The Nook ~ Saint Paul, Minnesota

After our time visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, we drove back into St. Paul’s to try another restaurant that had been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. You are limited to street parking outside of The Nook. We actually parked on a side street and found that much easier to navigate than the main roads that run in front of and to the side of the building that houses The Nook.

The Nook is aptly named as it is quite small inside, but we were lucky enough to snag a small table toward the back where the kitchen is located. We also felt pretty important as we had Guy staring down at us from his signed poster.


Once again, we came here on a mission to try their version of the Juicy Lucy. They have several different stuffed burger options on their menu. I went for the Paul Molitor, which is a Juicy Nookie stuffed with pepperjack cheese. I’ve included both the before eating and after taking a bit photo so that you can understand the full effect of how stuffed the burgers are!

Andrew opted to try Guy’s Big Bite, which was a pepperjack stuffed burger, topped with roast beef, shredded cheddar, and bacon. Again, two photos are included so you can fully appreciate their full deliciousness.

These burgers are hands down the very best restaurant Juicy Lucy’s we have found to date. I finished mine all in one sitting because it was just that amazing. Andrew had some to take back seeing as how his was topped with quite a bit more meat and therefore more filling. We definitely plan to make this a stop anytime we are in the Twin Cities area because they were so tasty.

Guy summed it up best in his signed poster….”The Nook is off da Hook”.

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Minneapolis Sculpture Garden ~ Minneapolis, Minnesota

My main reason for wanting to visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was to finally be able to check out the famous Spoonbridge Cherry that the city is so well known for. The Garden was recently revitalized (along with the Science Center and state capitol, seriously, half the town was being revitalized for several years and it made visiting iconic places a challenge!) The Sculpture Center was located next to the Walker Art Museum and you can park in their underground lot for a small fee. There also is a paid lot nearby, but we just parked on the road in a nearby neighborhood and walked to the park.


We started out viewing that famous spoon and cherry, I’m sure it looks far more impressive when the water below isn’t frozen and the sculpture can actually reflect into it, but it was still really neat. They even place some Adirondack chairs nearby so you can work yourself into a photo of Spoonbridge quite easily.

We came to quickly realize that it would be very easy to spend far more time in the sculpture garden than we originally thought. We made a fun game out of naming the sculptures as we approached them, and then checking to see if our original interpretation matched the name and description. You’d be surprised at how many we guessed rather close on!

One sculpture became quite an interactive experience as you could swing below it!


The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is also well known for it’s Blue Rooster sculpture.


Our other fun discovery was the Love sculpture that finds it’s way onto so many postage stamps!


Overall, I think we spent nearly an hour exploring the sculptures and had a great time! Even the pedestrian bridge across the busy highway is it’s own work of art. Sadly as we drove away, we noticed that their actually were several more sculptures located across the street from the main gardens up by the art center. So if you go, plan to explore those as well!

What do you think? Have you ever been to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden? If so, what was your favorite work of art?

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Minnehaha Regional Park ~Minneapolis, Minnesota

How I’ve never visited the famous Minnehaha Falls before this year is beyond me, but when we switched our Omaha trip to a Twin Cities trip, I knew it had to be a stop we finally made. After doing some research online, I’d heard that the park quickly gets busy most days, so we opted to make it our first stop in order to ensure that we could find parking. Turns out we didn’t need to worry!

The park has ample parking, we weren’t exactly sure where the falls were located in the park as we drove in, so we just kept driving until we got a close street parking spot nearby the restaurant located in the park. We fed the meter quite a bit since we didn’t know how far we’d have to walk…..turns out we didn’t need to feed it quite as much as we did!

When we began walking we noticed we’d have to cross a stone bridge to get over to where the restaurant was and figured that’s where we would find a map or some other signage telling us where to find the falls. We could already hear rushing water at that point, but figured it made sense since snow melt had been significant the past week.


As we crossed the bridge we came to the realization that finding a map or sign was not necessary as we were standing right on top of Minnehaha Falls.

We crossed the bridge and came to an overlook from the side.


As we walked a little further along, we came to another overlook which gave us a better full view.


Despite the recent snow melt, you can see the falls themselves were still quite frozen. I thought this made for a neat experience as it was a unique way to experience the falls two seasons at once!

There was a steep set of stairs (that were also still a bit icy) open on that side that we thought we’d slowly make our way down to see the falls up close.


There also was a set of stairs coming down from the side where we parked our car, but they were still blocked off for obvious safety reasons.


Here’s a photo of the side we trekked down. As you can see, snow and ice was still an issue on that side as well, but not nearly as bad as the photo above.


The area beneath the falls also had a little bridge that allowed you to cross the creek to access either set of stairs. It appears a trail would also normally extend out below the falls when there isn’t as much snow. They had lots of neat rock formations situated in that area.


