Thursday, November 16, 2017

Minnesota: The State of Nice

It's true. It even says so in the airport.

I love this state and feel blessed that I get a chance to visit every July. Most of the time it's simply to attend the quilt retreat in St. Cloud, but every several years the visit gets extended a little bit.

My dear friend, Cathy (who is also my first cousin), lives about 40 minutes from us here in California. However, we each met our Minnesota guy at the same small college in Kansas. Over ten years ago, Cathy and Terry started building a log cabin in northern Minnesota. This is the third time I've had the chance to visit, but it is the first time there has been running water and an indoor bathroom and shower!

 The outdoor porch is such a great place to sit and visit.
And do some knitting. Just be sure you have sprayed on adequate mosquito repellent!
Mark still prefers the outdoor shower, which is next to the garage they lived in for many years until the cabin was completed.
When they were drawing up the plans, Mark helped with the kitchen layout and planning.
 The quilt on the left is one I made a few years ago--all with Minnesota-themed fabric.

They are close to the Crow Wing River, which has 11 "lakes" in the chain. They are closest to the 1st Crow Wing, which is the last in the chain of the lakes. Figure that out...
They even have the Dragonfly, a great place to sleep during the summer.
One morning, Terry and Cathy took us to the one of the local museums. There are many Finns in the area and they celebrate St. Urho Day on March 16, the patron saint of the Finnish vineyard workers.
It's a funny legend and would be a hoot to attend the celebration.

It's a great local museum and our docent, Carolyn, was such fun.
Cathy and Terry's address is Menahga, a very small town, but Park Rapids is the largest nearby town. We had lunch there and did some window shopping.

There is parking down the center of the main street in Park Rapids. It's a little disconcerting at first, driving between the cars in the center of the street and those parked diagonally...
This is an actual sign on an actual place of business. I tried imagining that sign on any business in California.
A few others that made me laugh:

We had planned on going to the movies at their classic theater, but sadly, the marquee caught on fire the night before we left.

Getting a chance to see the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River was awesome. So much smaller than I anticipated...

On our last morning, we had breakfast together at a local restaurant in Menahga. The women's bathroom was very interesting...

Terry and Cathy plan on staying in Minnesota to celebrate Christmas. We had such a great time with them.
Then it was back to St. Paul. I have been online friends with Crystal (@sonnetofthemoon, and you really should follow her) for years, since the early days of blogging. I was thrilled that it worked to meet in real life for the first time, and she was every bit as charming as I knew she would be.
We met for lunch and had the best cheese curds. Ever.
The socks I hope to eventually finish are made with yarn that Crystal hand dyed.
The rest of the day was spent with family we had not seen in a few years.
Michelle, husband Darren, Lucy and Carsten.
Becky, husband Eric, Simon and Norah.
Jessica and Dan, who were soon to be married, and showed us this beautiful quilt made by Dan's mother.
Leon, Sharon and Christina.
Minnesota was such a treat. Until next time...


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Havplenty said... #

What wonderful pictures of a time spent with friends.

Carolyn said... #

Love the beautiful quilt! Do you know the pattern's name? Sure is pretty.
The Mississippi sure looks different in IL!

Nancy said... #

What a nice post to read. My mother's family is from around the Hibbing area and we went every summer as kids to spend 2 weeks at our grandparent's small farm, visiting cousins, seeing the sights, and so much more. Haven't been since the last family reunion 20 years ago. Thank you for refreshing how wonderful my memories of Minnesota are. Waiting for the continuation.