After our short stop in Chicago, Mike and I headed back out on the road for the Twin Cities. We arrived around lunchtime and did some grocery shopping before heading to our place for the weekend. Instead of staying in a hotel where we wouldn't really get a feel of what it will be like to live in Minneapolis, we used a site called Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) where people around the country rent out condos, homes, or even part of their own place to people to stay in. Looking back, we really didn't take all that many pictures. We were so active and had so much fun I actually forgot to pull out my camera much during the trip. Go figure.
We stayed in the basement of someone's home that had a separate entrance and fully stocked/furnished space. All the appliances and furniture were from IKEA [my favorite] and it looked very much like a loft apartment. We were in love. It was such a nice place to stay and it was right in the middle of Uptown so we got a perfect impression of what things will be like in a year. I think after 2 hours we had already decided Uptown was the neighborhood for us.
After unpacking and settling in we just walked up 2 minutes to the main street of Uptown where all the shops and restaurants are at. Being able to walk everywhere will be awesome. We stopped by a really fun Sushi bar and then called it an early night since we were tired from all the driving.
Early the next morning we packed up our bikes for a picnic and headed to this skate park we had researched. The sweet thing about the Twin Cities is that you can bike anywhere. There was a bike trial seconds from where we were staying by Lake Calhoun.
As you can see, our view was amazing every morning. There is a separate trail for running/walking and this part of the trail wrapped all around three connecting lakes. As newbie city kids, we of course got lost a few times on the trails. Before we knew it we had biked 6 miles and still weren't where we needed to be. It was definitely a work out but with a view like this, we hardly noticed.
After a while though, we finally made it to the park. Side note, there are soooooo many parks in the Cities! We later found out that there was an even better skate park just down the road. I threw out my newly made picnic blanket and sketched while Mike jumped on his board and skated for a while. Once he was done we ate our packed lunch and got back on our bikes to head home and start the rest of our day.
On the way back we took the trail around the other side of the lakes to get a different view. There were people out on kayaks and canoes, people lounging on the beaches and tons of people throwing sticks to their swimming dogs. We knew we had to find an apartment on the water for when we move out here. Luckily for us, we found 2 places that are perfectly in our price range, allow dogs, are right on the bike trail, and have awesome views of the lake. Score :]
After we got back and got ready it was already late afternoon. With all that biking and exercise, we were dying to get some dinner. Even though we were pretty positive about the neighborhood we wanted to live in, we still wanted to visit St. Paul. There are actually bike trails that lead all the way from Minneapolis to St. Paul but we figured we'd save that trek for when we actually move out there. So we hopped in the car and took a quick drive to the other Twin City.
St. Paul definitely has a more historic feel to it. It was very beautiful to walk around in. The brick streets reminded me of Oxford, Ohio and everyone seemed pretty friendly.
We stopped by the Saint Paul Cathedral which is a beckon of the St. Paul skyline. I felt so small walking around inside. It was a very cool feeling because I have studied old cathedrals in architecture school for years. To see one in real life was unbelievably impressive. While we were in there someone started to play the huge pipe organ which filled the whole space with echos. I don't think I could ever get used to seeing such an amazing place even if I lived there.
After gawking at the church, it was time for some grub. I tweeted Amy of Bluebird Rising who did a guest post here on Crafted Love about her lovely city, to see where she recommended. She told us to go to Cossetta's Italian restaurant.
Holy cow was that a good choice. You walk in and it is set up like a cafeteria. You grab your tray and utensils and head down the line to tell them what you want. The meals were capped off with soda in cans to make the feeling of cafeteria even stronger as we took our trays to find a place to sit. Now, I know a lot of people would be turned off at even the hint of "cafeteria" food. But let me tell you, this food was nothing of the sort. Their pizza is now my absolute favorite of anywhere else I've ever been. So delicious. It's a good thing we chose Uptown Minneapolis as our future place of residence because had we chosen St. Paul I think I would be at Cossetta's every night. The last photo was Mike pretending he was suffering from a food coma. It was pretty believable with how amazing our food was. I see Cossetta's being a weekly outing for us next year.
Tomorrow I'll tell about our other two days in the Cities but for now, I think that's enough pictures for one day :]