Forest in shape of Minnesota: Oaks hoax? Nope – genuine pine shrine

At first glance, it looks a bit fake, like a Photoshopped woodsy version of crop circles.

But Google Maps doesn’t lie. Tucked into the forests of Park Township in Lake of the Woods County is a 23-acre stand of jack pine trees in the shape of Minnesota.

Reddit users this week were buzzing about the image – and whether it could possibly be real – after someone posted an image of it.
Who pulled this off – liquored-up lumberjacks? Aliens?

No, it was inventive DNR forestry veteran Bill Lockner – in the late 1980s, way before Google Maps.

A timber sale on the state-managed land was pending, so Lockner made it interesting. Without the benefit of GPS, Lockner surveyed out the Minnesota shape, using only rudimentary tools, a compass and hip chain, DNR spokeswoman Jennifer Teegarden told BringMeTheNews.

Subsequently, the land around it has been logged off, and new trees have grown up in the Minnesota shape, Lake of the Woods County water and lands Director Josh Stromlund explained. The Minnesota-shaped stand – roughly 1,200 feet wide at the arrowhead and 1,350 feet tall – is well known by county residents, he said.

via Bring Me The News and Reddit

What The Twin Cities Can Teach Us About Living Well via Huffington Post

Minneapolitans are not ones to brag, so those who haven’t spent time in the area would be surprised to know that Minneapolis and its twin city, St. Paul, are perennial winners on nationwide surveys of health, happiness, fitness and well-being.

How do they do it?

The Twin Cities are the most active metropolitan area in the country
Minneapolitans are an active bunch. Nearly 83 percent of residents were active every single day — and more than half of city residents got at least the government-recommended 30 minutes of moderate activity per day, according to a survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine. The organization anointed the Minneapolis-St Paul area as the fittest city in the U.S. in 2012, thanks to the sportiness and overall good health of its residents.

Minneapolis boasts the best parks in the country
In June 2013, the Trust for Public Land ranked Minneapolis’ parks as the very best in the country, beating out New York, Chicago and San Francisco for acreage, access and, let’s face it, sheer beauty.

All those parks contribute to the public health, fostering relationships between citizens and nature and improving physical fitness by providing a free and pleasurable place to exercise. Parks can also help mitigate urban pollution, according to the American Planning Association, and help reenforce community ties — all important factors for citizen wellness.

12,000 Lakes
"Technically the slogan is ‘land of 10,000 lakes,’ but everyone from Minnesota knows it’s closer to 12,000," says HuffPost editor and native Minnesotan, Jordan Turgeon. We’re not just taking her word for it — an official government survey put the number of lakes at 11,842 statewide.

And while that staggering number refers to the entire state, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area boasts 22 distinct lakes and the Chain of Lakes park that covers 13.3 miles of water. Minneapolis is actually referred to as the “city of lakes.”

But why would lakes make you happier and healthier? While the health benefits of green space get more attention, there’s evidence that blue space — lakes, rivers, streams and oceans — can also have a positive influence over health and wellbeing, reported The Guardian.

High wages, low rent
"A reader asked me the other day for a Rent Is Too Damn High perspective on what city he should live in," wrote Slate columnist Matthew Yglesias. "On one level, it’s a complicated question. On another level, the answer is that you should move to Minneapolis."

Twin Cities residents earn about 23 percent above the average national household income, but their rent prices remain below the average of America’s major metropolitan areas. In an index of housing affordability, Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked as cheaper than comparable cities like Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, both Portlands (Maine and Oregon) and Austin, according to the Center for Housing Policy and the National Housing Conference.

They’ve been smoke-free since way back
Minnesota enacted a state-wide ban of smoking in all workplaces in 2007, but the phase-out began several decades earlier when the state passed the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act in 1975, making it the first to ban smoking in most public places and require designated non-smoking sections in restaurants, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

Unemployment is low — and that means better mental health
Minneapolis now has the lowest unemployment of any major metropolitan area, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.As if the stress of looking for a job weren’t enough, unemployment is actually linked to a overall increased risk of poor health and even mortality.

Minneapolitans are bookworms
Minneapolis ranks in the top three most literate cities, thanks to a high density of bookstores, high newspaper circulation and a well-read populace. And, as we’ve recently explored, reading can contribute to better sleep, better cognitive function and improved stress release.

