Monday, September 19, 2011

Insiders' Guide to Twin Cities by Jay Gabler

Planing trips is almost as much fun as taking trips. In the dream phase, many things are still possible, and making the hard decisions, such as "Do I have the time?" and "Should I spend so much?" can be put off for another day. In such a state, I spent several hours looking through Insiders' Guide to Twin Cities, 7th edition, by Jay Gabler, preparing for a long weekend in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area visiting my daughter Laura.

I have been to Minneapolis-St. Paul several times before. In each case, I had only a limited amount of time to see the sites and saw just enough to know I wanted to see more. So I enjoyed the well-organized and frequently updated Insiders' Guide. I read with interest the overview, history, and architecture chapters. Then, because I am going to sleep on a futon in my daughter's apartment, I totally skipped the accommodations chapter. We will want to eat out some of the time, so I skimmed the restaurant listings to get just a general idea of the variety of cuisines; I will let Laura suggest where we eat, as she always has good nose for delicious food. Skipping nightlife and shopping, I sharpened my pencil and settled in to study the attractions, events, arts, and parks and recreation chapters. From these I made a list of places I'd especially like to visit.

Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis - I love the name and always enjoy seeing water falls. This one inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to write "Song of Hiawatha." Visiting will feed both my love of history and of literature. The park should be bright with fall colors when I get there.

Open Book in Minneapolis - A "literary arts complex" according to Gabler. I'd like to see the book printing and binding, attend a literary reading, and peruse the book shop. Maybe we will eat lunch or have dessert in the cafe.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts - I have been once before alone, and it will be fun to go back with Laura. MIA is a large general art museum with every major movement and continent represented. I really liked the Asian collection and the period rooms. There are also fine European and American paintings. It is free to visit! Because it is close to Laura's apartment, we could go many times.

Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden - Laura likes modern and contemporary art and will appreciate me buying the tickets. I like the pieces that are big, colorful, or humorous.

Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul - I have been to state capitol buildings in Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I always enjoy statues, gigantic paintings, and historical plaques, as well as domes and colorful stone columns. Maybe we'll spot some famous politicians.

Mounds Park in St. Paul - Prehistoric woodland people lived in Minnesota and left six mounds that can still be seen.

Como Zoo in St. Paul - I have been to the wonderful Minnesota Zoo already, so this time I'd like to see the Como Zoo, which is one of the few municipal zoo in the country that is free. Gabler likes it. I especially want to see the snow leopards and black-footed penguins.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska - The state's largest public garden has lots of trees indigenous to the northern woods, as well as a maze. It sounds like my kind of place.

There is enough in the Twin Cities for several trips. Perhaps I should read Gabler's chapter on relocating to the great Midwestern metropolitan area. I'd love to go to Twins games regularly no matter where they are in the standings and have my picture taken on Kirby Puckett Lane. I hope the weather is fair.

Gabler, Jay. Insiders' Guide to Twin Cities, 7th edition. Insiders Guide, 2010. ISBN 9780762757039.

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