For the last month Laurel’s family has been talking about taking a day and ride the Green Line. The Green Line? It is the newest light rail addition to the Twin Cities. The line runs from downtown St. Paul following University Avenue thru the University of Minnesota and continuing to downtown Minneapolis making its final stop at Target Field.
After several e-mails among the potential riders, The date and time was set. The gathering time was set for 11 am on Saturday September 20th and we would meet at the Buttered Tin in St Paul. Saturday morning when I awoke a thought flashed thru my mind. I wondered about visiting the Farmers Market in St Paul. I signed on to the computer and noted the hours of operation of the farmers market. When Laurel woke up I mentioned to her about stopping at the farmers market. I said if we left home an hour earlier we could take some time at the market. Laurel thought that would be a good idea, so we got ready and made our way to the Cities.
The drive to St. Paul was uneventful. We made our way into downtown St. Paul via Kellogg Boulevard. We would look for parking near the Union Depot because the Farmers Market and the start of the Green Line are within a couple of blocks. We found a lot charging a dollar for the visitors of the Farmers Market, so we entered the lot and grabbed a ticket and parked the car. Laurel and I walked the 4 blocks to the farmers market and on the way we crossed the Green Line tracks on the south side of the farmers market. We strolled up and down the aisles viewing all the colors of the farmers market. Fruits, vegetables and flowers filled the farmers market with the sounds of folk music in the back ground. We did spot some good deals and made a few purchases. I carried the purchases back to the car while Laurel started walking to the Buttered Tin to meet with her family. After I put the purchases in the car I started walking to the Buttered Tin. I had my camera with me and I took pictures along the way of the architecture of St. Paul’s lower side. The older building have been refurbished into lofts, flats and apartments. St. Paul has done a wonderful job of revitalizing the downtown.
When I got to the Buttered Tin I started looking for Laurel. She was inside along with her mother and sister Chantal. I was in there for only brief moment when the suggestion was made to go outside and wait for the rest of the gang. The outdoor weather was superb. Clear skies and a breeze weaving its way thru the streets of St. Paul. We sat on a curb of a garden chitchatting as we waited. A few minutes later Laurel’s bother and family appeared. Jay, Karen and their two daughter joined in on the chitchat. Now we were waiting for one more person, Naomi, Chantal’s daughter. As the traffic flowed in the street before us we spotted Naomi in one of the cars. She went a found a parking spot and joined the group and we were complete and ready to start touring on the Green Line.
We made our we down the street to the first stop of the Green Line known as the Union Depot. We made our way onto the platform and bought our tickets and boarded the train. We found a grouping of open seats and sat down. We started talking about our first stop and the decision was made to go to the Black Sheep for pizza. We departed the light rail on the 10th and Cedar stop and walked 3 blocks to the Black Sheep. The Black Sheep serves artisan pizzas baked in a coal fired oven. We made our way inside and the wait staff asked we would like to sit outside. We said yes. It was hot and stuffy inside and the waiter said their air conditioning was broken. But remember, this was a glorious day and sitting outside was refreshing. As others chitchatted I looked all around noting architecture of the neighborhood. Across the street there was a small green space and old building wall created into a work of art. I studied the wall and took some photos of the artwork. I am with a online photography group and this week topic was “Lines and Patterns”. The building and artwork fit the description and with a few photos we walked back to the train platform and waited for the next train to Minneapolis.
We re-board the train and made our way to our next stop. The Cupcake in the Prospect Park neighborhood on University Avenue. We exited the train at the Westgate stop and walked the 3 blocks to the Cupcake. We stepped inside looked over the tasty treats trying to make a decision on which cupcake was going to be our treat. Laurel decided on the Kahlua cupcake. I wasn’t up for a whole cupcake, so Laurel and I shared one. It tasted every bit as good as they looked. After a we finished the cupcake I told Laurel I was going next door and do a little shopping at an antique shop. The shop was filled with household antiques. Old windows, heat grates, door knockers and old lighting. If you were restoring an older home, this was your shop. They also had hand tools to old maps of St. Paul, Minneapolis and other areas of Minnesota. Endless shopping and vision overload. After a short stay I made my way outside to the sidewalk in front on the building.