It doesn’t hurt that Minneapolis is friendly to writers, according to a Ploughshares report, with great libraries, cafes and citywide WiFi plans that allow you to get connected from anywhere.

  1. Camera: Canon EOS 5D
  2. Aperture: f/9
  3. Exposure: 1/40th
  4. Focal Length: 160mm

Bit of a long post, but Lexus/Cool Hunting just put out this city guide on Minneapolis today …

Cool Hunting City Guides: Minneapolis

Once defined as the city belonging to Prince with the notoriety of First Ave, funk bands and Janet Jackson’s infamous shout-out on “Escapade,” Minneapolis has been quietly revitalizing itself as a hub. From well-designed coffee shops, tree-lined streets, restaurants serving farm-to-table cuisine and an optimal bike-share system that allows for easy exploration of the city, Minneapolis is homegrown style with a twist. With a variety of growing cultures—Hmong, Somali and Nigerian—lending the tastes and sounds to the city, a well-respected music industry, arts festivals and outdoor summer parties, a budding advertising hub with names like Colle McVoy, Space 150 and Mono, it’s a city beaming with talented men and women who dedicate their lives to improving the visual aesthetics of the city, while playing in it. And it prompts the question: Why don’t we hear more about Minneapolis?

1) The Bachelor Farmer
Tucked in among the beautiful loft buildings of the North Loop neighborhood, the Bachelor Farmer stands as a one-of-a kind destination for Scandinavian cuisine. The menu is fresh, concise and full of surprises. With a brilliant staff to match an equally impressive setting, walking into the Bachelor Farmer is like walking into the stunning lobby of a five-star hotel somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Hardwood floors, patterned wallpaper, bare tables and artwork by famed photographer Alec Soth greet you as you enter the double doors. During their ongoing Sunday brunch, the dinning room is filled with bright light seeping through the large windows that overlook the cobblestone street below. Patrons sip on champagne while picking away at a three-tiered tray of treats (an assortment of croissants, scones and muffins) before delving into delectable platters of omelets, soft pancakes and fresh fruit. A Sunday tradition—keep in mind it’s first-come, first-served—the Bachelor Farmer brunch is not to be missed. Owned and operated by Eric and Andrew Dayton, the Bachelor Farmer is part of an exquisite trio of businesses housed in the historic corner building. Next up could be a little shopping at their menswear boutique, Askov Finlayson, or refreshments at Marvel Bar.

2) Angry Catfish
A full-service bicycle repair shop and a coffee bar all in the same building, Angry Catfish is a special blend of necessity and comfort. This local hangout spot is a refreshing take on picking up that morning cup of Joe—especially if you bike to work. Serving Intelligentsia coffees in an inviting space with a very friendly staff, the Angry Catfish adds a dynamic feel to South Minneapolis as an ode to a sacred cycling culture. An old Ace Hardware store—fully gutted and renovated in 2009 with furnishings made from re-purposed bicycles—it’s a customer-driven business that carries brands like Giro, Aether and Outlier, and focuses on building long-lasting relationships with each client. Grab a coffee at the bar while you pump up your tires, and get back to exploring MPLS.

3) BlackBlue
Nestled on a quiet street in the historic St. Paul lays a beacon of style and quality wear, courtesy of BlackBlue. Carrying brands like Raleigh Denim, Jean Shop, Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Red Wing Heritage, BlackBlue is perfect for all kinds of sartorially minded gentlemen. With the help of friendly and knowledgeable staff, you’re likely to find yourself immersed in a conversation about the city, local music and of course, pick up the perfect pair of jeans. Selby Avenue—paved with lights, corner shops and two-story houses—is a sigh in itself, reminiscent of a “Leave it to Beaver” era. The neighborhood is bike-friendly, lined with beautiful gardens and slower in pace than that of other parts of Minneapolis. In an ongoing series on their blog, the shop finds new ways to interact with their customers, posting images of shoppers in their new finds after purchase; so you might find yourself MPLS-famous too.

