Woo hoo! It’s time for my annual post about the Minnesota State Fair!
We always go to the fair opening day and it seems every year it feels more crowded. I checked out the fair’s website and found some interesting numbers. I wasn’t imagining it. Each year on opening day for the last two years the attendance increased. Between 2017 and 2016 it was almost 6,000 higher! There were three record-breaking attendance days this year, the most record breaking days in three years. Plus, this year’s total attendance is the highest ever, another record broken. So, yes, there were lots more people at the fair this year.
No matter, we still enjoy it and this year was no different. I went twice. Opening day was fun but by 1:00 it was getting too crowded so we called it quits early. For my second visit, I met hubby there one late afternoon from work the following week. I park my car like I’m going to work and walk on over to the fair. Very easy!
On opening day we headed over to Minnesota Public Radio after breakfast and were treated with a handshake from our governor! He went one by one in the small crowd and shook each of our hands. He commented how brave Miss M was for wearing short sleeves as it was in the upper 50s at that moment. So that was fun! We also saw Al Franken posing for photos with a constituent.
Governor Mark Dayton
Al Franken and a constituent
The agriculture building is a must for me for each visit. Some of the exhibits change every other day so it’s worth it to see other types of flowers when you can. First some crop art:
Our senator Al Franken
Still mourning the purple one
In the next gallery is a little bit of everything else that I saw in the ag building:
the largest gourds
wedding place setting
autumn place setting
part of Alice in Wonderland display
part of Alice in Wonderland display
part of Alice in Wonderland display
bees making honey
hubby being a good sport
random flower display, 2nd visit
Make America Grate Again scarecrow
is that spoon and fork new this year or have I never noticed?
And then some other scenes at the fair:
Live performance by Romantica at MPR
funniest thing I saw this year: several official selfie spots in the pavement
result of one of those selfies
art building – ewie
art building – Bruce Nygren
from the sky ride
different kind of geese
different kind of duck
lambs at rest
I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s tour of the Minnesota State Fair. I’ll be back soon with a few more travel adventures. I hope you’ll come along!
Every summer about the end of July, beginning of August there blooms these exotic water lilies in ponds near the conservatory at Como Park. I don’t always remember to go look at them but something on my phone reminded me that the last time I photographed them was 8/1/15. In fact, I created a post about that visit. Do check it out, I think you’ll like it.
I had been thinking about these gorgeous flowers but didn’t take the next step to go look at the dates on the photos to remember when they bloom. Instead I was reminded via current technology. Smart phones are great tools!!
And so I give you this year’s version of the dazzling beauties that are the water lilies at Como Park in St. Paul Minnesota. I hope you enjoy!
One last one full size on its own. I’m so glad I got to see them this year!
My next posts are going to be mainly photos. I’ve been taking many so far this summer. Many are from my walks either about campus or in my neighborhood.
This post contains photos of the trial garden at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. It’s a perfect place to take a break at work and I walk there periodically throughout spring, summer and fall. Have a look-see of some early summer blooms and plants, even a bunch of grapes. I didn’t know the vine that grows there is a grape vine. I wonder how those grapes taste.
I hope you’ll come back next week to see more summer blooms. Enjoy!!
Most folks here in the twin cities know about the Arboretum and I had heard about it but, for some reason, I didn’t make it out there until I had been living here 25 years. I finally got to see it in person last year. Since I work for the University of Minnesota I get emails from all kinds of different departments and luckily for me, the Landscape Arboretum was in that stack. I took advantage of the employee discount and became a member last year. It is well worth the price.
What caught my eye last year in one of the emails was a garden tour. I asked my friend Ruth if she’d be interested, she said yes and we had a marvelous time. Ruth and I were just commenting on what fun that was last year and we decided to go again next year. It’s a tour of fabulous gardens near the Arboretum. I wrote about it so do check out the link to see more gorgeous blooms and plants from the southwestern suburbs of the twin cities.
We have been trying to go back to see more of the Arboretum because we didn’t get a chance to last year. After our garden tour we got treated to a nice brunch on their patio and it was a bit warm and we were tuckered out from our busy morning so decided to come back another time. Well, it took almost a year to get back but we were so glad that we did!! Oh my goodness, it takes your breath away. Beautiful plants and flowers everywhere and it goes on for miles. There are many gardens surrounding the visitor center that are easy to get to on foot. Click here to see the map.
There are many types of gardens to explore: roses, lilies and day lilies, herbs, annuals and perennials. There is a Japenese garden that we didn’t get to. We checked out the wildflower garden. It must have been between bloom times as we didn’t see any wildflowers but we did see a handful of turkeys! After wandering around on foot, we got in the car and explored even more on the 3 mile drive. There is a trolley that you could ride as well. There are more gardens in these outer areas of the Arb and I’d like to go back to see the Sculpture and Maze gardens. It’s utterly amazing all the plants and trees that are there! You really can’t see everything in one visit, so return I must. It is now on my “must do” list for twin cities visitors. There’s a reason it won the best botanical garden contest recently. Please have a look at what we saw on a summer afternoon in July. I hope you’ll enjoy!
