a nice long weekend.
As the 2013-14 school year wraps up, there are plenty of elated kids cheering the thought of weeks of free time. Until they actually have that free time…then summer boredom rears its ugly head a lot sooner than Mom and Dad would like. Here are three suggestions for day trips to keep everyone happy. Check the linked websites for hours and special events.
You have to give it to John Cal. He’s a guy who can make things happen. The Twin Cities resident and long-time musician/composer would make Judy Garland and Andy Rooney happy, as he prepares to launch the premiere of the stage musical Philly.The show is rooted in Yonkers, NY, where Cal grew up. Passionate about music from the get-go, Cal had a garage band by age 16 and a lot of ambition to go with it.
The fun factor is pretty high at the exhibit that just opened at the Minnesota History Center: Toys of the 50s, 60s and 70s (or as a History Center staffer put it, “From the Cold War to Star Wars”).
Friday marks the opening of the 19th annual Art-A-Whirl. This hugely popular art tradition sprawls out over several venues across NE Minneapolis. It’s a great opportunity to meet the artists themselves in their work spaces, see (and purchase!) original artworks, and support the arts community. For some practical tips on planning a visit to Art-A-Whirl, see How to Whirl, and for tips on visiting with kids, see Savvy Mom’s story on how to survive and thrive at Art-A-Whirl with kids in tow.
Maybe you heard about the following art exhibits when they first opened with big splashes and a great deal of publicity. But they were scheduled to be here for weeks or months, so plenty of time. And then other things came along, and they slowly disappeared from front of mind.
Minnesota’s fishing opener is only two weeks away. Are you ready? Many lake resorts have specials for the early months of the season, and some have packages specifically for opening weekend (or, as it’s also called, Mother’s Day weekend). Book now for the best prices.
This is one of the quieter months for festivals in Minnesota. But never fear–as spring fully arrives with the promise of summer ahead, the busiest festival time of the year is not far away.
Last week I took a look at ways to keep the family entertained over spring break without leaving town. This week, let’s look at eating out—and ways to explore the food of different countries without leaving the Twin Cities. Think your kids won’t try foreign foods? Give them a chance. Frame it as an adventure, show them online or on a globe where you’ll be “dining”, and encourage them to look for both similarities and differences in the cuisine compared to what they normally eat. They might just find a new favorite.
Schools around the metro are taking that week-long (more or less) holiday known as spring break, now through mid April. Whether going out of town isn’t in your financial picture right now, or you’d just rather stay home, here are some ideas to keep your family from going stir-crazy—especially if it snows again next week. The classic kid-venture spots never fail to entertain: the Science Museum of Minnesota (especially with the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit having just opened, and it’s fantastic), which might be paired with a trip to the Minnesota Children’s Museum, which just opened its Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice exhibit;
Spring may not have made a commitment to Minnesota just yet, but regardless of the weather, this week marks the start of Lent. Looking for fish on Fridays? Check out one of the perks of the season: the Friday Night Fish Fry. Always a tradition during Lent, and available several places, some family friendly, some not so much. In many cases, it’s all you can eat, but even when it’s not, you’re assured a heaping plate of food that won’t leave you hungry. Call ahead for hours and types of fish served.
Granted, March is lighter in festival offerings than other months. It’s a tough time of year — it might be 60 degrees outside, and it might be -30. Nevertheless, the month of March has a much-beloved annual holiday celebrating a famous saint. Oh, and there’s St. Patrick’s Day, too.
If you haven’t yet taken in the Vivian Maier exhibit at the Minneapolis Photo Center, heads up—it’s still here for another week, through March 1, and it’s well worth a visit. Vivian Maier is a rather mysterious figure who worked as a nanny in the Chicago area for most of her adult life in order to earn money for her passion: photography. Outside of work hours, she shot tens of thousands of photos of life in Chicago (as well as the occasional journey outside of the Chicago area), capturing all manner of street life and sides of humanity.
Winter, schwinter. Fie upon thee, polar vortex. Think we can’t take it? We can, we do, and we still celebrate the outdoors. Or at least, that seems to be the prevailing attitude for the upcoming Eelpout Festival in Walker, Feb. 20-23.
They took a year off and changed venues, but the Art Shanty Projects opened for the season this past weekend, and it’s just as much fun as it’s ever been (which is to say, quite a lot). There’s a lot to see and do.
Polar vortex or no polar vortex, the St. Paul Winter Carnival is in full spring, and with it, one of my favorite winter spectacles: the ice sculpture contest in Rice Park. This year’s competitors had to deal with some wildly varying weather conditions, including last Sunday’s near-blizzard. But that didn’t stop them from delivering some beautiful pieces.
Valentine’s Day is only three weeks away, and it falls on a Friday this year, which means it will likely spill into the weekend. Restaurants are sure to be busy. But eating out isn’t the only way to celebrate romance. Here are some ideas for unique outings to enjoy with someone special.
Warm, cold. Polar Vortex, January thaw. The weather is not trustworthy right now, but getting away isn’t doable for everyone.
Once we get past ringing in the New Year, we have a few days’ grace period before 2014 really kicks in. Kids may still be home from school, people may still be taking vacation, but once the holiday decorations are put away and the Christmas thank-you notes are dispatched, what’s left to do? Plenty. Around the state, there are several opportunities to keep the festivities going.
One of my favorite gifts to give (and, well, to receive) is the gift of books. Especially with the weather we’ve been having — what’s better when the subzero temps hit but to curl up under a warm afghan with a good book? Fortunately, here in Minnesota we have lots of great options, both for buying and for reading.