4) Urban Bean
The coffee shop trend has not skipped out on Minneapolis. The city is piled high with unique places to get a good latte and scope the scene—and Urban Bean is the perfect spot. Housed in what used to be old Muddy Waters on 24th and Lyndale, this coffee shop is where high-design meets unbeatable craftsmanship. Built under the instruction of owner Greg Martin, Urban Bean prides itself on a visually pleasing aesthetic that is focused on cultivating conversations. The Urban Bean brand with its two locations—the other is on Bryant Ave and West 33rd Street—is dog-friendly, with ample room. At the Lyndale location, what instantly draws your attention is the large communal table set against the window—usually with three to four people quietly engaged in work on their respective laptops. Urban Bean is not just about great coffee; they believe in building community and understanding the needs of their customers. Each barista is knowledge not only about the beans or roasting process, but also about the brands they carry and the brewing methods that make for refined taste.

5) The Northeast Social
An unlikely hidden gem, the Northeast Social is known for serving one of the best half-pound beef burgers in town—with a nice price of $5 during happy hour—and a great hand-picked drinks list to match. With an incredible selection of art—most of which is owned by local patrons and created by some of the cities most notorious names—this is a spot void of any pretense. As a local’s go-to spot, the food is just as tasty as the conversations overheard. It’s also the atmosphere on the block that makes this restaurant so special; right off of University and 13th Ave, The Northeast Social calls well-known destinations like the Rogue Buddha Gallery, the Ritz Dolls Theatre and the 331 Club (which holds one of the best Trivia nights in the city) neighbors. You’ll get a good dose of ritual here. A long-standing tradition is the communal toast towards the end of the night led by owners Joe Wagner and Sam Bonin who are often spotted delivering meals to tables. The entire staff gets behind the bar with a glass of sparkling wine and after the a bell sounds off, a collective “Social!” is shouted by everyone in the building, followed by the clicking of glasses all over the place—a sweet little ceremony worth taking the trip for.

6) The Soap Factory
Walking past the Soap Factory, you would never guess that one of the most important art galleries in Minneapolis is just a few feet away. There is a darkness to the building that is eerie and a nearby loading dock that has an abandoned feeling almost always catches visitors off-guard. This is all due to the fact that the gallery is located in the old National Soap Purity Company; a 48,000 square foot factory that was built back in 1884. But the Soap Factory is one of the most interesting and forward-thinking spots in the city. Year round, it acts as a teaching tool as well as an experience-based gallery, where people can directly interact with subjects through visual arts. Showcasing sculpture, paintings, installation and also performance and video, the gallery gives artists a chance to utilize the space in whatever form or shape, ultimately presenting a raw and authentic version of the art. Whatever exhibit is on display, it always feels authentic—not just about the the artist as a creative, but also the artist as a person. This is because the gallery works from the basis of promoting the artists by having the community rally around them. Not to be missed, the Haunted Basement is a crowd favorite; a yearly exhibition during Halloween designed by an artist and used to both terrify and amuse patrons.

7) Muddy Waters
Once a quiet coffee shop on 24th and Lyndale (now new home of Urban Bean Coffee), Muddy Waters could have won the award for best transformation over the last couple of years. Moving a few blocks up the street to the middle of Uptown (Lyndale and Lake), Muddy Waters is a beacon of Minneapolis culture. From artists to rappers, models to city politicians, everybody and anybody can be found enjoying a large selection of locally brewed beer, mini pizzas and fresh salads. With a small indoor patio, summer, spring and fall are magical and, if you’re lucky, you could attend on a night that local DJs are playing everything from soul to hip-hop. At all costs, make sure to look out for the small side bar featuring coffee and bakery, all made fresh for the daily commute—with plenty of gluten-free options. From Thai coffees to the Muddy’s Cubano, the coffee shop is a nice pairing to the curious house menu including the peach chipotle BBQ pork. A safe bet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Muddy’s offers some of the best comfort food in town.

8) Day Trip: Stillwater
A visit to Minneapolis would not be complete without a day trip to the birthplace of Minnesota. Just a 30-minute drive outside of the Twin Cities, Stillwater is a picturesque town on the river St. Croix, situated on a beautiful hill that entirely envelopes you as you enter. From a bevy of antique stores, to Irish Pubs and cafés on the nearby dock, the town is a much-needed getaway from the mayhem of Minneapolis. During the summer and spring months, Stillwater hosts a number of outdoor festivals, picnics and boat tours on the river and it’s not unlikely to see lines forming outside of ice-cream shops, or public parking lots with “full” signs. Joined by the Stillwater Lift Bridge, Wisconsin and Minnesota are easily connected and share much of the foot traffic that descends on Stillwater throughout the year. Visitors opting to stay overnight have the choice of resting at the historic Lowell Inn and dining at Domacin, followed by a visit to the local favorite, the Mad Capper Saloon.

via Cool Hunting

The Minneapolis skyline: Which freeway approach gives the best view?

