Tag Archives: St. Paul

Weekly Photo Challenge – One Shot, Two Ways

I love the Peanuts character statues all over downtown St. Paul and here’s a pair of the same statue.  For more entries in this week’s challenge, click here.

Oh heck, here’s one more.  They’re so cute!!

I took photos of other Peanuts character statues recently. Do check them out here.

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Downtown St. Paul – the old and the new

I think I missed a photo challenge.  There was one recently with something like this as the theme. Well, I’m doing it late I guess but I took some photos of downtown and I wanted to share. So, here is what would have been my entry for that challenge.  Enjoy!

The old Landmark Center and the newer Travelers building:

The old St. Paul Hotel and the newer Lawson building:

The old St. Paul Hotel and a newer building, maybe part of the hotel? I should know this.

Two older buildings, one newer one, the fountain in Rice Park:

The old and closed Macy’s, which was Marshall Field’s before that and Dayton’s before that; the newer Wells Fargo building:

And one last one, from the park bench where I rested with the old Landmark Center in the background:

You might also like three other posts of St. Paul.  A review I did of the St. Paul Grill where we celebrated our anniversary and another that has more photos of downtown St. Paul.  And here’s one more of the skyways in downtown St. Paul.

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Downtown St. Paul on the outside

Last month I wrote about the St. Paul skyways.  Now I’d like to introduce you to downtown St. Paul, from the outside.  My blog friend Marianne gave me the idea when she commented on my skyway post.  So thanks Marianne!

I love the skyways but it’s also fun to walk about outside as well, as long as the weather holds up ;) There are nice parks to stroll through as well as rivers to cross on bridges.  The Wabasha Street bridge is usually decorated with American flags.  But during the week that gay marriage was voted on and signed into law, rainbow flags graced the bridge the entire week.  And as luck would have it, the weather was very nice and I was able to take a walk across the bridge and take some photos.  Come along with me on a short tour of downtown St. Paul won’t you?

Starting to cross the river on the Wabasha Street bridge:

Looking east, the Robert Street bridge:

Downtown as seen from the bridge:

And a rainbow flag photo:

Looking west, the Smith Avenue bridge, or the high bridge:

Ecolab plaza:

And I’m editing to add that the corporate center (the building on the right) won The Outstanding Building of the Year award this year. I got such a kick out of this since the initials spell my name:

Landmark Center where I’m told has events that I could visit on my lunch hour:

Fun fact about St. Paul: we are proud of Charles Schulz!  Years ago, there were Peanuts statues all over town.  There was a map of all of the statues and we came across many of them.  I am not up on my research of these fun statues but on one of my walks recently I happened upon what appear to be bronze statues of Peanuts characters in Rice Park and beyond.  It was so much fun to find these!!

That’s it for our brief tour for today.  I hope you’ve all enjoyed it.  Have you ever been to St. Paul?  If not, I hope this entices you to pay a visit.  It’s a nice town if I do say so myself.

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The skyways of St. Paul

I started a new job in downtown St. Paul last month and I am exploring the fascinating skyways.  There are many places to eat along with convenience shops, banks and ATMs, a florist, some card shops and dry cleaners within walking distance of my office.  And it’s all enclosed so you don’t have to worry about the weather, of which we have plenty.  It’s been great fun walking through the skyways and finding new things.  And you see some sights along the way, like our state capitol in a photo below.

There are a few of these maps posted along the way.  This one shows all the skyways and their reaches(in blue):

There are signs to direct you:

Crossing 6th Street:

Here’s an example of the enjoyment of the skyways when it comes to the weather.  It was a cloudy, rainy day but I took to the skyways knowing it didn’t matter.  I was not going to get wet!  I took some photos of the scenery and I ended up with two different focuses looking north from the same spot.  One focuses on the capitol, the other on the rain on the window.

There’s a food court about five minutes from my desk.  I have eaten at two of these places but I also found a great place for salads another five minutes further away.  Such fun!!

On the way back to the office you can see a nice courtyard complete with art in the form of sculpture.  This looks like a nice spot for when the weather is nice.  Bring your lunch and eat outside.  Ah, heaven…….

And on a warm day last week, my co-worker and I took a walk outside!!  When we returned we found a band playing music:

St. Paul is definitely an interesting place to work.  I’ve always wanted to work here and now I know why.  I’m going to keep exploring and perhaps have a skyways part 2 post in the future.  For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed your brief visit to a part of my new work life.

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The Strip Club – St. Paul, MN

No, it’s not what you think it is!  This is the restaurant we decided to try for our anniversary this year.  Hubby had read about it and heard nothing but good things about it from everyone that we mentioned it to.  My meal was certainly delicious, however, I doubt that we will return.  For the kind of money that we spent along with the so-so service, it was disappointing enough for us to not want to return.

First thing, which is normal in any old neighborhood restaurant, is the parking.  It’s nonexistent and it’s never deterred us before. It is what it is.  We found a spot on the street about a block away, actually a pretty good spot!

You can see the mounds of snow we still have in the reflection, and that’s me taking the photo.

So far, so good.  Check out this cool staircase!  We had a nice spot upstairs and it’s a one way ride up those stairs.  I started up after taking this photo only to have to come back down to let another customer down the stairs.  I would have loved to sit at that private table by the windows next to the stairs.

As I mentioned, our food was good, but the service was not great for what we paid. We waited a long while for our drinks for example.  I did get some good photos.  Hubby had their strip steak.

I had the duck breast that came with a mixture of sweet and white potatoes.  It was quite yummy!

