Just as spring has begun to unfold around here, we are under a winter weather watch – a potential blizzard is bearing down on Minnesota. As I write this on Tuesday afternoon, my weather app says expected snowfall here in the next 48 hours is 8-12 inches (less than the 15 predicted yesterday), and wind gusts may be over 40 miles per hour.
How disappointing. Never mind that I have a friend in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula who told me that’s merely a dusting. It is a big enough dusting around here that my gig to help test the University of Minnesota’s new alumni website on Thursday morning got cancelled.
So, instead of looking forward to a lousy spring snowstorm, I’ll look back to the fun I had with my husband last week when we played hooky from work on Wednesday and Thursday to celebrate our wedding anniversary right here in town.
We decided to make dinner and room reservations at the Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis. The Inn is located right near the Hennepin Avenue Bridge between Northeast Minneapolis and downtown. Originally a sash and door company built in the late 1800s, the Inn was used as a Salvation Army shelter for many, many years before it was turned into one of the area’s prettiest places to stay, with a gourmet restaurant that looks out on the Mississippi River. There’s a nice bar, too, that looks out on Nicollet Island Park. The staff is wonderful and parking is free – a bonus in an urban setting.
Our dinner was excellent – I had the almond panko crusted walleye and Mick had the coriander fennel crusted pork chop (menu here). We ended our meal with a really nice tawny port. The room was clean and comfortable, with a king-sized bed and a window looking out on the park, so we really felt pampered.
What I really appreciated about the Inn in addition to the food and accommodations was the walkability of the neighborhood. When we arrived on Wednesday afternoon, we strolled down to the Stone Arch Bridge to look at the rapidly-moving river; snow melt raised the river level quite a bit, but the island was not underwater. We strolled up to Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese Shop to check out the cheese, returning the next day to take some home. And on Thursday, rather than return to the dining room in the Inn for breakfast, we walked to a nearby coffeehouse, Taraccino Coffee, for a coffee and pastry. From there, we decided to walk Nicollet Island itself, crossing the bridge into Boom Island Park where Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her intention to run for President. The views of the river and the North Loop of Minneapolis were gorgeous and snow-free.
I loved the walks we took in the neighborhood around the Nicollet Island Inn as much as I loved staying there. I could imagine living in that area, giving up one of our cars in the process. Mick is not so sure.
At any rate, we had a nice respite from every day stuff while not going very far away. That might be my favorite sort of getaway: one in a place tucked away right under my nose. It was not only a fun way to celebrate our marriage, but was the perfect antidote for the winter that doesn’t want to let go of us.
And we still have some of that cheese we brought home from Surdyk’s left in our fridge. Might be something to enjoy while this next storm rages.