FROM THE NORTH ON I-35W
Coming from the north, as soon as you cross into the city limits, you find a perfect history lesson on the city Minneapolis laid out in front of you. You’re high enough up that you can see all way down to the riverfront, at the bottom strata, the oldest part of the city – the mills that built Minneapolis, their Gold Medal and Pillsbury signs still visible. The layer above that, you see the city reaching higher and higher, the clock tower of City Hall with its peaked copper green roof most prominent here. The city reaches upward, decade after decade, layer after successive layer: the Norwest Center, the US Bank Plaza, and at the top, the Capella, IDS and Wells Fargo towers. To the west, warehouses and water towers. Even the Metrodome, off to the east and framed by the smokestacks and transformers of Southeast, looks OK from this perspective – your drunken, parachute-covered uncle, snoring peacefully off in a corner.

The city skyline from the north is the city skyline at its most mythical; it looks dense, heavy, multi-layered, both historic and contemporary, all of it stretched out before you. I feel like there should be a rainbow arching down to kiss the shiny bronze head of the Hubert H. Humphrey statue at City Hall every time I drive down from the north. Imparting that sensation is about all you can ask of your city’s skyline.

by Andy Sturdevant on MinnPost

Vintage Minnesota Official Tourist Guide Book 1939-43  via Glass Circus Antiques

The Ultimate Long Weekend in Minneapolis

This Midwestern city may bring to mind parkas before parks, and Vikings before biking, but Minneapolis is as sweet in summer as it is frigid in winter. The town is bisected by the Mississippi River and studded with lakes, ponds and parks. If basking in the outdoors isn’t your thing, there is more than enough culture to fill a long weekend to overflowing: daring architecture, a vital art scene anchored by the contemporary-focused Walker Art Center and restaurants that deftly combine modern technique with heartland comfort. (Here even the chicest boîte is still sure to dish up some “Minnesota nice.”) So whatever your sensibility—Prince or prints, lamb tartare or lutefisk—a packed few days in Minneapolis is bound to satisfy, you betcha.

Day One: Friday
6 p.m. Arrive at Minneapolis International Airport; pick up a rental car or hop on the light-rail. Either way, you will be downtown in about half an hour.

7 p.m. Check into the slick Aloft Minneapolis hotel, ideally located for taking advantage of the city’s parks and paths (from $99 per night, 900 Washington Ave. S., aloftminneapolis.com). Ask for a room facing Gold Medal Park.

8 p.m. A 10-minute drive takes you to Burch Steak and Pizza (1933 Colfax Ave. S., burchrestaurant.com), the newest restaurant from local chef Isaac Becker. Globe lamps cast a warm glow over this former pharmacy. Steak is at the heart of the menu; for most cuts, diners are given the choice of grass-fed, prime or the fuzzily defined “natural,” as well as smaller or larger portions. (All come sided with béarnaise, pickled beech mushrooms and a silky steak sauce.) The smaller plates are an opportunity to explore other sections of the menu; the one devoted to raw dishes spans everything from oysters to lamb tartare.

10 p.m. The impact of hometown band the Replacements is almost as great as that of another favorite son, Prince. One of the tastier tributes to the band can be found in the industrial-chic bar/restaurant/performance venue Icehouse (2528 Nicollet Ave. S., icehousempls.com). Named for a lyric in the ’80s Replacements anthem “Left of the Dial,” the drink Playing Makeup, Wearing a Guitar is a riff on a classic Manhattan, made with carbonated bourbon and cola-cherry bitters. It rocks.

11 p.m. For an unusual sweet treat, wander a block down Nicollet Avenue to Glam Doll Donuts (2605 Nicollet Ave., glamdolldonuts.com). The Chart Topper (cake doughnut glazed with peanut butter and streaks of sriracha) is good, if desperate for attention. Don’t forget to get your picture taken in the photo booth.

Day Two: Saturday
9:30 a.m. Walk two blocks down the river and graze for breakfast at the Mill City Farmers Market (704 S. 2nd St., millcityfarmersmarket.org). Chef Shack turns out French toast and Indian spiced doughnuts; Cafe Palmira and Bolt have good coffee. Watch the river go by from the steps of the nearby Guthrie Theater.

