Monday, July 28, 2014

Northern Road Trip, Day 4: St. Paul and some really Great Waters.

The Bobbin House Studio, our airbnb base in Minneapolis, lies astride the Green Line light rail at a point roughly between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Conceding that the population of the Twin Cities metropolitan area is 2.5 times larger than Louisville's, it's almost as though we had not one but two cities the size of The Ville to choose from, depending on whether the Green Line took us east or west.

On Monday morning, our second day without needing the car, we opted for "east" and exited the Green Line at the state capital complex above St. Paul. A short walk away is St. Paul (duh), a St. Peters-lookalike cathedral perched seemingly on the highest point in the city. Acknowledging the museums and state apparatchik offices on both sides of the grand boulevard linking the two, the scene conjured old memories of various former Eastern Europe principalities.

Trust me: When the church is on a hill higher than the royal palace's, it's time to begin worrying about the veracity if secular governance.

Just past the cathedral is Summit Avenue (simple two-way street grid with bike lanes pictured above, sans multi-million dollar medians), a mind-blowing collection of historic monied architecture extending as far as the eye can see, or aching feet can carry you. Cupola fatigue claimed us after a few blocks, and we began searching for a place to rest. We'd been told that nearby Grand Avenue was the place to go for indie ambience, but we found far too many chains (why do so many places take this gift-card-mall approach?), and so reversed field and walked all the way downtown, where the Great Waters Brewing Company welcomed us for lunch.

The server was a polite, bearded music school student who had not been on the job for long but did a good job with the beer program. He shared with us that his hometown of Le Roy, down by the Iowa border, was largely without opportunity, and that farming wasn't easy with most agricultural careers in the hands of multinational agribusiness.

We rested, rehydrated and grazed on appetizers, Rasta Wings and a tuna wrap. The brewery's cask-conditioned, session-strength ales were excellent ... and I even bought the t-shirt. The Green Line's St. Paul terminus is close by the brewpub, and we boarded there for a return trip past our residence to Minneapolis, and a stroll to the Mississippi's downtown passage.

Oddly, this scene in St. Paul will stay with me.

It's a skywalk, temporarily disconnected pending the construction of a new building. Some sweet day, there'll be (re)closure.

Another memory of St. Paul is a reminder of swill daze past.

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