"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
Wall Drug Store is one place you must see if you visit South Dakota. My dad came here a log time ago and said we needed this unique place on our itinerary. We stopped here on our way to the Badlands to see what the buzz was about.
This place is big so allow yourself plenty of time. We spent about 90 minutes here, a whole day is really needed to see everything. It is not just one store but MANY stores. We explored the main store on the left. That alone was big enough. Another new store was going up.
We entered the main building, it looks like an old west scene, complete with characters to take selfies with.
Even Zoltar the fortune teller.
There is even a chapel inside the store, very beautiful! Quite an interesting story of its history too.
Just before leaving we stopped in the ice cream shop for a treat. As always, ice water is free.
Also the gift shop, what do you choose?
You could easily make a day of this place, we had a hard time leaving but the journey continues. Be sure to bring your camera!
We arrived in Minneapolis in pouring rain around 6 PM after leaving home about 12 hours earlier. On the way we saw Pickwick Mill and Pepin while traveling the Great River Road. Tired and hungry, we stopped for dinner at Saguaro ( Arizona/Mexican cuisine). Turns out it is one of he best Mexican restaurants in Minneapolis. We have to agree! The staff were friendly and we enjoyed our experience there.
Our dinners, we both chose the Taco Platter, but you could do a lot of mixing and matching. A great way to end our day and relax after a long day on the road.
Day 2 – 9/19
The rain was gone and we were ready for adventure! We took care of some family business first. My maternal Grandmother and her sister grew up here and we went to the Lyndale neighborhood where they lived. Saw my former great-grandparent’s house, now rented by two tenants. It was good to see it again after 15 years.
We also went to the other side of their block where my teen grandma picked up some groceries for the family. I don’t know what it was called then but now it’s Kyle’s Market, open 9 to 9 daily.
We also paid respects to my great-grandparents and great-aunt at Lakewood Cemetery along the shores of Lake Calhoun. We also discovered the Pillsbury family is buried here, we could see the tall monument from my family’s grave site. More on Pillsbury later.
On our way to our next place we saw a vintage White Castle Hamburger building, now Xcentric Goods.
We soon arrived Minnehaha Park, a popular park for over a century. It’s also the center point of the founding of Minneapolis. On location is the Princess Depot that used to bring people to the park on a train. Now, it’s a museum open seasonally.
The first settler of Minneapolis, Colonel John H. Stevens is memorialized here with his former home turned into a museum. Also a statue in front of the house.
We happened to be there when the groundskeepers were making their rounds (you can see them behind the statue). Even though the museum was not really open for visitors at 7:45 AM, they did for us since they are just nice people 🙂 Lets go in! There is a plaque just outside of the door.
That was fun, thanks for the great tour! Now we proceeded to the other great attraction of this park, Minnehaha Falls. As we got closer, you could hear the rush of water. The sunrise was illuminating the mist the falls created, beautiful!
An interesting fact, President Johnson visited the falls in 1964, they marked where he stood in concrete and you can stand there too.
There were stairs going down to the bottom of the falls, offering this view.
The park also has a large pavilion for events.
It was now almost 9, time for our next attraction. We were treated to a great skyline view on the way!
The frame around the picture tells you what was coming up next. It was time for lunch and we had it in the historic Band Box Diner. There is only one in the whole city, and world! We are lucky to have been able to eat there at all. In March 2015 the 30-year old grill stopped working and they didn’t have enough money to buy a new one. Not to worry though, the customers banded together and raised the funds to buy a NEW GRILL! We are so happy they did, this landmark restaurant is too good to close!
After lunch, time for our biggest attraction for today, Foshay Tower. The W Minneapolis Hotel is also in this building. It has the only sky deck in the Twin Cities for visitors to enjoy, the view is from 30 stories up. For adults not staying there, it’s $8 to go to the sky deck. What a wonderful view! You could see St. Paul, also the Minnesota Twin’s Target Field inside the stands.
By then it was 3:30 and we had until 5, when we went to have dinner with some relatives. A beautiful afternoon with many people there enjoying the day.
On the other side of the bridge you could see the remnants of the former flour-milling era.
Pillsbury and Gold Medal Flour factories
Along the trail are also free viewing scopes that kids really enjoy looking in.
The trail goes by Mill Ruins Park, which is still undergoing development but the first phase is what you see here.
It is also a popular wedding venue, you could see the wedding party taking photos below.
You could also see Mill City Museum from the trail, not enough time to stop there unfortunately. You could see people up there!
A Segway Tour just went by us, they made a turn and went under our part of the trail on the Stone Arch Bridge.
It was time to be on our way. We hear music from a street musician playing on his guitar as we head back.
One thing we noticed about this friendly city, photo shoots! We saw three today, there may have been more we didn’t know about. We had a great day, on Sunday we were going to see some of St. Paul before going back to Madison.
This was a very special weekend at H.H. Bennett Studio, they were celebrating their 150th Anniversary and we had to be a part of it. It was our first time visiting and we were in for a treat! Admission is $7 for adults, but waived on this weekend. They always accept donations. There were costumed interpreters, even Ho-Chunk music and dancing since H.H. Bennett was kind to them and allowed him to photograph them. Just outside of the right-side building is a rotating picture display.
H.H. Bennett was a pioneer in photography, he invented the “snapper” in 1878. You no longer had to sit perfectly still for 5 minutes or more to get a portrait taken. He took pictures all over the Dells with his new technique. His most famous shot was his son Ashley jumping at Stand Rock. It took him 17 tries to get this shot. Bennett’s work helped bring people to the Dells and the tourism industry was born there!
Just before a Dells Boat Tour left the dock, Bennett would take a picture of the group in the boat and have the picture developed and printed by the time the group came back. It took A LOT longer to do the tour in the 1880’s, you had to help row the boat! Now it only takes two hours and the crew does all the work.
Photo by H.H. Bennett
The tradition continues now, we got our picture taken just before the tour we did three days later.
We went inside, you could get many souveniers, including prints of Bennett’s famous photos. The docents near the museum entrance greeted and welcomed us. We knew this was going to be fun! The studio continues to support the Ho-Chunk Nation by selling their jewelery and books.
I hear drums! A couple of representatives of the Ho-Chunk are going to be performing some dance and song for the guests. Two talented children showed us what they have learned so far about their culture’s traditions.
There was much to see inside the museum, new displays and really liked how the older building showed how his studio probably originally looked. Also the history of cameras and what ordinary people used in times past, including myself!
Bennett’s descendants are still involved with the museum today. Betsy Grant, Bennett’s Great-Granddaughter, was on hand to tell us about his many accomplishments. It was great meeting you Betsy!
3-D display using Bennett’s photos
Stereo viewers, precursor to Viewmasters.
The Bennett Studio, and displays inside.
I had my picture taken with H.H. Bennett himself 🙂 Al wasn’t nearby at the time.
On the 2nd floor they showed 40 minutes of silent film that Miriam Bennett shot from the 1920’s through the 60’s. These excerpts are Broadway Street scenes from the 20’s, 50’s and some Ho-Chunk dancing. I added some music to the movies.
We had a great time learning about this great Photographer. Nearby is the house where he lived, on 825 Oak Street. The season for visiting here is usually early May through late October.