10:30 a.m. Before Minneapolis was the City of Lakes, it was the Mill City (Gold Medal Park is a reference to flour, not sports). Mill City Museum (704 S. 2nd St., millcitymuseum.org) is built around the ruins of the Washburn “A” Mill, which burned in 1991. After riding the freight elevator/theater up the observation tower, watch “Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat,” a funny history of the town.

Noon Matt’s Bar (3500 Cedar Ave. S., mattsbar.com) in the Powderhorn neighborhood claims to have originated the classic (if misspelled) Minneapolis burger, the Jucy Lucy—a beef patty with a core of molten cheese. Another burger worth seeking out comes from “Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern’s food truck, AZ Canteen ( azcanteen.com). The cabrito (young goat) burger with roasted tomatoes, charred onions and pickles is outstanding. Check the website for current location.

1:30 p.m. The American Swedish Institute, on the way back downtown (2600 Park Ave., asimn.org), is a model for how a small institution can draw visitors with exciting programming. Wander the opulent Turnblad Mansion, then check out “Pull, Twist, Blow—Transforming the Kingdom of Crystal,” a show featuring the vanguard in Swedish glass art (through Oct. 13).

3 p.m. It is worth making a 10-minute detour to Forage Modern Workshop (4023 E. Lake St., foragemodernworkshop.com), which opened last year. The store specializes in Midwest modern furniture and housewares, like chairs by the late architect Ralph Rapson. Some were created for Knoll in the 1940s; others are only now in production. A more portable purchase: the striped Backseat Blanket, designed by Minneapolis-based Pierrepont Hicks and made at nearby Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Hit the attached cafe, Parka, for cookies and a flight of local milks—two whole and one chocolate.

4 p.m. For something stiffer than milk, grab a refreshment at Butcher & the Boar restaurant, on the edge of downtown (1121 Hennepin Ave., butcherandtheboar.com). The beer garden has almost 30 brews on tap, but the smart money goes to the spectacular selection of bourbons, some from the restaurant’s own bottling. Or, head back to the hotel for a breather. Either way, pause in front of the Macy’s on Nicollet Mall, where a statue commemorates “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which was set in Minneapolis. The bronze Mary is tossing her tam into the air, just like in the program’s credits (700 Nicollet Mall).

6 p.m. Casually elegant Piccolo has only two dozen seats; reservations are advised even for an early dinner (4300 Bryant Ave. S., piccolompls.com). A destination restaurant hidden in leafy southwest Minneapolis, it has a menu that changes seasonally but almost always includes scrambled eggs with pickled pig’s trotters, truffle butter and Parmigiano.

7:30 p.m. Walk four tree-lined blocks to Lake Harriet and follow the path around its northern shore to the gabled bandshell ( mplsmusicandmovies.com). There is a concert there every Saturday evening in summer. (July is given over to the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.) Grab a bench or spread that Backseat Blanket on the grass. If you are feeling restless, hop a ride on the restored Como-Harriet trolley. It runs between Lake Harriet and larger Lake Calhoun to the north, taking about 15 minutes to complete the round trip.

10 p.m. Head back into the big city. Beneath bustling restaurant Borough, you’ll find Parlour, with wingback chairs and a cocktail list that leans toward the adventurous (730 N. Washington Ave., boroughmpls.com). The Pickle in the Middle is an easy sipping cocktail made with Gamle Ode, a locally produced dill aquavit.

Day Three: Sunday
10:15 a.m. You would be hard pressed to find a better place to start Sunday than the Bachelor Farmer (50 N. 2nd Ave., thebachelorfarmer.com). Brunch finds the room packed to the wood rafters with families, fashionistas and everyone in between. Begin with a coffee flip: sweetened espresso and bourbon shaken with egg and served in a coupe. Flag down the red trolley offering pastries and sparkling wine. Order a few Scandinavian open-face sandwiches, called smørrebrød, and maybe French toast. For a really substantial bite, get the rye spaetzle pyttipanna with pork-shoulder pastrami—topped with poached egg, savoy cabbage and caraway hollandaise. If there is a wait, browse the clothing, books and housewares (and play a game of bubble hockey) in the attached shop, Askov Finlayson.

