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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Road Trip: Lake Wobegon, MN- yes, we found it!

In Minnesota, we stayed at the Minneapolis Marriot Northwest on our Marriott Points, and our breakfast in Maple Grove, MN consisted of Sliders at the White Castle, which I happily told the world about on FourSquare:
Driving through MN, we saw signs for a wine festival at the Carlos Creek Wineryin the Alexandria Lakes area of central Minnesota, and thought we might just get there in time… This is a really cool family winery with 15 acres of cold-weather grapes that can stand temperatures down to 30 blow zero! Unfortunately we got there literally minutes after the festival had closed, and so we couldn’t do a tasting, but (luckily!) we were able to purchase a few bottles of MN wine, including, yes, “Minnesota Nice” Wobegon White!
 Love this!

 HA! :-)

We also found a great hot sauce at the winery: Behren's Maniacal Mango Sauce made with the infamous bhut jolokia "Ghost Pepper"! Most "sweet-and-hot" sauces are gooey-sweet, but this one isn't, which is what made it so special! This stuff makes ANYTHING taste good!

We found the Lake Wobegon Trail , too, a 46-mile long hike-and-bike trail, where “everyone is above average” (LOL), and I really enjoyed seeing that MN has embraced Garrison Keillor and made Lake Wobegon essentially the state mascot...

I remember when the book first came out there were a lot of Minnesotans who didn’t feel any love for the author or the book… Lake Wobegon Days  quickly became a classic, however, and it remains one of my very favorite books; when I’m feeling blue and need to laugh, I know I can literally open that book at random and laugh until the tears stream down my face! Keillor took being Lutheran, Norwegian, German, and small-town Minnesotan, and made them universal and beloved- warts, lutfisk, and all- which is a very great gift. When I lived in NYC I used to go to Town Hall with a college chum to see him do a Prairie Home Companion (live radio!), which was a holiday season joy... Keillor very definitely put MN on the map for a lot of people, me included; I've just gone and ordered myself a batch of his books that I haven't yet read. My favorite thing in MN was seeing a town’s city limit highway sign stating it had “453 Nice People”. J




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