Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Food - Country Glazed Ham Shop

Minnetonka and Maple Grove, MN

The Country Glazed Ham Shop sells delicious home smoked and fire-glazed hams, as well as other meats and deli products. In addition, if you show up around the lunch hour they serve up a large variety of gourmet sandwiches featuring their specialty meats. Located in Minnetonka, they have been selling their fine products to residents of the western Twin Cities for quite some time now. And in the last couple of years, the northwest metro area has enjoyed the addition of their second store in Maple Grove.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Drinks - August Schell Brewing Company

New Ulm, MN

The August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm, MN, is not only among the oldest breweries in Minnesota, but it is actually the second oldest family-owned brewery in the nation. They have been producing their German-style craft beers ever since August Schell, a German engineer and machinist, made his first barrels in 1860. It has remained a family operation ever since. In 2002, Schell's even purchased Grain Belt, a renowned Minnesota beer brewed since 1893, effectively rescuing the label and keeping the beer in the state.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Restaurants - Peppermint Twist Drive In

Delano, MN

When is the last time you have been to an honest-to-goodness drive in restaurant? Venture to Delano in the spring or summer and you will have your chance! Family owned and operated since 1982, the Peppermint Twist Drive In is located right in town along US Highway 12. They serve up a huge variety of delicious hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and shakes. Enjoy your meal under the canopy in the comfort of your car, take it to go, or use the picnic area out back. Dining here is truly a trip back in time.

Food - Mackenthun’s Sausage & Deli

St. Bonifacius, MN

Located just south of MN Hwy 7 on County Road 92, you will find Mackenthun’s Sausauge & Deli. The Mackenthun name has been a fixture in this community and the surrounding area for a number of decades. Here you will find a full meat counter, a deli, and a number of different sausage products including fresh, cured, and smoked. Be sure to pick up some of their “campfire” jerky for a little snack; it is excellent.

Places - Hollywood Township

Hollywood, MN

Here in Minnesota, our Hollywood is a not a place for obnoxious celebrities. Rather, it is a township full of hard-working people located just west of Watertown and just north of New Germany in beautiful, rural farm country. It is home to the historic Hollywood Old Schoolhouse (a one-room schoolhouse that is still standing), the Hollywood Sports Complex (offering sportball fields, bowling, volleyball, as well as food and drink), and the Hollywood Ranch House (a restaurant along MN Highway 7 that has been in operation since 1940).

Friday, September 15, 2006

Landmarks and History - Kato Ballroom

Mankato, MN

For more than 50 years, the Kato Ballroom has been serving the Mankato community a steady dose of live entertainment, and also offering a place for private parties and receptions. The Kato Ballroom has played host to notable musicians such as Chubby Checker, The Everly Brothers, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Drinks - Summit Brewing Company

St. Paul, MN

The Summit Brewing Company was founded in St. Paul, MN, in 1986. According to their web site, their goal was “to bring back the remarkable craft beers once brewed throughout the Upper Midwest.” Summit produces a variety of beers, along with some limited release beers, as well as some seasonal offerings, such as the Summit Oktoberfest pictured here. The first keg of Summit Extra Pale Ale was made on September 25, 1986, so as of this post, they are getting ready to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Restaurants - Kopper Kettle Restaurant

Osseo, MN

The Kopper Kettle Restaurant is a family restaurant in the very charming heart of dowtown Osseo. Here you will find a great, friendly place with a small-town feel, even though you are surrounded by the metro area. The Kopper Kettle has been serving up great home-cooked meals to local residents for years, and you will certainly not go home hungry!

Landmarks and History - Burschville Township School

Burschville, MN

Located along County Road 10, Burschville is a small, unincorporated town in northern Hennepin County, just a little bit northwest of the metro area. Here you will find a little red schoolhouse from the 19th century that is still standing. The Burschville Township School was in District 17, and it was built in 1894. There are a number of other small buildings here on the site, and there is also a picnic shelter that was built so people can still enjoy this piece of history today

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Landmarks and History - Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

Duluth, MN

An unmistakable landmark in the Duluth Harbor, the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was originally built in 1905. When Duluth constructed their harbor, they dug through a narrow strip of land called Minnesota Point to create a shipping canal. With the canal construction effectively isolating the people who lived on Minnesota Point, the need for a bridge arose, and this unique structure became the solution. The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Restaurants - Gordy’s Hi-Hat

Cloquet, MN

On the northern edge of Cloquet along Minnesota Highway 33 sits a restaurant called Gordy’s Hi-Hat. You will get nostalgic walking in this true old-fashioned hamburger joint that is open seasonally in the spring and summer. They have been serving their wonderful, hand-made hamburgers, along with fries, onion rings, and shakes to hungry locals and vacationers since 1960. Stop in for one of the tastiest burgers in the North County!

Food - TJ’s Country Store

Mahtowa, MN

TJ’s Country Store is a small grocery store and gas station about 20 minutes south of Duluth in the town of Mahtowa, which is located just west of Interstate 35 on County Road 4 in Carlton County. TJ’s specializes in a number of delicious, hand-crafted sausage products, such as their famous wild rice wurst, and even certain Scandinavian specialities like Swedish potato sausage. As their slogan says, “Our Wurst is Best!”

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Quirky Stuff - The Rooster at Weldon's Gifts

Two Harbors, MN

Two Harbors is located about 25 minutes northeast of Duluth on the North Shore of Lake Superior. When driving to Two Harbors from the south, you will see a notable piece of roadside architecture on your left just as you enter town; an 8-foot tall rooster. This majestic bird sits in front of Weldon’s Gifts along Highway 61, and he has been greeting North Country travelers for decades.

Landmarks and History - Father Baraga’s Cross

Schroeder, MN

In 1846, Father Frederic Baraga, a missionary, was crossing Lake Superior in a small boat when a sudden storm came up. The lives of Father Baraga and his crew were spared when they were blown into the mouth of the Cross River, near what is now the village of Schroeder. They erected a small wooden cross at the mouth of the river as a symbol of their gratitude. Today, Father Baraga’s Cross has been replaced with a permanent granite cross and is a historical marker on the North Shore.