File photo of speedskaters at Isles

Speedskaters at Lake of the Isles (file photo)

For the quintessential Minneapolis winter experience, it's hard to beat a mid-December skate around the perimeter of Lake of the Isles under a nearly full moon.

The temperature was perfect last night, even if the ice froze a little bumpy.  The perfect combination of smooth, snow-free black ice and a full moon comes only every decade or so, so you have to be ready when the conditions are good, but not perfect.

For safety's sake, keep close to the shore.  The ice was solid and noiseless last night, aside from one minor pop, but I stayed within 30 feet of the shore most of the way.

Besides the full moon, there's the quiet of being alone on the lake and the spectacle of bright Christmas lights adorning the large homes on the encircling parkway.

The best ice is in the west bay, just north of the bridge over the entrance to the Kenilworth Lagoon, if the 2.7-mile circumference is too much for your skating legs this early in the season.

With a full moon Saturday, and a lunar eclipse early that morning, what better place to enjoy them?