The landscape around Minneapolis is bedazzled with lakes and rivers and forests. The avid outdoors person can find lots of places to go get their nature on. Our plan for Friday was to get the old gang together and go canoeing down the St. Croix River near Taylors Falls. This is a beautiful area with rugged rocky cliffs overlooking a lush green valley. Unfortunately, there was a huge storm that dumped about 11 inches of rain over the watershed and caused flood levels throughout. Park Service says no canoe trips this week.
Saturday was another tour of the city, starting at the Mill City Museum. Long ago, Minneapolis had the largest flour mills in the world. The water from the Mississippi powered the machines in the huge building that cleaned, ground, and packed the flour. Gradually though, the mills moved out of the city. The Washburn A Mill closed in 1965 and sat empty until 1991, when it started on fire. Flour dust is explosive and the old mill was covered in it. Today’s museum is built around the remains that survived.
For the rest of the day’s tour, we explored Northeast Minneapolis (a.k.a. Nordeast). Marylu’s daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Bryan, who live there, were our tour guides. Lunch was at Kramarczuk’s Deli and Restaurant. Mouthwateringly authentic ethnic Eastern European food and an amazing selection of house-made sausages. Mit kraut, ya?
Following lunch, we set off to taste test the breweries and distilleries in Nordeast. In 2011 Minnesota passed what became known as the Surly Law. Surly Brewery fought for and won the right to sell it’s beer by the glass in taprooms. Since then, they opened a huge new brewery with an inventive gastropub and have become a real hotspot for beer fans.
Since then the number of breweries in Minnesota has skyrocketed. In just Nordeast, there are at least a dozen breweries. We visited four of them. We also found two new craft distilleries where they make and pour their own spirits. My favorite new distillery is Wander North. They actually make up an IPA beer then distill it to make beer whiskey! It is a great time to be a drinker.
Of course, life is not all beer. Or BBQ. Sometimes you have to go out and get some culture. Besides all the museums and galleries, there are many theaters here. The most famous is the Guthrie. This odd looking building overhangs the Mississippi River and offers unique views of the city. Inside, we saw a matinee performance of “South Pacific”. This was the original version with all the racism intact, so it was both a little disturbing and wonderfully entertaining.
We made kind of a major mistake during our visit here. We scheduled our doctor’s appointments on the last week of our stay. I’m OK but have to take yet another damn pill. Marylu seems to be OK but needs another test. Next week. An esophagogastroduodenoscopy. I think they charge by the syllable. So instead of Mackinac Island, we will be back in Eden Prairie again. But that just gives us more time to spend with friends and family and enjoy summer in Minnesota.
Next up: Eden Prairie