Greetings, Regal Guardians! That was quite a weekend of storms, wasn't it? I, along with hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, lost power for the better part of a day and spent Saturday cleaning up the mess in our yard. We are still without an internet connection, so I've stolen away for a few minutes to a local coffee house to make this post. More adventures are on the way, but this will get us started.

Monday, June 24

The Seward Café was one of the few places near us that had power on Saturday morning, so we stopped in for breakfast. I was a bit skeptical when I looked at the menu because the only meat available in the place was of the "loaf" variety on the overhead speakers. (Get it? Meatloaf?) Sorry. I got the Super Red Earth and, I have to say, it was one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. Great flavors along with great coffee; just no meat. Two outta three ain't bad. (Get it? Meatloaf?) Afterwards, we took a stroll down the nearby Milwaukee Avenue Historic District. The history of these few blocks is fascinating, and it's a very pleasant stroll down its pedestrian mall. There's a small play structure along the way in case your kids don't find "the earliest planned workers' community in Minneapolis" as interesting as I do.

Tuesday, June 25

Another jewel that I've visited several times with my family is the Caponi Art Park in Eagan. The park's founder, Anthony Caponi, is a retired Macalester College professor, sculptor and author of two books on the subject. He reminds me of an uncle who loves to host huge family gatherings, but never says a word while you're there. Caponi just buzzes around on a golf cart and takes quiet pleasure in the families enjoying his creation. "Family Fun Tuesdays" are offered all summer long from 10-11 am. The programs change each week; today features reptiles and amphibians from Dodge Nature Center, in case you didn't get your fill of turtles last Monday. It's technically free to attend, but they do ask for a $4 donation. Make sure you take a walk through the grounds before you leave, and say hello to Uncle Anthony for me.

Wednesday, June 26

My older brother, Randy, built a model railroad on the ping-pong table when we were kids. At the time, I was convinced that Randy was the coolest person who would ever walk the face of the planet, but I still never got into the railroad thing. A visit to the Twin City Model Railroad Museum changed that . . . sort of. The museum is kinda like an animated photograph, ala Harry Potter. There are myriad historical scenes frozen in time, with cool little trains trucking through the pictures to add some life. I ended up charmed. It costs $6 for anyone over 5, and the museum is open daily, except Mondays. Make sure to get your hands on the "Treasure Hunt" by the cash register to guide your visit.

Thursday, June 27

Thursdays mean farmer's markets in the Twin Cities. From St. Paul and Nicollet Mall to Centennial Lakes and Excelsior Bay, farmers set up their fresh produce for your perusal. Not only can you smell the dirt, you often have to brush it off your beets. If you head to the Excelsior Farmer's Market, make a day of it. The market doesn't open until 2 pm, so start with a picnic lunch in Excelsior Commons or at the Excelsior docks, then take a stroll through the picturesque town. Before shopping the market, take a ride on the Excelsior Streetcar Line for $2 each. If you go in August, you can cap the day off with a cruise on the Steamboat Minnehaha at 6 pm.

Friday, June 28

If you visited the Twin City Model Railroad Museum this week you saw a fairly accurate representation of mid-20th century Minneapolis, at least as far as railroad bridges go. Today, you can walk the Heritage Trail and see the real things. The trail takes you across the Stone Arch Bridge, with excellent views of St. Anthony Falls. The falls are roaring right now, thanks to our rainy spring. The path continues along the riverfront to the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, the first permanent bridge spanning the Mississippi River. Take a small detour from the trail on Nicollet Island and make your way to the pavilion. The decks offer enchanting views from the river's edge. The trail wraps up on the old Main Street of St. Anthony, the original name of the settlement on this side of the river before Minneapolis swallowed it up.

May the road rise to meet you!