The waitress did mention that the chef likes to cook the duck on the rare side so suggested that I order it medium.  It was really medium rare which is what I prefer so that was a great tip!  We ordered the fries because we didn’t think there were any accompaniments with our meals.  So, I had a little more starch than I like to have.  But the fries were also yummy! They came with three different sauces: ketchup, a chipotle type sauce and a horse radish-tasting sauce.

So, all in all, a pretty good meal.   I decided I wanted dessert so we got a cream puff with vanilla ice cream and caramelized cashews with chocolate sauce.  Nice and light.

Hubby had ordered an espresso and asked if they had sugar cubes.  The waitress said they didn’t have cubes but had sugar packets.  But she forgot to bring them.  And typically when you make a reservation and mention you’re celebrating your anniversary they do something nice for you.  Perhaps a free drink or dessert.  They didn’t do anything so that was a teensy bit disappointing.  We did have a nice meal out and it was a nice anniversary. 22 years of wedded, er, bliss!!

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Filed under Minnesota, Restaurant reviews

A visit to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, St. Paul

What started as a fun visit to one of my favorite spots in St. Paul, has turned into a post I’d like to dedicate to a friend who just died.  I had posted one of my orchid photos on facebook and there was a message from a mutual friend letting me know that our dear Lish lost her battle with cervical cancer.  On her facebook page was another friend reminding his female friends to get tested, indeed it is so important.  So, this will also serve as a reminder to all women out there: please get tested for cervical cancer.

I try to go to the conservatory at least once during winter and most especially when it is so frigid outside as it is today.  When we woke up it was only 2 degrees!  It’s a wonderful taste of the tropics that helps we in the frozen tundra survive the winter.  Indeed, as we entered the building our glasses fogged up.  Perfect time to clean them eh?  Following are some of my best shots.  I hope you’ll all enjoy.

From the frigid outside:

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Next, a gallery of some beautiful orchids:

In the north garden are a variety of tropical plants as well as helpful signs that teach the visitor a thing or two.

We were told by a volunteer that there was a cacao pod in the tree but it was too far back for me to photograph, but here’s the sign for that tree:

This huge plant particularly spoke to me as it is called the Traveler’s Tree but I had to photograph it in pieces as it is quite large. Here’s the top:

The bottom:

The accompanying sign:

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There are so many interesting plants here, here’s some sugar cane:

A Manila hemp plant with rope made from its leaves:

IMG_0867Spinach anyone?  This is a Malabar spinach.  I didn’t know spinach grew up?  And can you see the black “berries”? Are these seeds?

And here’s one that made me think of Z at Zeebra Designs & Destinations and I wonder if she sees these all the time, the Panama hat plant:

This most gorgeous blossom is on a ginger plant.  I have been to the conservatory many times and I see different plants and flowers each time.  I don’t recall ever seeing this blossom before. Isn’t it beautiful?

And from another angle (it’s so beautiful I had to take several shots):

Here’s another gallery of shots of other beautiful plants and flowers:

In another area of the conservatory, adjacent to the original building (pictured up top) is the fern room:

Another fun sign:

IMG_0914Some gorgeous green ferns:

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And hubby’s favorite, a Wooly Tree Fern:

There is so much more here since they expanded it several years ago.  In another section a bit further away from the fern room is the Rain Forest room.  The best way to get there is through the gift shop, for if you take the corridor in front of the gift shop, which is full of windows, you get a bit of a chill on a cold day like today.  In this room we saw many more plants but also birds, ants, fish, a tarantula (ewie!!), snakes and well, I just could not photograph all of them.  But here are two photos of some of the things we saw. A pretty blue and yellow bird who was nice enough to sit still long enough for me to get a good shot of him:

IMG_0900And would you believe a sloth lives in here too?

IMG_0895I also recorded the birds singing in this room, and I wanted to include it so that you could hear what the birds chirping sounded like.  Alas, I am not sure how to do that.  I will look up how to do this and add it later if I can figure it out.  For now, I will leave you with a last photo of the sunken garden.  The display in this room is changed every few months and it’s already time for the spring display even though it’s only January.  They rent this room for special occasions and I know at least one couple that got married here. What a great venue for a wedding don’t you think?

IMG_0885Rest in peace dear Lish.  You made this world a brighter, happier place with your great wit, compassion and sense of humor.  I will remember you always.

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Filed under Gardening, Minnesota

A visit to the St. Paul farmers’ market

One thing I love about summer in the twin cities is the abundance of farmers’ markets.  They are all over the metro area but my favorite is the one in downtown St. Paul. It’s only on the weekends and it’s a perfect jaunt from our house a mere 15 minutes away.

On this week’s trip we bought green onions, leeks, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, garlic clove, pattypan squash and a watermelon with seeds!! We have been hard pressed to find watermelons with seeds in the last few years as all the markets here sell are seedless watermelon.  What is the fun of that?  This watermelon is as sweet as the grower said it would be. Yum!

As we were driving away with our produce I began thinking about the cooking we’ll be doing in the next few days.  And then I realized that we didn’t get a purple onion.  We both looked at each other and asked “should we go back?” and that’s exactly what we did.  Hubby dropped me off and drove around the market a few times until I reappeared with onions in hand.  We’ve never done that before and it was kind of fun! Here are some pics that I snapped of this week’s trip.

I love these little patty pan squash:

Tomatoes were in abundance:

Beautiful flowers for sale:

This stand had a unique product, Fresh Salsa Combo:

Gourds or melons anyone?

Another fun and different day at the farmers’ market.  Lots of fresh fruits and veggies and other goodies tucked in for good measure, soap, honey, bread, even coffee and donuts.

What’s your favorite thing when you go to the farmers’ market?

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