Of course, Minnehaha Regional Park also offers far more than the falls. We walked around for a bit noticing their disc golf course and dog park. They also have a restaurant that I mentioned earlier. It did not appear open the day we visited, which could be because we were there so early, or could be that they have different hours in the winter/spring. There also are a ton of other trails to walk and hike along.

I’m sure Minnehaha Falls is “more” beautiful when the grass and plants are green, but I’m truly glad we got to experience it when we did as the water flow was much stronger and we still got to check out the frozen falls. If any of you have ever visited the falls, drop a comment for your favorite time to visit!

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Blue Door Pub ~ Saint Paul, Minnesota

While in the Twin Cities, we decided to grab a meal at Blue Door Pub as it has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on Food Network and they boast about their Blucys. Blue Door Pub has four locations in the area. We went to the location on Selby in Saint Paul. We had to park on the street at this location, but it was a short walk.

This location is also quite small, just one small dining room area and another bar area with a few tables as well. We got lucky and snagged the last available table despite it being 3:30 in the afternoon. Granted it was the start of March Madness.

We decided to start off with an appetizer. We love trying cheese curds at different restaurants and decided to try the Flaming Hot Cheese Curds as that’s something different from other restaurants.


These things were no joke! I like spicy, but even these were a bit spicy for me! The white pepper cheese inside and the habenero cheddar beer batter would have been fine, but the spice they placed on top was what took it to a whole different level.

We also both ordered a different Blucy, Blue Door Pubs take on a Juicy Lucy. I ordered the classic Blucy which contained American Cheese. Andrew ordered the Bacon Blucy which contained Smoked Bacon Cheddar Cheese and Bacon inside the burger.

We both enjoyed our burgers, but I prefer mine with pepperjack cheese and we both prefer them with the cheese more inside then outside the burger.

As I said earlier, Blue Door Pub has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and they have the proof up on the wall showing that Guy did in fact dine there!


While it wasn’t our most favorite meal we’ve ever eaten, we were glad to try somewhere that had been featured on TV and feel it’s worth a visit.

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Landmark Plaza ~ Saint Paul, Minnesota

One of that last things I wanted to be sure to revisit in St. Paul, was the bronze Peanut Statues found in parks downtown. I had thought that they were located in Rice Park, so we began to head that direction, but we actually found them in Landmark Plaza, so I clearly was mistaken! I’m glad we stumbled upon them before walking further!

Charles Schulz was a Saint Paul native, so these statues pay tributes to him. Landmark Plaza seemed a bit beat up on our latest visit, but it could just be all the winter weather they’ve faced this year!


Linus and Sally can be found chatting along the “wall”.


Charlie Brown and Snoopy are enjoying the sunshine on an elevated section of land.


Lucy bugs Schroeder in typical fashion.

I’d really felt like there had been more statures on previous visits, but this seemed to be all there was. Upon further research right before writing this post, it does appear that both Peppermint Patty and Marcie are actually located in Rice Park, although at the time of this writing, Rice Park also is “closed” for construction and revitalization, so I’m not sure what the status would be of those two sculptures.

If you are walking around downtown St. Paul, these cute sculptures are definitely worth a visit!

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Minnesota State Capitol ~ Saint Paul, Minnesota


Following our time at the Minnesota History Center, we made the short walk over to the state capitol building to take a guided tour. The tour center was clearly labeled in a room just off to the right from the doors we entered. They also had a small gift shop located in the same room. We were told the tour would start just outside the tour office in about 15 minutes, but were free to browse around the rotunda area until the tour began.

We actually had a decent sized group for our tour, including several children, but all of the kids were very well behaved, and our tour guide was wonderful in answering any and all questions throughout the tour. We began in the rotunda area, where he explained how all of the materials used in the building of this third capitol building were native to Minnesota (except for the materials brought in from a Georgia mine, but that mine was bought my Minnesotans to make it still count!) He also explained about how all of the flower/plant carvings found around the building were plants native to the state. Minnesota is also known as the North Star state, so the giant north star in the middle of the rotunda floor pays tribute to that, as well as providing a natural skylight to basement offices, which is why they don’t allow people to walk on top of that North Star formation.

From there we made our way up to the second floor, with our first stop being the Supreme Court chambers. What was neat about this room was that it contains four murals depicting important times in history where “law” was given. I got a picture of when the 10 Commandments were given as I liked how the artist portrayed God as a ball of fire.


Our next stop on that level was the House of Representatives. We got to view it from the upper chambers public viewing area. I again really liked the artwork and quotes place within the chamber. I also thought it was neat how you could see the board where everyone’s votes show up.