Noon The Walker Art Center is a 15-minute drive away (1750 Hennepin Ave., walkerart.org). One of the nation’s leading venues for contemporary art, the Walker isn’t all about indoors action—the sculpture garden is home to works by more than 40 artists, including Richard Serra, Louise Nevelson and Claes Oldenburg, whose “Spoonbridge and Cherry” has become a city icon. This summer sees the addition of 16 holes of miniature golf designed by local artists, architects and others.

2:30 p.m. Minneapolis has always punched above its weight in the architecture department. Head back toward the river, stopping at the corner of Washington and Hennepin Avenues. If the ING Reliastar building’s colonnade of elongated gothic arches looks familiar, it is because they were designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who used similar forms in the original World Trade Center in New York. Work your way back down the river, stopping at Jean Nouvel’s replacement for Ralph Rapson’s Guthrie Theater (818 S. 2nd St., guthrietheater.org). The midnight-blue building’s most compelling feature is the cantilevered “Endless Bridge” that juts out over Mill Ruins Park toward the Mississippi. Continue up to the ninth floor, to the Amber Box, walled in yellow glass, for more views (and a vertigo-inducing peek through a window in the floor). Afterward, cross the river to the University of Minnesota and the Frank Gehry-designed Weisman Art Museum (333 E. River Rd., weisman.umn.edu). It is an antecedent to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Mr. Gehry’s other sculptured-metal facades. Some of his sketches hang in a second-floor seminar room.

5 p.m. Cross back over the river and duck into Palmer’s, one of the city’s great dive bars (500 Cedar Ave., palmersbar.net). While the bartender pulls you a Grain Belt Nordeast, read over the Hall of Shame—a board cataloging the offenses of dozens of now-banned patrons. Admire the art (for sale) and the taxidermy fish (not for sale).

7 p.m. Pig Ate My Pizza (4154 W. Broadway Ave., Robbinsdale, pigatemypizza.com) doesn’t look out of place in the suburb of Robbinsdale, about a 20-minute drive from downtown. There is a television over the bar, a cartoony mascot and communal tables. So it may come as a surprise when your server asks if you would be interested in the tasting menu ($60 for two). Pig Ate My Pizza is from the modernist chefs behind the lauded restaurant Travail. The Piggy Pie—charcuterie on a brioche crust served beneath a smoke-filled cloche—is popular. Dessert is a must.

9:30 p.m. If you have seen the 1984 film “Purple Rain” you know how integral First Avenue (701 1st Ave. N., first-avenue.com) is to the local music scene. The club’s main room features national acts; the smaller 7th St. Entry hosts up-and-comers. Alternatively, just six blocks away, the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant (1010 Nicollet Mall, dakotacooks.com) presents jazz and world-music artists.

Day Four: Monday
11 a.m. After breakfast, check out of the hotel and head to Lake Street, which runs east-west through the city. This is where Minneapolis’s remarkable ethnic diversity can be found. Take the intersection of East Lake Street and 16th Avenue South. On the southeast corner is the shop Ingebretsen’s (1601 E. Lake St., ingebretsens.com), part of local Scandinavian life for more than 90 years. If you have ever had lutefisk—lye-cured salt fish eaten around Christmas—it likely came from here. At the Dur Dur Bakery and Grocery, which serves the Middle Eastern and African communities, you can buy halal camel meat (1552 E. Lake St., 612-721-9449). Next door, El Porto is a Mexican shop specializing in Western wear (1542 E. Lake St., 612-721-9200). Eight blocks west is the Midtown Global Market (920 E. Lake St., midtownglobalmarket.org), an indoor bazaar with stalls representing cultures from Italy to Tibet. Try the decadent cream-filled brioche at Michelle Gayer’s Salty Tart.

12:30 p.m. To dine at Steven Brown and Jörg Pierach’s Linden Hills restaurant Tilia (2726 W. 43rd St., tiliampls.com) without having to wait for a table, go for Monday lunch. Roast chicken thighs are described on the menu as “sorta jerk style,” and the haystack shoestring fries with pepper aioli are the frites of your dreams.

2 p.m. Get lost in antiques emporium Hunt & Gather (4944 Xerxes Ave. S., huntandgatherantiques.com), a seemingly endless series of rooms containing the treasures of a million Midwestern basements.

3 p.m. Almost adjacent to the airport is sprawling Minnehaha Park (4801 S. Minnehaha Park Dr., minneapolisparks.org). Take an easy hike to the bottom of the ravine where, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow describes in “The Song of Hiawatha,” “the Falls of Minnehaha/Flash and gleam among the oak-trees/Laugh and leap into the valley.”