I had spotted a small colorful wooden structure on the sidewalk when we entered the Cupcake. I wanted too know what they were doing. As we ate our cupcakes I was watching two guys at the structure print postcards. I walked up to the structure and saw they were printing cards of the Prospect Park neighborhood. The structure was equipped with 3 antique printers and each printer was a different color layer of the print. They asked me if I wanted to make my own card and I said yes. I told the one guy I remembered doing so of this style of block printing back in school. After I finished my card the guys told me about a felting project down the street. They tried to give me directions to the area were the project was, but we found ourselves wondering down the street. We crossed University Avenue more times that a squirrel.
On the way we found the Textile Center. We all went in and explored the exhibit at the center. They had a small gift shop and some of the people did a little shopping. For me, I looked over the exhibits and sat at a small table near the entrance. On the table was a display of booklets. I grabbed one of the booklets titled The Other Green Line and started paging through. The booklet broke down the Green Line into the small neighborhoods writing of their natural history and walking tours to explore. As the others finished headed outside and said goodbye to Jay’s family. They headed back to their car because of they some other things they were doing that evening. The rest of us continued to Prospect Park Community Gardens to visit the felting project.
As we entered the garden area was saw a young lady stirring a pot on an open fire. We walked over to see what she was brewing and it turned out to be she was natural dying a scane yarn. Another woman approached us and asked if we wanted to be part of the felting project. We slipped over and joined in. Some of us grabbed some wool and added it to the work of art. I circled the work space taking photos of the project and the people working on the project. The leader of the project directed people and prepped each step. We worked on the project for over an hour and the project was far from complete. We left the project to others and slipped over to a local coffee shop and grabbed a refreshment. We re-boarded the train and made our way to the end of the line in downtown Minneapolis. The last stop on the Green Line is Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. We had to change trains for our return trip.
As we headed back we made the decision to stop and have dinner along the Green Line supporting a local business. An older couple boarded train and sat across from Laurel and I. The lady pulled out her cell phone and look up the weather report. She softly read the report to her husband. I strained to listen to the report. There were severe storms just west of Minneapolis. I leaned over to Laurel and asked if we really wanted to stop and eat dinner. Laurel asked the others and they still wanted to stop and eat dinner. We road the train to the Victoria stop and exited the train. The restaurant was right there on the corner. The Best Steak House, simply named and decorated with a Greek décor. The first person we met was the fry cook. He asked us what we wanted and we ordered our meals. Saturday night’s special, steak and shrimp. The cook took our order for the cooking instructions for our steaks, we proceeded to collect the rest of our meal and pay. We found a table and sat down and started on our salads and let our eyes take in the décor. In a few minutes our main course was set in front of us. We pushed our salad bowls aside and started on our steak dinners. That was a great choice. We had enough food left over, Laurel and I were able save some of the steak for Fajitas a couple of nights later.
As we finished we exited the Best Steak House the thunderstorm had hit. Heavy rain and strong winds. Not knowing when the next train was going to be a the station, we made a mad dash for the platform. We tucked ourselves into a protective corner and waited. The rain started to let up and the wind calmed. I guess we could have waited in the restaurant, but that is hind sight. After 15 minutes of waiting, the train appeared on the horizon. We got back on the train and it had more rides than other times of the day. The Gopher football fans had left the game and were returning home. The cars was hot and muggy with smell of wet clothing. We found ourselves standing for a couple stops before some seats opened up for us to sit. We got back to the Union Depot stop and exited the train. The rain was done and a rainbow was bright in the south sky as the storm continued its trek to the east. We said our goodbye’s as we split up to walk back to our cars.
If you are ever in the Twin Cities for a visit I highly recommend taking the Green Line for an overview of the Cities.