Tag Archive | Mississippi River

St. Paul – Capitol of Minnesota


Our last day in town, we elected to have breakfast in St. Paul so we left before sunrise.  One great thing we learned about this city, FREE PARKING on Sundays.  Enjoy this video as we go to St. Paul.

We  explored a bit of downtown before breakfast. It sure is pretty at dawn. The Minnesota Children’s Museum.


Palace Theater, undergoing renovation.

Palace Theater St. Paul

Park Square Theater for live performances.


We discovered we were right next to Hamm Building, the founder of Hamm’s  Beer. There was  a marker across from the building. One of the many commercials.

Hamm Bear monument

Hamm's Beer history

We had breakfast at Mickey’s Dining Car, a historic landmark in St. Paul.

Mickey's Dining Car Collage

Inside Mickey's Diner Car

Quite a delicious breakfast, we finished at about 7:30. Our next stop was the Capitol. On the way we found the Fitzgerald Theater, where A Prairie Home Companion radio show takes place. We listen to that show!  How great to finally see it.

Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul

The Capitol building was not far from here, right now it is undergoing some renovations.

IMinnesota Capitol in St. Paul

A closeup of the gold decoration on the building. The sign says “Minnesota”.

Minnesota Capitol decoraion

And on top of the Capitol.

Capitol Dome top

We further explored the grounds, most other government buildings are here near the Capitol. The Minnesota History Center.

Minnesota History Center

The beautiful Cathedral of St. Paul is close to here as well. I could see it from the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis.

Cathedral of St. Paul

Minnesota State Office Building

Minnesota State Office Building

State Veteran Service Building

State Veteran Service Building in St. Paul

Also many memorials and monuments.  A statue of Leif Erikson near the Capitol.

Leif Erikson statue in St. Paul

Outside of the Veterans building is a display of large boulders, each engraved with an excerpt from a letter written by a vet during their tour of duty. Very touching.

Veteran Stones Memorial inn St. Paul

A timeline to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, dedicated in 2000.

Woman's Suffrage Movement timeline monument

We got done exploring here and went back downtown to see more. The Landmark Center, formerly the courthouse.  Now it is a center for performances and special events throughout the year.  It has an ice skating rink outside in the winter.

Landmark Center in St. Paul

A castle stand up display in park by the center.

Castle Display by Landmark Center

The Hamm Building we saw a bit of earlier.

Hamm Building

A couple of the fine businesses in the Hamm Building is the Meritage restaurant.  Also Landmark Jewelers and Heimie’s Haberdashery.

Meritage Restaurant in St. Paul

Landmark Jewelers and Heimie's Haberdashery in St. Paul

See those heads in the picture?  There are metal Peanuts™ characters in this downtown area. Lets see a few more, I didn’t get all of them.

Peanuts in St. Paul

We finished exploring downtown and headed to another neighborhood called “Lowertown“.  It’s a historic neighborhood with an upbeat atmosphere and a beautiful square-shaped park called Mears Park. A former warehouse district, it now the “in” place to live and work.

Lowertown clock

Lowertown HistoryLowertown function of Form marker

Mears Park

Mears Park Pavillion

Mears Park brook

Many delightful business in and around the square.  It was a nice warm morning and people were eating alfresco at The Buttered Tin.

The Buttered Tin in St. Paul

Barrío Tequila Bar and Food

Barrio in Lowertown

Public Kitchen and Bar

Public Kitchen and Bar in St. Paul

Faces bistro

Faces in Lowertown

After exploring Mears Park and the square we enjoyed lunch at The Bulldog. The food was wonderful and I could see why they are a popular place to go, especially on game day.  A Minnesota Vikings game was beginning at noon and it played on the many TVs while we ate.  Thankfully we weren’t wearing Green Bay Packer clothes that day, we would have received a few side-eyed glances  🙂

The Bulldog restaurant in Lowertown

The Bulldog inside

After lunch we stopped to see one last attraction before heading back home.  We enjoyed some great views of the city and water on The Mississippi River Trail.  It is a trail that spans 800 miles with the start point at Itaska State Park.

This trail has many interesting views. On the right is the St. Paul Municipal Elevator and Sackhouse.  It has been restored and you can go inside, its HUGE! There are signs inside describing its history.

