Since we needed to stay close to Rochester in case any of our results require further treatment we decided to move just a bit further away so we could visit the Minnesota Twin Cities. Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota are just 30 minutes north of the Dakota County Fairgrounds in Farmington, MN where we are camped now. This also puts us only an hour away from Rochester if we need to return for further appointments.
After driving 50 miles northwest of Zumbro Falls we pulled into the fairgrounds and set up in a spacious site with 50 amp power and water (no sewer). However, there is a dump station in the park. The nightly fee is $25 which is high for a fairground but parks around here are very pricey so it is a fair price. There was no office to check in to and online I read that once set up a camp host would come and register us. After we set up completely the camp host came by and told us we were not in the right area but said we could stay the night and not move unless we wanted to stay more than one night. You would think there would be signage or some mention of where RVs are supposed to park online, but oh, well... The next day we had to move to the south side of the fairgrounds.
Using the Bigboy Travel site (as we often do) we were able to find a nice self guided walking tour. Since it was a Sunday we were able to park for free. We love doing these self paced walking tours to get to know a city especially those we have never visited before. While some may not like these urban hikes we like to mix up both urban hikes along with hikes in more natural settings. After all, to us diversity is the spice of life!
Since we had most of an afternoon still left we drove 30 minutes to do a self guided walking tour of the capitol city of Minnesota, St. Paul. Our first stop was the state capitol itself but once we arrived, we were sad to find that the capitol is closed for renovations for the next three months. So we didn’t get to go inside and really didn’t get to see much of the building since it was shrouded in wraps and scaffolding everywhere. I did take a picture of the top which was the only part not covered up in some fashion…
Some highlights of this walking tour were seeing Lambert’s Landing near the Mississippi River docks at Upper Landing, with 80 foot sheer white cliffs marking where the area’s first settler Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant staked his claim in 1830s where he built a tavern. Also there was the Union Depot with its Art Deco style which opened in 1926. We also really enjoyed Rice Park where we found several statues of Peanuts characters since the creator of them, Charles Schultz, is from St Paul. Lastly and interestingly was the Saint Paul Hotel which was originally built as the Windsor Hotel in 1878 where the likes of Gene Autry and John F Kennedy once stayed.
Sharon also loved seeing Mickey’s Diner which became one of the first diners placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the “1930s Mickey Crimmons and Bert Mattson were at a Restaurant Expo in Chicago when they " fell in love a street car display by New Jersey’s Jerry O’Mahoney Company. They ordered one right away and opened their 24/7 malt and burger shop open in 1939”.
As we left the city we were going to make one last stop at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden but alas, it too was being renovated, but such is life on the Road of Retirement…
NOTE: Still here in the fairgrounds waiting for the last of our results….