Minnesota 2010

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Friday, August 6, 2010: We flew into MSP, grabbed a rental car, and headed to Bloomington.
Things have changed since Debbie moved away in 1987. For starters, there is now a light rail system, ...
... and an IKEA.
Of course, here was the main reason we were in Bloomington: Swedish pancakes at the IKEA cafe! We also stopped by a liquor store to stock up for the entertaining we'd be doing.
We drove into St. Paul and passed the apartment buildings where Debbie's first date lived back in the 1970s.
What's this? Another Snoopy-and-Woodstock statue? Score!
We met Jean and Kristine at Carbone's on Randolph, home of the greatest pizza on earth, the Carbone's Special.
Next, we drove down Randolph past Cretin-Derham Hall. It used to be two separate high schools, all-male Cretin and all-female Derham Hall, but have since been combined into one.
Just five blocks away on Hamline Avenue is the house where Debbie grew up. There's now an extra house between hers and the one to the north - shown here on the right.
Here's the house. The old concrete stoop and plumber pipe hand rail have been replaced by an attractive stone stoop with a normal hand rail fence, ...
... and the front door is bright blue.
One last look. It was a great house to grow up in.
We drove down Lake Street in Minneapolis, passing Jelly Roll Cemetery. It is actually called Pioneers & Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, but we only know that from looking it up on Google Maps this very minute. For decades, this has been Jelly Roll Cemetery to Debbie and her high school friends because of grave stone markers that look like jelly rolls.
Our next destination was a Minneapolis skyline icon.
Psych! We didn't mean the majestic IDS Tower, we meant the smaller but still attractive Foshay Tower.
The lobby and the upper floors are now part of the W Hotel, so the entry way has the distinctive W pink glow.
Lovely Art Deco touches are still in place throughout.
For example, this original Art Deco-style letter box. Gorgeous!
We had splurged on a W Fantastic Suite, so we had a room on the 24th floor.
Our huge suite (2404) occupied one-quarter of the floor.
The suite had a large living room ...
... with a bright pink portable bar ...
... and a corner dining room.
Here's the bedroom, ...
... and the bathroom, ...
... with a large tub with the view. The separate dark tile shower was lit only by a pink light bulb. Bath amenities by Bliss were included.
We freshened up and headed into downtown Minneapolis. Baseball player statues were marked with a year and covered with memorabilia and clippings of the Minnesota Twins from that year were scattered throughout downtown Minneapolis as part of the "Twins Around Town" event marking 50 years of Minnesota Twins baseball. Here's 2005, ...
... 1963, ...
... and 1962.
Here's the entrance to the Crystal Court, which is an atrium surrounded by shops at the base of the IDS Tower.
The Nat Nast display beckoned to us so we bought two shirts for Tom there.
Just around the block is the Nicollet Mall, home of the famous Mary Tyler Moore statue.
It was a beautiful day out so we stopped at Solera for some outdoor dining.
We had beers and tapas and a nice time.
Then we headed back to our hotel, ...
... the lovely Foshay Tower.
Here's a closeup of the top. Our suite was on the 24th floor, which was three floors below the level with the balconies, on the left corner.
Here's a view of the sunset from the bedroom.

Saturday, August 7, 2010: The next morning, ...
... we took a short walk to Hell's Kitchen.
It's a great breakfast place ...
... where we had breakfast with Hillary, Kristi, Dale, and Ray, friends of Debbie's from Intran.
Later, we went to Carbone's -- again -- for more pizza, in a failed attempt to get sick of it before we left town.
That second visit earned Debbie the title of Mayor of Carbone's on Foursquare, a position she held for several months afterward.
Back at the Foshay Tower, we took the elevator up to ...
... the observation level, a place Debbie never knew existed in all the years she lived in Minnesota. Access is free to W Hotel guests.
Can you see us in the reflection of the building across the street? We are barely visible in this photo two panels above the row of FOSHAY letters.
The views were lovely from the observation level. Here's the IDS Tower.
Here's some more stuff.
Back inside, there is a museum devoted to the construction and history of the tower, which was built between 1927 - 1929 and was the tallest building around for four decades.
This plaque indicates that the tower was modeled after the Washington Memorial in DC.
Fun fact, according to this sign: the exterior is Indiana Bedford limestone.
Back in our room, we hosted a pre-high-school-reunion party. We were joined by Kristine, Jean, Judy, Dan, ...
... Lance, and Natalie.
Then we headed to the Town & Country Club in St. Paul for our 30th high school reunion. It had been ten years since our last reunion.
There was cake, ...
... and a whole roomful of former classmates.
Here's the view over the Mississippi of the Minneapolis skyline after sunset.
Another reunion, another dinner with Cameron and his wife, Kara, since Cameron also went to the same college as Debbie did.
There's probably a photo of Debbie somewhere at Natalie and Lance's home that was taken at this exact moment.
Here are Class of '80 leaders Cheryl and Steve.
We got a nice photo of ourselves. We were looking good, especially Tom in his brand new Nat Nast shirt.
Here are Kathy and Jeff, ...
... Daphne, ...
... Jeff, ...
... Ruth, ...
... Jean, ...
... Kristine, ...
... and Mike.
Much fun was had, even by the spouses. See all reunion photos here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010: We headed back to St. Paul to have brunch at Forepaugh's Restaurant.
After working here as a bus girl in the 70s, it was great for Debbie to get to experience being a customer instead.
We were seated in the Lanpher Room and had the place to ourselves.
We took a peek in some of the other rooms for old time's sake. Here's the Ramsay Room.
Here are the second floor restrooms. It's a strange thing to photograph, but the cool thing here is the original sign pointing to the Gentlemen's room. Back in the day, that style of sign was everywhere in the restaurant.
Here's the Fitzgerald Room on the third floor, ...
... and here is the dark third floor pantry where Debbie worked on numerous Saturday nights. The dumbwaiters are used to carry food from the kitchen in the basement to the pantries on each of the three dining floors.
By mid-afternoon, we were back at the MSP airport, checking out the shiny luggage.

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