First of all, sorry for the quiet on the blog--trust me, once I turn the book manuscript in to the editor in September, I'll have lots to blog about! I've been on the road, doing research and photography, mostly having a great time (detour signs and deer flies notwithstanding).
Anyway, there's some good travel news from MPR this week--the Paul Bunyan Trail, a paved trail extending from Brainerd to Bemidji, is finally complete and, at 110 miles, is now the longest paved trail in the state. The MPR piece also notes that trail use is in a decline--so get out there and use those trails, people! The Paul Bunyan Trail winds through a mighty scenic part of the state.
Many years ago, when I was in high school (and yes, I'm not being
coy, that was indeed many years ago), I took a trip out to New York
with my mother and godmother. Turns out we had some distant cousins who
lived in New Jersey who invited us out for a day, and they invited some
neighbors to meet us. Said neighbors asked us some very interesting
questions, including: Does it snow all year round in Minnesota? Do you
have electricity? Do you live in igloos?
We were taken aback. They were dead serious. And shocked to find out
that not only does it not snow year round, but sometimes the temps
could get as high as 90 or 100F, even in northern Minnesota. And not
only did we have electricity, we even had radio and -- gasp! --
television. In our non-igloo home. That, also, was not built out of logs.
But when we returned to Minnesota and told people these stories,
Minnesotans thought we were making them up. No one could be that
ignorant about Minnesota, right?
This week's Strib travel section has a piece that's simultaneously amusing and sad, focused on questions the fine folks at Explore Minnesota, the tourism board, have gotten from out-of-state callers. If that link doesn't work, let me just share a couple of highlights with you:
"Where can I rent a snowmobile in July?"
I'm sure you can rent one, but using it will be problematic.
"Where do we go to do the whale-watching?"
Umm...to the ocean? Which is not in Minnesota?
And probably my favorite: "How do I get a tour of the Edmund Fitzgerald?"
You mean the ship that's on the bottom of Lake Superior? I dunno. Maybe James Cameron can help you. He's probably got some spare time and cash right now.
Not much today--more to come later in the week--but for now, enjoy these.
Great photos around our beautiful state: MinnPics.
The North American Bear Center in Ely is running live photos from a camera installed in a bear's den (!) to watch hibernating bears--and possibly the birth of little baby bear cubs. All together now--AWWWWW!
--and do even more good. A local organization, GiveMN, has been set up to help people learn more about Minnesota nonprofits and to facilitate donations more easily. To that end, they've received funds to do a couple of very cool things: one, funders have pledged to pay the credit card fees, meaning that money you donate via GiveMN goes 100% to the charity.
But second, from 8 a.m. Nov. 17 to 8 a.m. Nov. 18 (CDT), any donation you make to the cause of your choice will be matched from a $500,000 matching grant fund, which will be divided equitably among the nonprofits who receive donations. So--not only will the nonprofits not have to absorb credit card or PayPal fees, they'll even get a bit more for the dollar.
Spend some time on GiveMN's site and see who strikes your fancy.
Oh--one suggestion? In my not-chasing-around-Minnesota time, I work part-time for this organization: the Sajai Foundation. We are (IMHO) an extremely cool organization which is combating childhood obesity by developing curricula for use by schools, after-school programs, and summer camps that teach kids about how to live a healthier lifestyle. One of our programs focuses on getting kids back outdoors, exploring nature, and learning how to care to the earth.
If that should appeal to you :-) you can find our page at GiveMN here.
But thanks to anyone who contributes to any nonprofit on Nov. 17--the economy has been no kinder to nonprofits than it's been to almost everyone, and every little bit helps.
For the dog lovers in the crowd, Saturday would be a great day to visit Wayzata.
For the cat people who don't have enough cats in their household, stop by the Animal Humane Society and get two kitties for the price of one. Unfortunately, it's more than just cute marketing--the Society is being overwhelmed with abandoned kitty-cats. If you have room and are not allergic, consider saving a couple of feline lives.
Not being a huge fan of major league sports, I find it hard to care whether or not the Vikings get their way. But I also recognize that I'm in the minority on that. So it was refreshing to see this post over on Erica's site. Why do we care, indeed? For the record, I do understand that teams like the Vikings do generate revenue in various areas of the economy. But speaking of the economy...I hate to see school funding and arts organizations and state parks and badly needed social programs losing cash, while a football team gets dollars for a new stadium. I have to wonder why the Vikings think this is a good time to make this push.
It's the middle of October, and all the pleasures of the season are peaking now or soon. It's not too late to enjoy:
Fall colors are reaching their prime in the northern half of the state. Check with the DNR's fall color page to choose a leisurely weekend fall foliage drive.
Apple picking--here's a comprehensive list of Minnesota apple orchards. The site recommends, as do I, that you call ahead before visiting to make sure they've got the varieties of apples you like available to pick, what their current hours are, and if they have pick-your-own (if that's what you want) or amenities like bakeries, etc.