Chris Thile & Prairie Home Companion

prairie-home-sign

Tonight was the (almost) final show of the first season with Chris Thile at the helm of A Prairie Home Companion, the radio program based in St. Paul, MN. More to come! Fantastic evening with special thanks to The Avett Brothers, Jesca Hoop, and Jen Kirkman. Also a shout out to Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz and the amazing Aoife O’Donovan.

A Bride, A Horse, Rock ‘n Roll and a Tumble

Do I have your attention?! 🙂 I helped a friend out by taking photos at their wedding, got taken by surprise by a horse I was photographing (he really wanted the carrot) and went to the Minnesota State Fair!

55101/ Part Two: Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar

Winter may be upon us but my pursuit of interesting places in the “hip zip” 55101 continues. Of course The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar in Lowertown is on my list. A favorite of many since opening its doors in early 1998, it started out as a place for coffee and conversation and has grown to include a menu of fresh, local foods, wine, and a diverse presentation of art and music.

KarlDuring my visit today I met Karl Warnke, local filmmaker. He is currently working at Black Dog, noting that Sara Remke (one of the owners) is a true patron of the arts. Karl, a regular customer, worked for the Black Dog summers at the adjacent St. Paul Farmer’s Market and signed on 3 months ago as a manager. His true passion, film-making, was recognized at the 2013 Twin Cities Film Fest. The see Karl’s directorial debut, A Letter Home, and view his other work, visit Karl Warnke on Vimeo.

liam betterLiam Watkins, First Communion After Party  guitarist was also at Black Dog this morning and graciously agreed to a photo-op. Everybody has to check out the music video, Sleepaway– awesome!

Next stop for me? Who knows!

Chestnut Street Inn, Asheville, NC

The Inn_edited-1 (800x546)The little orange cat looked up at me through the side door of The Chestnut Street Inn. Because I had not done my homework, I did not know that this was THE Mr. Pumpkin Pie, feline resident and official greeter.

The Inn, located in the Chestnut Hill Historic District of Asheville, NC, is part of a unique neighborhood, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1983). Pumpkin Pie’s home, built for William R. Whitson (ca. 1905 by J.M. Westall), is a lovely Grand Colonial Revival with gorgeous dark woodwork, including a graceful closed stringer stairway, arts & crafts wainscoting, and elaborate mirrored mantles.

Pumpkin Pie, resident cat at Chestnut street Inn
Pumpkin Pie, resident cat at Chestnut street Inn

Guests stay in classically elegant rooms with names like The Blue Ridge, Biltmore and the Chestnut Hill Room. There is also the option of the roomy and beautifully appointed Beau Catcher Suite adjacent to the main house. With a whirlpool tub, separate living and bedroom areas and gas fireplace, this is a perfect accommodation for a romantic–or working getaway, and is where we stayed!

Innkeeper LaDonna and her amazing staff have an easy camaraderie with guests and one quickly appreciates the artistic and holistic spirit that embodies Asheville– and keeps people coming back. The Chestnut Street Inn is a must!

Happily, Pumpkin Pie and I made peace in the warm sun on the side porch. The wide front porch with rockers invitingly queued is a favorite spot. If you like, there is a basket of soft blankets tucked neatly inside the front door so you can rock and watch the birds in the early morning, protected from any chill in the air.

Asheville, North Carolina

An amazing Thanksgiving is a memory and we soldier on… My nephew (via LA), his mom (who drove from Oak Ridge, TN) and my partner and I met in Asheville, NC for the long holiday weekend. Photos first…stories later :). Christine

Candy, corn, and more Minnesota

Today I drove to Mankato, MN, south and west of the Twin Cities. I was meeting up with a friend’s daughter and wanted to take in a few “landmarks” as well. They are, in no particular order: Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store in Jordan, MN (a whole table of REAL licorice); St. Peter, MN- home to Gustavus Adolphus College and the location of the annual, international Nobel Conference, and a big red barn that happened to catch my eye…

While in St. Peter, I bought fresh corn from Mallory, who was reading a best seller to pass the time. She also had hula hoops and was happy to demonstrate.

Another satisfying meander…

Rambling along the Mississippi in Minnesota

We took a little jaunt along the Mississippi, following Route 61 past Red Wing and on to Wabasha, MN. In between, we stopped at Reads Landing, a mere sign post and sharp turn off the two lane highway. We had lunch at Reads Landing Brewing Company and watched eagles high above the river. A fisherman posed with his amazing catch of the day and the Queen Anne’s Lace was in full summer glory.