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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.