First some roses, clematis and some annuals and perennials too.
bright pink petunias
more pink petunias
clematis up close
another beautiful clematis
looks like a cat’s tail
I took some photos of the grounds as well. There were rows and rows of gorgeous lilies of all types and just general beauty everywhere.
there were some fountains
the day lily path
many asiatic and other lilies
Ruth called these snowball hydrangea
no wildflowers but several turkeys???
another beautiful fountain
Now for the rest of what I selected to display. I took 86 photos so I had to trim it down a little. If you’ve never been to the Arb and you live here, do make it a point to visit. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. And if you’re visiting the twin cities, same instructions. You won’t be disappointed! Check out more information at this link. There is so much to explore there and I can’t wait to go back again.
almost a dahlia! or two
we think this is a salvia
so many interesting colors
snowball hydrangea up close
one cactus flower
Dag nab it! I missed the orchid display at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory this year. I guess I never saw a notification for this year’s display. Bummer! But never fear, I was alerted to another orchid display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, about a thousand miles away from home! Yea, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. It’s about a 30 minute drive southwest of home. And it’s a lovely drive with lots of open spaces and many, many lakes.
We arrived to a very full parking lot so we wondered what else was going on at the Arboretum. Other than the orchids there was a farmer’s market in the Oswald Visitor Center so that must be what the rest of the visitors were doing there. There weren’t that many orchids in the visitor center so we found our way to their conservatory. A warm, sunny room full of colors! Before you get to that room there is a walkway full of succulents including many cactus plants. Naturally I took a bunch of photos, the nicest ones are displayed below. I hope you enjoy!!
walkway full of succulents
such an odd looking cactus
vanilla bark cactus?
sedum marganiam? loved this plant!
The Walker has a “free first Saturday” which is a great deal because one adult ticket is $12. Oh, interesting current update. I went to their website to make sure it’s actually $12 and they’re having free admission until February 7. Come in from the cold and see some art, says their site. We might have to go back soon!
I didn’t see a whole lot of art that I liked on this visit but it was still fun to go and look. Plus, we stopped in at the new bar/cafe/bistro Esker Grove and had a yummy snack that I forgot to take a picture of. Duh. We both had a beer and our snack was hummus toast and then we called it a day. The Walker changes their displays frequently so it’s always fun to go back and see what’s on display every so often. Check out the Walker’s website for more information. Please enjoy some photos from our visit earlier this month.
entrance from underground parking lot
this hanging plug has been there since I first visited in about 1992
One of the many kid groups we came upon that day
these were all over the place and they all had holes in them
inviting chair to view(see next photo)
a drawing/photo of MLK that is crumpled
photos of naked girls
Esker Grove bar for a snack
art at Esker Grove
close up art
wall of photos, another angle
I have wanted to try this restaurant for many years. The biggest thing it had against it is the parking. I thought that the only place to park was on the street but I recently discovered there is a parking lot behind it, thanks to my employee. When going west on Como Avenue, turn left onto Carter Avenue, the parking lot is on the left. We did that our first trip and it worked great. We got there at 11:30 just before the lunch rush begins.
We’ve been there for lunch twice now and the trips were about three weeks apart. Hubby enjoyed it so much the first time he wanted to take me to lunch on another day that he had off. We sat in a cute and small corner booth the first time we went there and that added to the charm for our initial visit. Both times they served us a free appetizer consisting of a garlic puree along with a bread basket. YUM!!! The food is great here!
On our first visit I had the beet salad which looks small but it turned out to be just the right portion. Hubby had a ham and cheese sandwich but the cheese was on the outside of the sandwich? He had to eat it with a fork but he said it was delicious. The second visit I had their three course meal. You can see most of the menu from my photo below. It was great too but I didn’t have room for dessert so took it home with me. And hubby had the Muffuletta described thusly on their website: Smoked pit ham, Italian meats, pepper-jack and provolone cheese, olive relish, sesame bun. Except it looks like ciabatta bread and not a sesame bun. Either way, he loved it!!
The staff is very friendly and quick. I recommend this restaurant highly. Come have a look see at the photos I took of the restaurant and our food. We both loved this place so much, we will definitely go back.
Here’s a little ditty from their website:
Winter at Muffuletta
Let our heartiest cooking sustain you on these cold, dark days. Now is the time to crack a bottle of red, rediscover our classic beer-cheese soup, and cast your eye to our daily specials, beckoning with winter stews, roasted root vegetables and Minnesota game.
Located in Milton Square
2260 Como Avenue
St. Paul, MN
looking out from that booth
garlic puree and bread basket
ham and cheese and sweet potato fries
3 course lunch
chicken linguini, yum
The Muffuletta and sweet potato fries