With the end of summer on our heels we have been soaking in every last drop of the sunshine and each other. We are all too aware that with back to school comes schedules and homework and earlier bedtimes. Not that we don't crave a bit more order around here but oh how I love the lazy days of summer. Eating dinner after all the playing and swimming has been done, staying in pajamas until lunch time, crafting, catching frogs, and lounging on the sofa with our favorite books.
In light of all this we have taken a few family field trips.
First to the Minneapolis Farmers Market. That one came from Mama's list, in case you were wondering. It was only the girl Things, Husband Jared and myself since Thing 4 was still in Tennessee. Our early morning began with a sweet treat from Yo-Yo donuts and lead us to the chaos that is parking for the market. Reminded us of Turkey and the parking garages there. Rather interesting. Nonetheless we made our way around rows and rows of fruit and veg, flowers and crafty goods. We scored a bundle of cilantro for only a $1 and a bunch of kale for my green smoothies for a $1 as well. I only wish I would have snapped a photo of the young man who helped us. He was clearly imitating his father who was sporting a suit and tie. Very knowledgeable of his produce and even gave me pointers on how to store the cilantro so it stayed fresh. Won me over in a second. There were fresh picked strawberries that tasted like sugar with a green stem and sweet corn beckoning to be grilled and adorned with melted butter. Which we did, of course. Then there were flowers. Dahlias. Every which way. In bouquets, on their own, sticking out of buckets and wrapped in cellophane. Swoon. The reddest tomatoes and the greenest cucumbers. If only I could have stayed all day. But we didn't. When our bags were loaded down heavy on our shoulders and flowers covered our faces we made our way home. To wash and cut and clean and cook all our finds. It was the best kind of field trip if you ask me.
Thing 3 and the bouquet she chose
Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes
Second field trip was to Summit Avenue to view F. Scott Fitzgerald's historic home, along with the other historic mansions that line this street. The only taker we had for this jaunt was Thing 1. Apparently we cannot even bribe our Things with food anymore. Husband Jared offered lunch at Cosetta's and there was no interest. Shame. They missed out on a divine lunch. Just the smell of sausage and peppers wafting out onto the street about does me in. Reminds me of my Nana's house growing up. Something special. We sat on the rooftop this time and enjoyed a view of the surrounding neighborhoods. Lo and behold as we made our way out to the car the new bakery was open. We're not ones to skip out on a new experience so we oohed and aahed at all the delectable pastries and finally settled on a chocolate covered cannoli and gelato for Thing 1 and myself. So rich and creamy, mine was topped with a double shot of espresso, also known as an affagato. Scrumptious. We drove the mile over to Summit, parked and walked around. Necks craned the entire time taking in the architecture, especially the turrets. Those are Thing 1's favorite. There were iron gates, trees older than the streets, stained glass windows and then there was F. Scott's house. We paused. Read the sign and learned some history. Our walk continued up and down each block and there was always a little something that caught our eye. Whether it be the garden, the porches, where it seemed everyone was sitting outside and people watching, or the wild flowers. It was a grand day in St. Paul.
Thing 1 and me at lunch
Husband Jared enjoying his chocolate covered cannoli
St. Paul's Cathedral
Admiring the view
One last day trip this past weekend. This time to a quaint town by the name of New Ulm. When we were home from church and gathered around the counter I threw my MPLS magazine out to the Things and said let's pick a new place to explore today. This particular issue was full of hikes, biking trails and walks. Since we don't currently own enough bikes for the entire family that was off the docket. All of the interesting hikes, according to the Things, were hours of drive time away. Not an option either. Now the walks, that's a different story. So they chose New Ulm and off we went. Only about an hour and a half away the drive was beautiful. Farms on either side of the highway. Smallish towns off in the distance. Even Minnesota's largest candy store in the middle of nowhere. I made Husband Jared promise to take us there another day. I mean, how cool does that sound? Anyhow, we found New Ulm and I must say when we parked along the main street downtown I wasn't sure this place was going to live up to any expectation the Things might have conjured up. It was empty. Most stores were closed. Only restaurants were bars and not even an ice cream shop or sweet treat in sight. Hmmm.
Downtown, interesting Bavarian style architecture
We continued walking to find the Glockenspiel that we had read about in the magazine. Built to pay homage to the city's roots this clock was erected after a sizable donation was made by a local family and then three other countries pitched in to help out. It really is quite a display. There are three performances daily and when we arrived we had just missed the 3pm show. Husband Jared decided it was worth seeing so we went to see the town while we waited until 5pm. One antique shop was open so the Things and I had a look around there. Thing 4 stumbled upon a stack of old comic books and the girls and I managed to find Mema a new lefse rolling pin. Score. The day was not a loss. While we were antiquing Husband Jared was reading up on the city. Come to find out there is a brewery. August Schell's to be exact. And actually in the history of the city there have been at least seven different breweries that called New Ulm home. Since there was time before the big clock show we drove out to the brewery. We were late for the tour and late for the music but we were able to have a look in the museum and stroll the gardens. Not a total loss. The girl Things stole my camera and snapped a few photos.
These gnomes reminded us of the three Daddies,
Husband Jared, Brien and Steve, on holiday
Monogram iron gate, love
We read about the history of the brewery, saw the "old" tools used for bottling and capping, and looked at the historic artifacts saved by the Schell family. Fascinating really. They do even brew root beer on site, from what I understand. Which would have been fun to taste on the tour. Oh well, another time. Maybe Oktoberfest! Not wanting to miss the performance at the Glockenspiel we raced back to the square and parked ourselves on a bench for the ten minute show. Spectacular. I can only imagine what it must be like in Germany, where the clocks are even more ornate and intricate. There was a statue on the wheel representing each part of New Ulm's history and thirty seven bells that chimed throughout. Very neat and worth the wait.
Following the performance there was one last icon to see before leaving New Ulm. Hermann the German. He is seen in the photo below holding his sword high above his head. Hermann stands tall on this rather elaborate display. There is a windy staircase which leads you to the top of the monument but it will cost you, so of course we passed on that. Instead we walked around the perimeter taking in all that was Hermann. The entire monument is 102 feet tall and in the year 2000 it was designated as a national symbol of German heritage. Remarkable. And from there we concluded our tour of New Ulm. All in all it was an informative day full of firsts. First time seeing a Glockenspiel in person, first time viewing a national symbol of German heritage and first time visiting a brewery, for the Things at least. It was fun being tourists in our own state.