Amy Rea

amy rea Amy ReaAmy 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.

most recent stories2 Amy Rea

(credit: Amy Rea)

Wander Minnesota: The Return Of The Art Shanties

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.

02/04/2014

(credit: Amy Rea)

Wander Minnesota: Winter Carnival Ice Sculptures

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.

01/29/2014

(credit: Coco Mault)

Wander MN: Out-Of-The-Ordinary Valentine’s

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.

01/22/2014

(credit: Science Museum of Minnesota)

Wander Minnesota: The World In Front Of You

Warm, cold. Polar Vortex, January thaw. The weather is not trustworthy right now, but getting away isn’t doable for everyone.

01/16/2014

(credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Wander Minnesota: Post-New Year’s Celebrating

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.

12/31/2013

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Wander Minnesota: The Gift Of Books

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.

12/11/2013

(credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Wander Minnesota: Help For Those In Need At The Holidays

It was one of those most pleasant emails, an invite to a holiday coffee party from a friend—always a welcome thing to pop up in my inbox. But after the details of the invitation was this message: “Please feel free to bring a friend, but not any hostess gifts. Instead, please consider bringing a manual can opener. Need an explanation? It’s hard to open the can of green beans you got at the food shelf if you don’t have a can opener, and equally hard to use your electric can opener if your power’s been turned off.”

12/04/2013

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Wander Minnesota: Thanksgiving Weekend Alternatives

You’ve slept off the turkey, you’re not interested in battling crowds on Black Friday, but you have free time and possibly family and friends to entertain. What is there to do this weekend? Plenty. Here is just a sampling of events taking place around the state in the days after Thanksgiving.

11/25/2013

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

Wander Minnesota: Thanksgiving Feasts, Traditional & Not

Thanksgiving is next week. Have you figured out where you’ll enjoy your turkey yet? No? There are still options if you don’t feel like cooking.

11/19/2013

(credit: CBS)

Wander Minnesota: From Layoff To Super Bowl Commercial Finalist

Sometimes, that old adage about making lemonade from lemons is more than a little true. Although in the case of Wrenshall’s Locally Laid, maybe it’s a case of making omelets from—well—eggs.

11/13/2013

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Wander Minnesota: Holiday Shopping

With Halloween behind us, the upcoming December holidays bring on a full slate of arts and crafts fairs around the metro. These events take place all year long, but the pre-holiday season finds them at […]

11/08/2013

(credit: Amy Rea)

Wander Minnesota: Dias de los Muertos

Halloween isn’t the only big holiday occurring this week. Right on its heels is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a popular Hispanic celebration that honors loved ones who are no longer with us. Unlike a somber funeral, Dia de los Muertos tends to focus more on the joy of remembering loved ones and celebrating the lives they lived. Brightly colored skeletons and skulls, lots of food, and often music all play a part in the festivities, which also involve altars set up to honor the departed.

10/29/2013

(credit: CBS)

Wander Minnesota: Halloween Around Minnesota

Halloween is almost here. Last week I took a look at not-so-scary Hallween events around the Twin Cities. This week, let’s take a look at a sampling of Halloween events around the state.

10/23/2013

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Wander Minnesota: Not-So-Scary Halloween Events

Halloween is almost here. Have you checked out the metro’s haunted houses? There are tons of scary things to do for older Halloween fans. But where you can take the little, more easily scared ones?

10/18/2013

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Wander Minnesota: Fall Getaways

The DNR is reporting that fall colors have begun to pop, mostly up north as of this writing. The gorgeous fall foliage season is all too short. Now is the time to plan a little getaway to enjoy them before winter sets in. Here are a few suggestions for lodgings that are open past the summer tourist season.

09/30/2013

(credit: Amy Rea)

Wander Minnesota: Oktoberfest

It’s late September—time for Oktoberfest. Minnesota might have a reputation for a Scandinavian heritage, but Germans had a hand in settling our state too. Things are already underway for Wabasha’s SeptOberfest, which began earlier this month and runs through Oct. 27.

09/24/2013

(credit: Joan Marcus)

Wander Minnesota: Staging ‘Wicked’

The beloved Broadway musical Wicked returns this week to Minnesota, opening 9/18 and in town through 10/27 at Minneapolis’ gorgeous Orpheum Theatre. It’s a big show with lots of moving pieces and parts, and behind the scenes, it’s quite an event getting it all unloaded and put together.

09/17/2013

(credit: Amy Rea)

Wander Minnesota: Heritage Square

One long-time attraction at the Minnesota State Fair is the area known as Heritage Square. It’s a more old-fashioned kind of entertainment, with historical exhibits, a newspaper museum, and various shops and food outlets. This may be the last year for Heritage Square as it is now; plans are being discussed to tear it down and create a transit hub instead.

08/27/2013

Hopkins Center for the Arts

Wander MN: State Fair Overflow Art Show

The Minnesota State Fair kicks off on Thursday. One popular attraction there is the display at the Fine Arts building. The exhibit is the result of an annual competition for Minnesota artists. Thousands of people apply; a first round is chosen; then that group is winnowed down to the final exhibit. Generally between 300-400 pieces of art are chosen to exhibit.

08/20/2013

(credit: www.wafrost.com)

Wander Minnesota: Dining Al Fresco in St. Paul

Last week, we took a look at places to dine al fresco in Minneapolis. Now it’s St. Paul’s turn. Here are a few great spots to check out while the weather is still so obliging. Long-time favorite W.A. Frost has a gorgeous patio behind the venerable restaurant, shaded by beautiful trees and very much a respite from the world. When the weather is nice, get there early—it’s very popular.

08/15/2013

Minnesota State Fair

Wander Minnesota: Dining Al Fresco In Minneapolis

In just two weeks, the Minnesota State Fair opens. In other words: while warm weather can go into the fall, the official end of summer isn’t far away. Time to enjoy some patio and/or rooftop dining! Here are a few suggestions on the Minneapolis side of the river to get you going. Don’t worry, St. Paul, your turn is coming next week.

08/10/2013

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Wander Minnesota: Time For Ice Cream

Last week, I took at look at a summer bucket list, because, like it or not, summer is racing to its end. The State Fair opens in three weeks, and school isn’t far behind. But there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the best rites of summer: visiting an ice cream shop (or two, or three…).

07/31/2013

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Wander Minnesota: Summer’s Bucket List

Summer was so late in arriving this year that it’s almost heresy to talk about it coming to an end. But as of this writing, the Minnesota State Fair is only a little over four weeks away. The clock is ticking—it’s time to make sure you get as much summer fun in as you can. Here are a few suggestions to consider.

07/23/2013

(credit: Amy Rea)

Wander Minnesota: A Stroll Down Walker’s Main Street

If you think about Walker, your first thought might turn to fishing. The city is on the shores of Leech Lake, the third largest lake in Minnesota (that’s entirely within state borders).

07/16/2013

historic, fort snelling

Wander Minnesota: Sightseeing with Veterans

After the Fourth of July, a reader asked me to come up with a list of places she could take her elderly father-in-law, a WWII veteran, over the summer that would give him the opportunity to pay respects to veterans of any war.

07/09/2013

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