Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why You Need to Take a Trip North

I lived in Minnesota for almost four and a half years.

That is about two and a half years longer than we thought we'd be there!

When we moved, we were excited about moving to a new city, but sad to be so far from home (for us to drive from our hometown of Sedan, Kansas to Minneapolis took 10 hours)!

We also moved when I was about 5 months pregnant. So even though we for some wacky reason thought, "Oh, it's fine - we can handle our first-born without any help at all!", I still remember sitting in the backyard and shedding tears about not knowing anyone and how I just wanted one friend (I kind of sound like Sloane - we wonder where she gets it from)!

A little time passed. I finally realized that driving in Minneapolis was not as terrifying as I originally thought it to be and that even though it was a pretty large city, it didn't feel like it! The neighborhoods were all adorable and we lived 10 blocks from Lake Harriet, one of the 10,000 lakes (fyi: since Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes).  And once we had Sloane, I decided I'd take a Early Childhood Education class with her, in hopes of meeting some people and finding some activities for her age. And sure enough, I met two gals who became my best buds as well as their babies who were the same age as Sloane, who Sloane STILL talks about to this day. And I continue to promise her that we will make sure we go back to visit them!

So why do you need to visit? I'll tell you.

This is real, people.

If you are one of those that loves the Fall season, loves the beautiful colors, the crisp weather and you happen to have kids on a Fall Break soon and are wanting a getaway, GO TO MINNESOTA! Because right now is the absolute BEST time to visit! You will get all of that and more!

There are adorable neighborhood shops at every corner (literally). I lived there for more than four years and would always drive by thinking, "I need to stop by here sometime!" For some reason I kept having children which always made that more difficult.

There is also of course the Mall of America. Which is massive and continuing to grow, but really does have great shopping as well as a new outlet mall just outside of the city, that I literally frequented atleast 36 times in the two months it was open before we moved!

There are sports teams to watch -- including the Vikings and their new stadium. They are hosting the Super Bowl and the NCAA Basketball Championships in the coming years which is very exciting!

If you love to do outdoor activities, take your bike and ride the trails that will take you way north past the city. Or continue on in your car for two more hours and get to Duluth and see one of the Great Lakes!

There are great activities for kids, like Como Zoo (which is free and small so it doesn't take an entire day), Minnesota Zoo and the Children's Museum in St. Paul.

And I'm certain if you needed help, I could pass you to on my old neighbor Annie, who would literally run out to greet from after yelling hello to you out her front window… which was how we met Annie the first time. At the time we thought, "Is this chick and her dog ok?" And later we realized that yes, she is totally fine. As is her dog. And her husband. And we became great friends with them and I don't think I would survived without her!

It is true, I was ready to move from Minne quite a few times. Mainly because I didn't want to be so far from family and have to make that drive all the time (which we made MANY, MANY times) as well as dealing with the sometimes absurd winters that can start in November and finally wrap up in May when the last pile of snow finally melts from the mall parking lot.

But since moving and taking a step back away from it, MAN… do I miss it. Especially right now. We were lucky to live in such a unique place and happy to have it as part of our story.

Sloane playing in a huge pile of leaves in our backyard!

So… Get in your car, enter Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55410 and go. And when you get to the lake, get out of your car, walk down to the path. Take a picture of the beautiful trees changing colors and the last of the sailboats still there. Walk around and get your 2.75 miles in and hopefully see the man who walks at least 12 dogs at one time… AND THEY OBEY!

It's a fairly incredible sight.

Soak up the fresh fall air. Make sure you leave a trinket for the elf who lives in the tree near the bridge (you'll see it). Then stop at the band shell, grab a scone and some hot chocolate, sit down, and take it all in!

And if you could, bottle it all up for me, too!


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