From the category archives:

Living in Minnesota


Minneapolis Minnehaha Falls Frozen in Winter

Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis

Many people don’t know that there is lage waterfall in Minneapolis. In the winter, it freezed completely and is a wonder to behold. At the time I shot this photo, there was still a little bit of flow left….by now, it is completely frozen.


Lake Harriet Minneapolis MN

Lake Harriet in Early Fall

This week I was out and about Minneapolis taking some photos of the city in early fall. One great fact about living in Minneapolis is there are lakes everywhere for the public to enjoy, and Lake Harriet is always full of people taking advantage of the views – fisherman, joggers, walkers, people with dogs, bikers, and yes, even photographers.

Learn more about Lake Harriet and Search Homes for Sale


Lake Nokomis is located just southeast of downtown Minneapolis and has always been a desirable place to live in Minneapolis. It’s origins began from glacial activity in the area which created a shallow depression, forming a marshland after the glaciers receded. The current 210 acre lake was originally named Lake Amelia in 1819, with its current name of Nokomis being given in 1910. In 1907, the lake only measured a maximum depth of 5 feet, but after a century of dredging, the current lake can go anywhere from 15 -33 feet deep in spots.

Residents love the area not only for the great neighborhoods surrounding the lake, but also for the recreational features Lake Nokomis provides. With almost three miles of walking paths, two beaches, a community center, softball fields, canoeing and sail boating, there is plenty to do in the summer and winter. If you are a hockey fan, there is even pond hockey available once the ice is thick enough, and you can play to your hearts content during the winter. You might be nudged out for a week though when the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships take over the lake, but at least you can enjoy the sport not too far from home.

As for the real estate surrounding Lake Nokomis, homes range in value from $100,000 up to a $900,000+, though the luxury homes are rare and very, very few. Most of the homes were built 1930 or later, so anyone thinking about buying in the area will find out that brand new homes, for the most part, do not exist in this area. Occasionally a home is torn down and a new home is built on the spot, but some of the lots can be small so only a small home can be placed on the lot.
Another feature of many homes surrounding Lake Nokomis is the detached garage. Behind each row of homes is an alley with which one can access the garage and backyard, or you can park on the street. Street parking can become tricky in the winter, though, when it is time for the snow plows to come. There are no homes that “sit” on the lake, or have lake frontage as part of their lot. The lake has roads around the 195 acres of parkland, and homes across the street are few and very desirable. At least this way, everyone has access to the lake.
Interesting Lake Nokomis Links:


The Mississippi River is the most famous river in the United States. You might think the river looks the same everywhere, but the Upper Mississippi (above St Louis) is very different from the Lower Mississippi (below St Louis). What you might ask is the major difference? Well, starting just below St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, the lock and dam system begins and continues until you reach St Louis. There are also areas of high bluffs that flank each side, which have been carved away over the centuries, and offer fantastic views, too.

The locks and dams have created a series of pools between each other, with the dams being placed at a shallow spot on the main channel in order to raise the low water level to nine feet or more. Contrary to some rumors, the dams were not built to control floods. Actually, when the water is extremely high, all dam gates must be pulled completely out of the water!

What we now have is one main channel for navigation and a system of backwaters in which you will find some great fishing opportunities. Any time of day you will be able to see barges traveling up and down with their goods, and maybe even catch one in a lock. Since the river can vary in depth, a system has been created to show barge captains and boaters where they should travel. Red floats will always be on the east side of the river, while green floats are on the west. Sometimes, where the main channel is close to shore, a diamond marker will be located on the shore for visual navigation. Stay between these floats unless you are very familiar with the pool you are in.

What makes the river fun is the ability to visit small river towns. Most have a marina where you can dock for a short while, get gas, and explore. There are also many spots available to lay anchor and enjoy the day on a beach or sand bar. Overnight camping is allowed in most places and is a popular past time during holidays.