4:30 p.m. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has good food—and not just for an airport. Surdyk’s ( surdyks.com), a liquor store and gourmet market, has an outpost in Terminal 1, with sandwiches and local foods and drinks (grab a bittersweet chocolate cookie by Rustica Bakery). Concourse G has spots from Andrew Zimmern and Piccolo’s Doug Flicker. It is almost enough to make you long for a flight delay.

via Wall Street journal

A rather interesting article by Reuters about visiting the Twin Cities. Apparently the IDS Potbelly is a great place for breakfast, and baseball games are called “matches” that may go into “overtime”. Oh well, neat article, check it out:

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Minneapolis-St. Paul

What is America’s greatest double act? Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? The Blues Brothers?

For residents of the U.S. midwestern state of Minnesota, there is an easy answer - the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Relatively low crime rates, a plethora of lakes and picnic spots, interesting architecture and top-class sports teams make the pair a desirable place to live and to visit - as long as you dodge the wicked cold if you are not into winter sports.

FRIDAY
5 p.m. - Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which even has tornado shelters in the restrooms, is to the south of both cities.

Plenty of chain hotels line the Interstate nearby but if you stay in downtown Minneapolis there is a modern tram service from the airport (metrotransit.org/metro-system).

Minneapolis is generally livelier and a better bet for hotels than the more staid state capital St. Paul, 20 minutes east by road.

7 p.m. - Dining options abound in downtown Minneapolis, which is dominated by skyscrapers and old warehouses turned into atmospheric bars and restaurants.

The Capital Grille on Hennepin Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares, is an excellent option if you like steaks (here).

8.p.m. - This area is also theaterland in Minnesota, with experts saying there are more shows on per week in the Twin Cities than anywhere else in the United States except New York.

The beautifully restored Orpheum Theatre on Hennepin Avenue has a broad range of plays, musicals and events, while the Skyway Theater or the Target Center (normally home of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team) just down the road offers alternatives. Cinema is also king with the Coen brothers, the well-known U.S. directing duo, hailing from the city.

11.p.m. - A couple of usually packed Irish bars are located nearby to end the evening. Minnesota is also famous for music with Prince and Bob Dylan among those born here.

SATURDAY
10 a.m. - Eat breakfast at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop at the IDS Center on Eighth Street in Minneapolis, which many see as the center of town given the indoor foyer acts as a perfect shelter from the winter cold. Potbelly has a remarkable selection of bacon, sausage and egg combos, hence the name. (www.potbelly.com).

If you are there in winter, the IDS Center links to the Skyway system of raised walkways which criss-cross the city and eliminate the need to go out into the cold when shopping or moving around town. The same system is used in St. Paul.

11.a.m. - A short walk away is the Mississippi River, which defines much of the Twin Cities as it snakes between the two. Riverside attractions are few and far between so take a summer picnic trip to one of the many picturesque lakes which surround Minneapolis such as Hiawatha Lake or Lake Cornelia Park.

2 p.m. - As lovely as nature is, there is nothing like a big shopping spree and the Twin Cities boast the Mall of America, which opened in 1992 as the biggest in the United States.

There are 500 stores, a cinema, bars, restaurants, a sea life centre and a sizeable theme park for children in the middle of the giant indoor complex (www.mallofamerica.com/). The Mall is the last stop on the tram from downtown Minneapolis.

6 p.m. - After your shopping bonanza head to the other end of the tram line and catch a game of baseball at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins Major League team (minnesota.twins.mlb.com/). Check on ticket availability and fixtures before going.

This modern baseball park, host of the All-Star game in 2014, has a family atmosphere and superb sightlines and a vast range of fast food and drink outlets for dinner. Try a delicious corn dog. If you want a beer, make sure you have ID as even 30-somethings are challenged.

Matches normally last three-and-a-half hours but the possibility of overtime can mean a late finish.

Remember to take your camera. A shot of the game with the stadium and the skyscrapers of Minneapolis right behind as the sun sets is breathtaking.

SUNDAY
9 a.m. - Grab some breakfast at your hotel and head to St. Paul to experience what the second twin has to offer. An extension of the Minneapolis tram is being built so take a taxi, bus or your rental car (although parking can be tricky in the center of both cities).

