Monday, November 30, 2009

Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Before December arrives, I have a few more photos of November events to share.
The day after the Northstar Commuter Train opening, the family and I drove out to Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter, a German restaurant in Stillwater.

The food was delicious (and plentiful - we had the buffet),
the decor was warm and inviting,

(and whimsical - check out the dangling-man light fixture),

and the tableside music was great! My brother, C, took accordian lessons as a child, so it's a nostalgic instrument to me.

It was surprising that no one could remember ever having visited Gasthaus before, since we are part German, but I'm sure we'll be back.
The restaurant is an easy drive from the Twin Cities and still surrounded by enough countryside to make it a relaxing summer or fall destination.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Back On Track...

...with the Twin Cities newest mode of transportation AND regular blog posts (I hope).
On November 14th, C and I drove up to Coon Rapids for the Northstar Commuter Train opening day festivities. There were activities and speakers at each of the new stations, including Big Lake at the northern end and Target Field in downtown Minneapolis at the southern end. We chose Coon Rapids as the station most likely to have free train-ride tickets available. It was a chilly day to wait outside for an hour for a chance at a ride, but we traded places for visits to the warm tent where there were a few free food samples and bottles of water given out by Coborn's and Panera.
Amy Klobuchar spoke briefly about the many years of planning and work that were spent on getting the Northstar running.
The commuter runs on the same tracks as the freight trains - as we saw when one flew past.
It's thrilling just to SEE a train station in the Metro. Having lived in Minneapolis and suburbs all my life, it's a sight seen only in movies and on trips to Europe.

Only those with tickets for the train were allowed in the station, and, as you can see by this photo from the pedestrian overpass, WE GOT TICKETS!!

Here's C with his boarding pass just before the train started up. I filmed the train arriving to pick us up, but I may need to edit it a bit before it will upload. Look for it in the next post or in the sidebar. Our short trip took us to the Target Field stop (the new home of the Minnesota Twins when it opens in April 2010), where we got off, bought some food and looked at a few train-related exhibits before boarding for our return to Coon Rapids and our car.

Regular service started Monday, November 16th. We're planning to take a round trip from Minneapolis to Big Lake some weekend to see the whole route and anticipate the day when train service is restored to ALL the major cities in Minnesota.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy November

Ready or not, November's here. With Thanksgiving and my birthday, it's one of my favorite months (I think September is still my #1). It's also my brother David's birthday AND it would have been Dad's 90th! I'm still planning on a special post that day (the 28th).
But I couldn't leave October without posting these photos of the glorious leaf colors near the Southdale Hennepin County Library. Someone really knew what they were doing when they planted the varieties of trees and bushes that produce this yearly display.
My reading "binge" that started last spring has taken me to this library more times in a few months than in all the previous five - or ten - years. So, not only has reading taken me to imaginary places (and real places I can only imagine), it has lead me to revisit some real places with new scenes to enjoy and photograph. Nice how that works.
Timing is everything. With all the rainy and cloudy days we've had, it was a wonderful coincidence that the day I made the bus trip after work to the library was sunny AND still daylight savings time.
If I'd waited until a weekend when I do most of my errands, I might have missed the peak color. Most of these leaves are gone now and most of the light will also be gone when I get home from work tonight. But it was a treat to walk to my bus stop in the daylight this morning.

I don't mind the early sunset at all. It's my signal to start the indoor projects. In fact, while I was giving out candy to the trick-and-treaters on Saturday night, I boxed up all the books from one bookshelf in my "library", so I can get serious about wallpaper-stripping/painting.

The final photo is of a business across the street from where I'm working. Wow!