August 27, 2014
Farewell Saint Paul
It is a huge gift to live in a place that you love. You might arrive there by a stroke of luck, by accident, after listing pros and cons or as a result of hard decisions or hard work. Sometimes you don't know what to expect from the place you are moving to and it turns out to be more wonderful than you could imagine. I feel so lucky that I have lived in some amazing places and that I can choose where I want to live. It can be hard, though, to choose one great place over another.
When we moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, I really didn't know what to expect. From the start we loved our neighborhood and the many gorgeous bike routes, lakes, parks and trees that fill the Twin Cities. It took a while to really feel at home here, but now that we are moving it does feel like we will be leaving one dear home for another. Fortunately I know we will love living in Southern Maine, too, but in the last few days before we leave, I wanted to share some of the places that have made our home great.
Our neighborhood is perfect for walking around. There are many beautiful old houses to admire, plenty of big old trees to provide shade and even poems in the sidewalks to read as you pass by. If you need more than a poem to read, there are lots of Little Free Libraries in the area. We love walking to Bars Bakery, where I was lucky enough to work for a couple of years, for chai, coffee and caramel rolls as well as other delicious treats and good company. I shop at Mississippi Market frequently, since it is only a block from our house, they have everything I need, and its nice to be part of a co-op. The third place in our neighborhood that I go all the time is Blooma. I went to lots of prenatal yoga classes took Amos to baby and toddler classes, and also took Barre and Vinyasa classes there. I hope I can find another yoga studio that I will enjoy as much.
Summer in the Twin Cities is ideal for sitting on patios and eating ice cream. The Cheeky Monkey (another former workplace of mine) has good food and good brunch whether you eat inside or out. We've only been to the W.A. Frost patio a couple of times but it is a fun spot for a drink on a summer evening. Brasa is another nearby favorite for a meal. Probably my favorite ice cream spot is Cow Bella where you can eat amazing flavors of gelato that tastes like it was made it Italy.
Our neighborhood is also home to one of Amos' favorite places to play. The Holly Tot Lot is a playground for kids under 5 and we have spent many hours there this summer. We have also enjoyed bicycling to Como Park to visit the zoo, the lake, or the incredibly fun swimming pool. In the winter, the Como Park Conservatory is the perfect place to escape from the cold and imagine you are in the tropics. When we are over that way we often stop at Peapods for baby and kid's stuff and the sweet and friendly Colossal Cafe for breakfast or lunch.
We don't go to downtown Saint Paul a lot, but the Lowertown Farmers' Market is a good place to stock up on vegetables (and locally made foods) in the spring, summer and fall. Downtown is also home to Black Sheep Pizza, Tin Whiskers Brewing, a beautiful library, some nice parks, and Union Depot, among other things. Across the river we have visited Harriet Island which is a fun way to get another perspective on the city and ride a riverboat on the Mississippi, if you like that sort of thing.
One of the best ways to travel in the Twin Cities is by bicycle. If you are visiting you can rent a Nice Ride and get in a bike lane, on a bike trail, or take the greenways which cut through Minneapolis so you can avoid the roads as you pedal through town. We love visiting the lakes and parks in Minneapolis, especially Lake Harriet and the area by the Stone Arch Bridge (which is home to the Guthrie and the Mill City Farmers' Market). Some other favorite things and places: browsing at Common Good Books, admiring and buying fabric at Treadle Yard Goods, breakfast or treats at Patisserie 46, a meal at Blackbird Cafe, a special dinner at Saffron.
With two cities full of good food, interesting neighborhoods, museums, music, and parks there are many things we didn't get a chance to do and, I'm sure, many things I forgot to mention. There is also lots to see and do in other parts of Minnesota and nearby states. Since we are leaving very soon I'm letting go of regrets for things we haven't done and just enjoying our last days in this place. Taking these photos on an early morning walk around my neighborhood gave me a chance to see things with new eyes and appreciate this place even more. We've been lucky to call it home.