We also got to take a quick view of the Senate Chambers but had to do so quietly as some senators were actually there working. The state capitol recently underwent three years of restoration, and the really neat part was they saved a small part unrestored so that you could see how needed the project was. You can see how dark the paint got from all the people who had previously been allowed to smoke in the building, as well as all the dust that built up over the years, and how as repainting would happen in prior years, things gradually shifted from their original painted location.


Our tour ended in the Governor’s Reception Hall, which contained four portraits done of the Civil War as Minnesota Regiments were crucial in several battles of the Civil War. They also used to have two paintings of Native American tribes, but those were seen having historic inaccuracies, so they are now looking into other options to fill those portrait areas.

Apparently if you tour in April through October, you also can walk out on the balcony below the rotunda and few the golden sculpture up close. Sadly we visited a few weeks too early, so we may have to stop in another time if we want that experience.

I highly recommend taking the time to tour the building with a guide as it was very informative and is free! They do recommend a small donation, but are not pushy about it.

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Minnesota History Center ~ Saint Paul, Minnesota

Following our time at the Science Museum of Minnesota, we decided to walk over to the Minnesota History Center. It was a nice warm day and the walk was beautiful as we could view St. Paul’s Cathedral off to the side. As we approached the museum building, we realized, we should have just parked by the History Center as they offered a flat $6 parking for the day.

We entered on the main level. They have two gift shops located on that level, one appeared to be more kid friendly than the other, but we didn’t actually stop by either one, so I’m not sure! We quickly bought our admission tickets ($12/adult), we were warned that there were several school groups, but after having dozens of them at the Science Museum, the two or three here didn’t seem as bad. The clerk also informed us we should check out the capitol building (which was already on our list to do after) and let us know when guided tours would start over there. He also let us know which doors to exit the building from so we could get to the capitol building easier!

All the exhibits were located on the third floor, but as we made our way up the levels, I couldn’t resist stopping to get my picture by the giant postcard mural.


From there we went into their special exhibit, Somalis + Minnesota. This gave a unique look into how Somalians have integrated their culture into the city, but also gave perspective about what their life in Somalia was like.

From there we entered into Open House: If These Walls Could Talk. This exhibit took you through the same house as lived in by 4 different families through the eras. During the first two exhibits, we actually managed to avoid the school groups.

The next exhibit, Then, Now, Wow, was where one school group was spending their time (rightfully so as it was very hands on and interactive). Here you could explore the mining and logging industry, complete with putting on where miners hats and exploring the replica mine, as well as study what life was like on the prairie land of Minnesota where you could crawl into a tipi, help gut a buffalo, try out a hand plow and visit a sod home. It was a very neat and well done exhibit area. Andrew even tried his hand at crank starting the old automobile.


As more school groups made their way back in from lunch breaks, we decided to head over to Minnesota’s Greatest Generation Exhibit that took you from the Great Depression through both World Wars. My favorite part was the interactive exhibit where you could help make WWII shells and also roll the dice to discover what you could buy with your ration points.


The final exhibit, I didn’t get any pictures, because it was filled with school kids. It was called Weather Permitting and had a cool spot where you could ride out a tornado. We also learned a bit about snow removal and the famous Ice Castle, as well as explored the power of wind.

From there we decided to head straight out the suggested doors and make our way over to the capitol as we had about 20 minutes before the next guided tour would start.

I highly recommend visiting the Minnesota History Center as you can learn a lot, but in a very hands on way. I love museums where I can do more than just “look” at the artifacts. The admission cost is quite a bit lower than that of the Science Museum and I found it to be less busy as well.

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Science Museum of Minnesota ~ Saint Paul, Minnesota

Our second day of vacation in the Twin Cities brought us to several different museums, our first stop was the Science Museum of Minnesota. Admission prices to get in are a little higher, but several friends on Facebook had informed me that it would be well worth the cost. As we approached the museum, we noticed a TON of buses dropping off school groups for the day…..not a great start. We tried to do parking at the museum, but couldn’t seem to approach the garage the necessary way even though we were using GoogleMaps so we just opted to park near the Landmark Center and walked to the museum. This opted to be a much better choice (although slightly more expensive), as we walked to all the other locations we wanted to visit that day and this parking garage was more centrally located to all of our stops.

You enter the Lobby on what is actually the 5th floor, and the first level that contains exhibits. There was a very short line for us to buy our admission in and they give you and wristband to show that you paid. The Lobby is also home to the visitor center for the Mississippi River National Recreation Area, although we’d visited a different visitor center for that a few years back so we skipped that and headed straight into the exhibit area.

The first level (Level 5) focuses on the Mississippi River and is aptly named the Mississippi River Gallery. Here you can explore the history of the Mississippi River and learn about Lake Itasca, the source that starts it all. They also have a towboat on display that you can climb in and explore.