Start off at St. Paul’s State Capitol building, adorned with a golden dome, spy the stylish cathedral on your right and head down the hill and pop into the engaging Minnesota History Center, arguably the state’s best museum (here).

11 a.m. - From the History Center head west along Summit Avenue, Minnesota’s most exclusive and one of its oldest streets. It is where the governor’s mansion and many elegant buildings associated with St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald are situated.

Turn back along Grand Avenue towards downtown and you will pass a number of excellent restaurants for lunch such as Cafe Latte, which has a huge selection of desserts (www.cafelatte.com/).

2 p.m. - Once back in downtown St. Paul, check out the glorious interior of the Landmark Center, completed in 1902 and used as a federal courthouse and post office. It is now a cultural center.

3 p.m. - The excellent Science Museum of Minnesota is nearby on the other side of Rice Park, above the large drop down to the Mississippi below.

The museum (www.smm.org/) boasts varying special exhibitions and an omnitheater with a 27-meter domed screen.

5 p.m - If you have time for an early dinner before departing then Red’s Savoy Pizza house on Seventh Street (here) is a an experience. There are no windows and the decor fails to brighten up the place but that is half the charm.

via Reuters

America’s Snobbiest Cities

So what if they’re a little conceited? These snobby cities have plenty of reasons to feel like winners.

To determine which city has the biggest nose in the air, we factored in some traditional staples of snobbery: a reputation for aloof and smarty-pants residents, along with high-end shopping and highbrow cultural offerings like classical music and theater.

But we also considered 21st-century definitions of elitism: tech-savviness, artisanal coffeehouses, and a conspicuous eco-consciousness (say, the kind of city where you get a dirty look for throwing your coffee cup in the wrong bin).

No. 1 San Francisco
No. 2 New York City
No. 3 Boston
No. 4 Minneapolis/St. Paul
Perhaps readers felt intimidated by these bookish, indie-music-loving, craft-beer-drinking hipsters, who also ranked highly for being exceptionally tidy. If these Minnesotans feel self-satisfied, is it any wonder? They also scored well for being fit and outdoorsy; you can join them at the Chain of Lakes, where, depending on the season, folks are hiking, paddling, or even ice-surfing.
No. 5 (tie) Santa Fe, NM
No. 5 (tie) Seattle
No. 7 Chicago
No. 8 Providence, RI
No. 9 Washington, D.C.
No. 10 Charleston, SC

via Travel & Leisure

Top 10 Destinations for Gay Travelers

TravelNerd is kicking off Pride Month by highlighting underrated cities for gay travelers looking for fun. Instead of focusing on popular cities like New York City and San Francisco, we looked at underrated cities with thriving gay communities that boast great events and cultural sights.

Columbus, OH
Minneapolis, MN
With a rating of 91 on the Equality Index and a gay household percentage of 2.3%, it’s no wonder that city is great for gay travelers. The Twin Cities’ Pride celebrations go on for a full week, starting June 19 to June 30. On June 29, check out the Pride Festival for drag shows, music and dancing, and on June 30, be sure to participate in the Pride Parade.
Stop in the North Loop neighborhood to find trendy boutiques and bars to mingle with the locals. Then head over the Loring Park for a day in the sun, and eat at the nearby Café Lurcat.
Milwaukee, WI
Providence, RI
Miami, FL
Portland, ME
Atlantic City, NJ
Eugene, OR
Lansing, MI
Las Vegas, NV

via Travel Nerd

Two Twin Cities Zoos Get “Cutest Baby Animals at U.S. Zoos” Acknowledgement From Travel and Leisure Magazine

Dmitri and Tamara, Amur Leopards, Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley
Less than 40 Amur leopards exist in the wild, so the birth of two cubs in May 2012 was a boon not just for the Minnesota Zoo, but for the worldwide species too. Their mother, Polina, has raised the cubs since day one, and they’ve already developed distinct personalities: Tamara’s the spunky one, while Dmitri is a bit sassier.

Stella Gray, Athena, and Mariah, Arctic Foxes, Como Park Zoo, St. Paul, MN
Arctic foxes Aurora (mom) and Zephyr (dad) welcomed a litter of nine pups in March. Three—Stella Gray, Athena, and Mariah—still reside at the Como Park Zoo. They’re quick and feisty and love to scamper around their grassy habitat. They’ve also shown off their artistic prowess by creating colorful “paw paintings” for zoo auctions and TV segments

via Travel and Leisure