Monday, April 27, 2015

#31 - New Places to See

I added this as a goal because it's easy to be a tourist in a totally new spot, but sometimes it can be a little harder to take the time to see interesting things that are closer to home.  The first two places I visited were Pipestone National Monument and the Jeffers Petroglyphs site - you can see some photos from that visit on this post.

Fibonacci Wannabe III by Nam Lee - my favorite at Franconia
Last week, I was on vacation and checked out a few other new places.  My first stop was the Franconia Sculpture Park.  This is a very unusual place ... in a field, not close to a town, with very little signage ... where there is a group of outdoor sculptures for public viewing.  And, when I say a group, I mean about 70 pieces - some very large.  Most are modern and not traditionally classic representations.  A few of my favorites are shown below.  It felt odd wandering about; several other cars stopped while I was there, but they only used the restrooms and moved on.  I was mostly alone with the wind looking at art.

Quill and Sword by Art Videen - a more traditional piece
 Closeup of Imprint by Sarah Langsam - this is set into the ground
Parade by Mike Rathbun - this was a huge piece - 40 feet high
Rocco by Amy Toscani - this one moved in the wind and reminded me first of a carnival ride and later of an alien ship

Sapling by Kevin Dartt - I would have like to see this one at night since the bud is a solar light
I didn't take photos of my stay in Red Wing, MN, but I had a good time checking out the downtown ... including the Red Wing Confectionery Shop (well worth a visit!).  I also went to Hobgoblin Music - the place where my harp was built several years ago.  I only peeked into the downstairs shop, but the second floor was a cozy jumble of items for sale and antique instruments.  Fortified with sheet music and chocolate goodies, I continued on.

My next stop was New Ulm, MN.  Since I live in a tourist area, it was interesting to see another tourist town during the off season.  It was quiet,but I bet the streets are brimming with people in summer and fall.  The statute of Herman the German was in a wonderful little park at the top of the hill.  The Minnesota Music Hall of Fame didn't hold my interest for long - an uneven representation of musical genres as well as a lack of organization in the displays made it hard to concentrate.  The Brown County Historical Society had a much better museum across the street with a great exhibit upstairs on the Dakota Uprising of 1862 - I particularly liked the video presentation in the corner.  And, the glockenspiel was interesting ... and loud! ... I expected something different, but it definitely adds some zest to the town.
Glockenspiel in New Ulm

Herman the German

Brown County Historical Museum in New Ulm - the former post office building
On my way home, I stopped in Mankato to see the Betsy-Tacy houses.  Maud Hart Lovelace wrote a great series of children's books based on her life and childhood friendships that I was introduced to by my public librarian when I was young.  So, I felt I needed to check it out since I was in the area.  The houses looked much as I expected, but were also a reminder of how much the world has changed in the last 100 years.  I don't know if any large family would be willing to live in such a small house nowadays.
Betsy's house (childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace)
Tacy's house (Maud's best friend's home - 11 people lived in this small house!)

I had some other great experiences on my vacation as well - meeting my new grand niece for the first time, some big city shopping, and playing with baby kittens.  I still have unexplored places in Minnesota left on my list though, so I expect that I will try this goal again.

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