From there, we took the elevator down to the next level, which offered several different exhibits. The first was called “Weighing the Evidence” which gave you a chance to explore and learn about different questionable medical devices that have been used throughout history. The next section was an exhibit on Race and whether or not we are as different as we think. The final section to explore on Level 4 was The Human Body Gallery. This part was really neat as it had an interactive display on how blood is pumped through your body and a giant hand that showed different common sores that change the texture of your hand from warts to blisters to scabs and scars.


We took the stairs down to the final level of exhibits, Level 3. Here is the floor where you can find the dinosaurs. We are not big dinosaur people, so skipped that portion, but greatly enjoyed the other two exhibit areas down there, despite me not taking any pictures as we were too buy interacting with the exhibits. The first section was Math Moves, which lets you use your body to conduct interactive experiments with how math affects many things in our every day life. The other exhibit was our personal favorite: Sportsology. This area gave hands on experiences in the science of balance, running, hitting a racket, playing lacrosse, and even jumping high enough to dunk a basketball. We had so much fun in this section and that alone made us feel like we got our money’s worth out of our admission price.

Before we left that level, and the museum, we decided to grab a quick snack at Chomp!, the concession area on Level 3. We wound up sharing a Bavarian pretzel and was more than enough of a shared snack for lunch as we weren’t super hungry after a larger breakfast at the hotel. They also offer more filling options for food, as well as a full blown restaurant on Level 6 that offers views of the river.

We were glad to say we stopped by the museum to give it a try, but probably wouldn’t revisit unless we were traveling with kids. However, it still made for a fun morning.

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Red Savoy’s Pizza ~ Edina, Minnesota

Following all our activities at the Mall of America, we made our way over to our hotel for the next few days, Hampton Inn Bloomington West. We knew we’d be wanting a later dinner and figured we would find something nearby to our hotel. After settling in we realized we didn’t really feel like going out. I decided to head down to the front desk and ask what pizza places were located nearby that would do delivery. The clerk at the desk provided me with two different brochures and after looking through them, we decided to place an order with Red Savoy’s.

It was very simple to order on their website and after about 40 minutes, our pizza arrived at our hotel door.


I’m not usually a huge fan of thin crust pizza, but will say that this pizza easily makes it into my top 3 for thin crust pizzas. Something about the sauce just had a little kick to it that made it especially tasty. We ate through the entire small pizza in no time. I will definitely order from Red Savoy’s again if back in the area!

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Wonders Ice Cream ~ Bloomington, Minnesota

Rolled Ice Cream? Who’d ever heard of such a thing? Certainly not me when I saw this crazy concept show up on my Pinterest months ago. I quickly saved it to the Minnesota board, unsure of when I would actually have the opportunity to try this novel idea. Turns out due to our quick change in spring break plans that pointed us toward the Twin Cities instead of Omaha, I didn’t have long to wait to try the new concept out.

Wonders Ice Cream has 8 locations mainly in and around the Twin Cities area, but also one in St. Cloud, MN and for some reason, one far south in Dallas, TX. We conveniently realized one of their Twin Cities locations was in the Mall of America, so we decided this would be one we could easily check out while at the mall anyways.

The Mall of America location is quite small. Just a few small bar stool areas to enjoy your ice cream and I believe maybe a small table or two as well. There is a small counter where you can place your order and then their work space area where you can watch them prepare your rolled ice cream.

The process of them preparing the rolled ice cream is detailed on their website.

“Our process begins with the “magic base”. We then add our unique flavors and blend it all together. After creating the ice cream base and flavor, we then pour it onto our ice grill and have the ice cream chill at -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, we use our hibachi scrappers to mix the ingredients together and spread the ice cream into a thin layer. Your unique flavored ice cream is then ready to roll, in just two minutes.”

They offer 20 different “flavors” (Pre-designed sundaes is the more accurate description) or you can choose to design you own mix of goodies. One mix in is free with any of the ice cream choices you have to pick from. Andrew and I both did cookies and cream ice cream. He opted to have even more Oreos mixed in, while I went for the added choice of chocolate syrup.

It was so much fun to watch them “make” and roll our ice cream in front of us. However, attempting to eat the rolled concoction was a less fun adventure.


It turns out rolled ice cream is not exactly an easy thing to break down with a spoon. I found myself slightly tilting a roll toward myself and then biting off of it like a churro. As it started to get melty, it did get easily to break it down with a spoon, but since it is so compacted together when rolled, it does take awhile to even get melty.

I’m glad we gave Wonders a try as it’s certainly not your typical ice cream place, but I wouldn’t make a point to go back. I found the ice cream itself difficult to eat and the flavor wasn’t that exciting compared to anywhere else I could get ice cream.

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