Minneapolis is a cool place to visit in winter; Florida is, too

  • Article by: BARBARA FLANAGAN
  • Updated: March 5, 2006 - 8:42 PM

The Flanagan Memo - Re: Vacations in Minnesota in February ... or perhaps you prefer Florida? Plus, Theodore Wirth (was he ever called Ted?) -- again.

The Flanagan Memo - Re: Vacations in Minnesota in February ... or perhaps you prefer Florida? Plus, Theodore Wirth (was he ever called Ted?) -- again.

Wintry vacation

Writer Neal Karlen of Minneapolis raved last month in the mighty New York Times travel section about winter in Minneapolis and what a "cool city" it is. Karlen, who is wild about the skyways, points out how simple it is on cold wintry days to wander about inside and remain warm as a hot espresso or an old-fashioned piece of toast.

Or how about Naples?

If Karlen's article lures more tourists to enjoy Minneapolis during the fleecy months, then Minnesotans might consider touring to Florida -- say, Naples. There are lots of Minnesotans there and with good reason: It's warm -- not hot, but comfy.

And February seems to be the month. Both Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak found their way to Naples and both made speeches.

So did author and historian David McCullough, whose "1776" is a fixture on the New York Times best-seller list.

Curiously, all touched on the same subject -- education.

McCullough pointed out that our teachers need to be taught because today's young Americans are historically illiterate. He stressed that instead of just a degree in education, teachers should major in a subject. "Most teachers teaching history today or physics, for example, don't know what they're teaching," he says. "And they've graduated from the finest schools."

Pawlenty was feted at the home of Gene and Mary Frey at a party with hosts Bob Naegele, Jack Farrell, Sandy Grieve and Frey. He was friendly and pleasant to all comers and spoke briefly.

The governor's big speech was the next morning at the weekly Minnesota Men's Breakfast. He talked education and then mentioned the three stadiums. The Gophers stadium is apparently a shoo-in. The Vikings may have to wait a year or so, he said. And the Minnesota Twins? "I think it has a good chance," he said. After 10 years of talking about it, let's hope so.

Rybak, on his first trip to Naples, was actually taking four days off. He brought along his wife, Megan O'Hara, and their two children. His major appearance was at a party to acquaint people with the Children's Capri Theater Arts Program in the historic Capri Theater in north Minneapolis.

On hand at the home of Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy Co., and his wife, Janet, was T. Mychael Rambo, a popular Minneapolis actor, singer and producer, who rode herd last summer on kids at a workshop in the Capri, an event that will be repeated this year.

Other VIPs from Minnesota included Tony Woodcock, president of the Minnesota Orchestra, and his wife, Virginia. They attended a musical reception for members of the Maestro Circle at the home of Gerry and Henrietta Rauenhorst.

Woodcock, a violinist before taking on management jobs, is looking forward to results of a study this fall concerning enlarging Orchestra Hall. The lobby will grow larger, he said, and he hopes to add a smaller hall and possibly a restaurant.

Incidentally, three orchestra members dazzled the crowd at Rauenhorsts'. They included Richard Marshall, coprincipal viola; Peter McGuire, violin, and Barbara Leibundguth, coprincipal flute.

Ah, the wine festival

Finally, there is Naples' winter wine festival, now the biggest charity wine event in the United States. This year, it raised $12.2 million for children's charities in Naples.

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