After a very long, harrowing week Travis and I were able to get away to Minneapolis/St. Paul this weekend. It was a much needed break from our daily lives! Normally we wouldn't do this type of thing, just go off to a new city, stay overnight and explore but we had good reason. Sue and Russel were in town! They're good friends of ours from St. Charles who came up for the Midwest Book Sellers Convention. Well, Sue did. Russ just came for company and to see the sites. It was so great to see them!
We decided to leave Saturday to meet them for dinner Sat night. The day started off like any normal day, although I knew it would be a bit busier. I had to work until 12, then real estate class until 3, then we would leave from school for St. Paul. "The best laid plans of mice and men...."
Travis was running late and had to rush out to meet someone in Hibbing, and when I was about ready to leave myself I couldn't find my wedding rings. Of course I run around like a lunatic trying to find them, tearing the house apart, in tears until I finally had to give up and leave for work. After calling Travis a million times, he finally texts me "don't worry, your rings are safe." Apparently he had put them in the little cup I use for q-tips in the bathroom sometime during the night and failed to tell me. Crisis averted!
I had to go straight from work to my class, which of course means that something would go wrong at work and I would be made late. Of course. Which is exactly what happened, on top of the fact that I was 4 hours late for class anyway due to having to go to work. Then we get out early. Great right? Nope! I forgot that we needed cat food, so I had to rush to buy that, then rush home. And the church was doing a work day at our house, so there are a ton of people here when I arrive. All of which I have to say hi to, tell them they're doing a great job, give tours of the house to those that haven't seen the inside since we moved in, blah blah blah.
But finally!!!! We got in the car, all ready to go and were off to the cities! We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, St. Paul City Center. It was pretty nice, and I got a great rate too :o) Saturday night, we met with Sue and Russ at the Mall of America for dinner.
Now, never having been to the Mall of America, I knew vaguely what to expect. OH MY GOODNESS! This place is huge! We scored a super close parking spot, and managed our way around reasonably well. My overall impression: amazing. After dinner at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, we rode one of the roller coasters. A roller coaster. In a mall. Roller Coaster. Mall. Yea....
This is a super cool obstacle course that is 4 stories high. You're tethered onto a harness above your head, and the course gets successively harder as you go up. And the nets end after the second story. Scary!
Here's our car right behind the "Mall of America" sign, only about 50 feet away from one of the entrances. Score!
This is a view outside of our hotel room, on the 15th floor. The weather wasn't so great, but it's neat being right in the heart of downtown!
When we were driving back to our hotel Saturday night, we passed a famous St. Paul landmark that both Trav and I recognized right away. I immediately said "we have to go there for breakfast!" Do you recognize it?
It's Mickey's!! The little dining car from the Mighty Ducks movies! It's so tiny, I think it holds all of 20 diners if that. Lucky us, it was within walking distance from our hotel. You go inside and have to stand along the wall until spots along the bar open up, or there are 4 booths in the way back if you're lucky. And the food! Typical diner fare, but good! Travis got an omelet that was as big as his head!
After we ate breakfast, and already having been to the Mall of America, we wondered where we could go from there since it was still pretty early. Did you know that your GPS has a "navigate to" winery option? Where there is wine, I will travel! We ended up finding two that were more or less on our way home. St. Croix Vineyards and Wine Haven Winery. St. Croix also has an apple orchard on the grounds, so the place was a little like a madhouse today.
Looking towards the wine house.
The apple barn, and the throngs of people with their kids. A little nutty, but fun.
Our loot. It was $5 per person for a tasting, but they had deal that if you bought 4 bottles of wine then you got your 5 bucks back. And we got one to open there too, so the lady says "if you get one more then you get an additional 5% off all of the wine." Say no more! Plus I got a posi-pour like they have when they do the tastings, it pours out 1 ounce portions. That was $5 and she forgot to charge us. Whoops!
Which leads me to my next big adventure: I'm starting my own wine business! I'm officially a consultant for The Traveling Vineyard, which hosts at-home wine tastings. They offer hundreds of wines from boutique wineries, most that you can't get in stores. Plus they are very reasonably priced at $12-20 per bottle. I'm really looking forward to bringing some wine sophistication to the Iron Range! Boxed wine and Boone's Farm beware! Ali is on the loose!
I'm also quitting my full time job at the bank to pursue real estate full time. Yes, I may have slightly lost my mind so we'll see how this goes. Hopefully swimmingly well! Fingers crossed?