Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road

Thursday, September 29, 2016

St. Cloud, MN: Lake George and Munsinger Clemens Gardens (lots of photos)

The name St. Cloud immediately reminded me of Florida and I am pretty sure there was a St. Augustine (also a place in Florida) something rather I spotted around there, too. It's interesting to see names in various parts of the country and wonder if they are more directly connected than not. Did the same people travel here? While I ponder it in the moment, I don't usually care about looking it up.
I did laundry and mailed a postcard, then found a lovely park to visit. Lake George is a really nice spot with statues, kayaks/outdoor gear rentals, wildlife, a big splash pad playground, a walking path and more. I spent hours walking around, listening to music, watching people, and snapping pictures. It was fun to find a Lake George and I noted that about a year prior- August of last Summer- I was at Lake George in Upstate New York. That is a rather different Lake George, still I was a bit amused by this. Cool stuff.
I drove around some too and spent a night in the area. The next day, I visited the Munsinger Clemens Gardens in the afternoon. I spent hours there, walking, snapping photos, and enjoying the Mississippi River and nature. This is a well done, beautiful place and even with the street filled with cars, it didn’t feel crowded, which was awesome. I totally recommend a visit if in the area.
I took way more pictures than I am going to share here yet this is a picture filled post because there were so many gorgeous shots. I do zero editing for color and whatnot and sometimes even enjoy the overexposure. The gardens are free and open to the public, the gift shop is nice, and the grounds are well cared for. This was probably a highlight of my time in Minnesota in terms of nature. It was a surprising and lovely find.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

More Minnesota: Elk River, Big Lake, and Swan Park in Monticello

The downtown in Elk River, MN made for a good afternoon visit with a nice view of the water, awesome murals, and sidewalks and shops to wander through it.
Interesting to learn about "Lowertown" here.
I don't remember why this is here. It reminded me of the Whoville I saw in Crystal River, Florida.
The chairs here were ready for the musical performance later that night. Where I stood had a splash pad by it!
I love these murals. The colors and how well it blended and enhanced the area plus the matching porta-potty. Loved this! Well done!
Peaceful and earthy.
Across the street from those murals and splash pad.
I love Main Streets!

The farmer’s market was happening the day I was there so I walked through it. The familiar bell ring to officiate “We’re open!” was pretty cool. One could buy something like 12 dozen ears of corn for $20. I was surprised local corn was as costly as it was compared to in stores because so much is grown here. I drove by more corn fields than I can remember. Anyhow, that’d be a lot of corn for one person in a small RV. I didn’t buy anything. :)
Next I ventured over to Big Lake where I somehow discovered a Summer music series at the park that night. This allowed for free parking in the lot, a car show, food, music, the beach, and park and more. The band was fun and what a lovely spot.
This is the BEST free wifi agreement I’ve ever seen!
Yep, I love ice cream. Didn't get any, just enjoyed the character this shop had- it is a storefront in town, too. 
It's interesting how many car shows there are at all sorts of festivals and events. There were more cars and some sort of raffle going on, too.
I spent a night in Monticello and had seen a sign on the side of the road about Swan Park so made the turn to check it out. I didn’t see any swans there then, however, this woman fed many here for 25 years. Check out the picture for more info. While the park is fairly small and nestled between houses, it is a lovely spot and my cat and I both enjoyed it.
 All in all some neat little places and experiences.