Monday, March 19, 2012

Minnesota trip report

No sooner had Fred and I returned from my grandfather's funeral than it was time to take off again, this time to Minnesota. We left on Saturday and drove up to Minneapolis, stopping about an hour away to do drive-thru tours of St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges in Northfield. Both schools have beautiful campuses, but they very definitely are not in an "urban" setting, which--all other things being equal--Annabelle thinks she would prefer.

Saturday night we went to Mall of America for supper. It's truly an astounding place with an amusement park and other wonders inside:

I was taken with the idea of an entire store devoted to Peeps, and I don't even LIKE Peeps:

A Peep-mobile! I would so drive this car:

Let's pause for some Peep-related political humor:

Sunday morning we went out to explore Minneapolis a little bit. Here's Annabelle on the banks of Lake Harriet:

We went to the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center to meet my friend Emily for lunch:

We also took a family photo:

(That was the day that FSU was playing in the March Madness tournament, and I was trying to look like somebody who cared about basketball.)

Check out this crazy wallpaper outside the restrooms at the Walker Art Center:

We had our tour of Macalester College set for the next day, but we went over to St. Paul after lunch to find our way around and take advantage of the lovely weather (apparently highs of 80 are uncommon in Minnesota in March--who knew?):

There were students stretched out all over the place enjoying the sunshine, and one young man even had a hammock (I photographed his reflection in this window in order to be slightly less creepy):

Macalester has a very pretty campus:

It's also in a very nice part of town, with a Whole Foods within walking distance and fancy, unaffordable stores like Anthropolgie just down the street. One of F. Scott Fitzgerald's former residences is also a short distance away:

The Cathedral of St. Paul is 3.5 miles away from campus, and it is truly beautiful:

This is a mural on the wall of a shop just off-campus:

I took this picture through the window of a closed laundromat. The bear costume hanging there just cracked me up for some reason:

Monday morning we had our official Macalester visit. I had already taken most of the pictures that I wanted the previous day, but look! it's the sign for the Kofi Annan Ping Pong Table:

We had a great visit. I thought it was interesting that they took the parents and the kids on separate tours. I was so impressed by our tour guide, who was a second-year cultural anthropology major! We ate lunch in the dining facility (Cafe Mac), and the food was great. After lunch, Annabelle got to sit in on a class, which she really enjoyed. The school has a strong academic focus, but the vibe we got from the students was collaborative rather than competitive. Mac also offers a lot of great musical opportunities to include a bagpipe band!

Here's a clip I found on the Internet of the bagpipe band performing at the Winnipeg Scottish Festival earlier this year:

We were in a hurry to hit the road after Annabelle got out of class, because bad weather was coming, and we had a long drive home. I did make Fred drive around the block, however, so I could get a shot of the snow-white squirrel we saw as we were leaving St. Paul:

Annabelle and I agreed that seeing a white squirrel had to be a very good omen!


Anonymous said...

The Twin Cities is a great place to live! My sister Marty has become a snow bird living half a year in DeLand and the other half in St. Paul. My brother John and wife Reen live in Minneapolis and my sister Peggy and husband Paul live in St. Paul.... While on furlough from Ghana one Christmas we heard the Minneapolis Symphony and St. Olaf's choir do a Christmas program which was superb Last Tuesday a group of us went to Stetson to hear several woodwind ensembles. The clarinet group had six different kinds of clarinets in colluding a contrabass.... Annabelle's very lucky to have so many good schools to choose from. Good luck Annabelle... Love, David

Claire said...

Thanks for including the family picture in front of the sculpture. Now I know it is a bent spoon with a cherry on it...before it was a round red ball on an oval thing.


Bonnie said...

Dave, I didn't even KNOW there were that many kinds of clarinets!

LOL, Claire!

sherrijj said...

Bonnie, I have to confess something... I thought St. Olaf was just a made up place that Rose was from on the Golden Girls! Ha! Glad you had a fun trip to Minnesota. I haven't made it there yet, despite being right next door in Wisdonsin for so long. I'd like to check out that giant mall!
Love, Sherri

Bonnie said...

LOL, Sherri, I didn't realize Rose on Golden Girls went to St. Olaf! No, it's quite real and has a great reputation for its music programs.