Whatever you do, be sure to have a great time, whether it be fishing, boating, camping, or exploring. Just remember to enjoy the beautiful landscape nature has given us and be safe at the same time. The river has many hidden dangers so be prepared with life jackets and a first aid kit. On the mighty Mississippi, you might learn just how mighty it really is!


Today I spent Mother’s Day (after the celebration) talking a relaxing historic homes tour in Saint Paul. Little did we know that while walking to Summit Avenue, we would come upon an unconventional caravan.

There was a celebration for the 150 years that Minnesota has been on the map at the State Capital building in Saint Paul. The wagon caravan was parading down the street with different types of wagons used when we first became a state, not to mention the various breeds of horses pulling the antique vehicles.

This summer there are numerous events celebrating the last 150 years so make sure to visit some of the historic sites sprinkled across the state.


Moving into a new home is proving to be very time consuming, especially when Dakota Electric keeps turning off our power to replace a transformer. It starts to get cold in a house when no heat is on for four hours! And of course, it makes me unable to get on-line and blog.

So instead, I took the day off and took my kids to The Mall of America. They had a fun time riding the “horsies”. MOA, as it is called, is in the process of redesigning its amusement park. A few years ago it was a Snoopy theme, and now it will be Nickelodeon characters. I have to say that I just don’t get Sponge Bog Square Pants. The mall is a great place to take the kids in the winter because it has many activities to keep them busy:

  • Lego Land
  • the Aquarium
  • Amusement Park,
  • Mini-golf
  • Flight Simulator

…and of course there is plenty of space to just run around. If you want your hyper child to tire out, take him to the Mall of America and let him run around. In about two hours, he will be falling asleep in your arms.


If you live any where near a lake in Minneapolis, chances are you might take up a winter sport. A big sport here in the winter is cross county skiing. In a big city, finding the space could be hard, but if you live on Lake Calhoun, as pictured here, you can have miles of track available to you just a few steps from your door. The scenery is quite nice too as you trek along!


Last week I talked about how to survive a Minnesota winter by keeping your vehicle stocked with items you might need should you find yourself stranded or in an accident. This week I want to touch on things you should do for your home to help get you through any emergencies during a snow or ice storm.

Probably one of the most important items to have for your home is a back-up generator. Yes, not only do you need them during Hurricanes, but you need them for ice storms, too. A generator can help keep your perishable items cold for a little bit longer, or run a space heater to keep your feet warm. Just remember to read the instructions on proper installation and keep generators outside.

Should your electricity go out due to ice on the power lines, call your local power company’s emergency line to report the outage. Keep the following items available as well:

  • flashlights (battery powered)
  • radio (battery powered)
  • extra batteries
  • bottled water
  • coolers for perishables
  • ice
  • blankets, coats, hats, mittens
  • land line phone (non-battery / non-electric)

After the storm, don’t forget to inspect the roof for possible ice-dam build up and remove any seen. Ice-dams can cause water to back up under your roof and into your home, a mess no one wants.


Winter will be on us before we know as temperatures continue to drop over the next month. Are you prepared?

Survival Kit for Your Car

It can get very cold here in Minnestoa, so consider putting a survival kit in your vehicle in case you are in an accident, or find yourself in a snow storm and have to pull over. Here are some items to keep in your car:

              • First Aid Kit
              • Shovel (for snow removal)
              • Sand Bags
              • Warm Clothing and Additional Boots
              • Blankets
              • Water and small food items
              • Tow Chain / Tire Chains
              • Road Flares and Reflectors
              • Jumper Cables

              Also make sure that your windshield washer fluid contains antifreeze. This will keep any ice from building up on your windshield. Don’t forget to SLOW down and watch for “black ice”. Black ice is ice that cannot be seen when driving and is a huge hazard in the winter, causing your tires to slip and your car to slide out of control.

              For more great Winter driving tips in Minnesota, check out the Department of Public Safety website.