Mississippi River Trail and Municipal Elevator

View from the other side.

St. Paul Municipal Elevator and Sackhouse

Inside Municipal Elevator in St. Paul

Across the Mississippi you can also see the river boats to go on cruises.  This is the Padelford Riverboats Landing where you can choose your boat ride.

Padelford Boat Landing in St. Paul

The Jonathan Padelford Paddleboat in St. Paul

Enjoy a view of the skyline and all the activity in this vibrant city. The First National Bank‘s “1st” on top of the building is visible for 20 miles at night and 75 miles in the air.  We saw it on our arrival in the morning, flashing red (see video at top of page).

St. Paul Skyline from Mississippi River Trail

First National Bank 1st

And from here our trip is concluded, 1:40 PM and time to go back home.  It was a fun trip and it was great seeing family too.  We are glad you could join us for the last 3 days.

Thanks for Visiting Minnesota erase


Dubuque – Iowa’s First City!

August 4 and 5, 2014  Day 1

Dubuque is a moderately large city of 58,000 with a rich history. It’s located on the banks of the Mississippi with both Illinois and Wisconsin visible across the river.  We entered the city crossing on the Wisconsin bridge, or Julien Dubuque Bridge.

Wisconsin Bridge into Dubuque

After crossing, we went left, heading to the Julien Dubuque Monument at Mines of Spain.  It is in a large natural area with many paths and a “water trail” to canoe on kayak on. We got oriented at the E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center and found a two-sided historic marker.

E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center in Dubuque

Dubuque Mines of Spain marker

Historic Dubuque Marker


We got maps and directions to the Julien Dubuque monument and these are the coordinates of the parking lot closest to it, it was a bit difficult to find since we are not familiar with the area.

N42° 28.124       W090° 38.904

After parking, be sure to take this trail entrance, it is not marked real well.  Here is a map.

Dubuque Monument trailhead


Another burial site is found here, Mesquaki Indian Chief Peosta. He was a friend of Julien Dubuque.

Peosta, Fiend of Dubuque

 And now we come upon the monument itself.  Inside is the grave, behind protective bars.

Julien Dubuque Monument


Julien Dubuque gravesite

Surrounding Dubuque are many high bluffs, offering great views of the city below and the river. This was our first view, from a distance.  There is a considerable amount of train traffic here, the routes on both side of the river go alongside to minimize city traffic interference. You can see a train in this view. The train actually went right by us below. here it is approaching us.

Bubuque view from Mines of Spain lookout

CP Train Dubuque IowaAfter taking in this great site, we went to see a popular “ride” in Dubuque, the Fenelon Place Elevator. This is the view from the bottom in Cable Car Square downtown.  When it was put into operation on July 25, 1882 it was privately owned by J.K. Graves. It wasn’t long before neighbors were asking for a ride down too and by 1884 he did let them, for 5 cents a ride. Today the round trip is $3.   Drove to the top of the bluff to see another overlook at the station house above.  It was fun watching the cable cars go up and down.

Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque


Fenelon Place Elevator South Deck in DubuqueLet’s watch the ride!

What an incredible view of the city! This view is downtown, looking towards the Town Clock.

Dubuque Clock Tower view

And looking back towards the Wisconsin bridge that we came over.

Dubuque View of Wisconsin bridge

 After enjoying the view we headed down to the Welcome Center on 300 Main St. Ste. 100. This is the place to go to pick up info in Iowa, Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Also souveniers!

Dubuque Visitors Center

Dubuque Welcome Center

 We were getting a bit hungry for lunch at this point (clock said 12:00 PM), so we decided to have our picnic at Eagle Point Park.  It is high atop another part of the bluff offering a great view of the Mississippi River and Lock and Dam #11.  If you drive in like we did, $1 admission. Walking in or biking is free.  They have many buildings on site that people can rent for events, many use stone in their construction.

Dubuque Eagle Point Park buildings

This is the majestic view of Lock and Dam #11.  Looking to the right from here, you could see the Illinois bridge.

Lock and Dam #11 Dubuque

 It was amazing, having three views of the city from high above in one day. Helped us learn where the landmarks are a lot faster.  After lunch, it was time to see the Mathias Ham House which is near the park. On site is also the oldest log cabin in Dubuque County, from 1827. They were not open on Monday.  No photos are allowed inside during the tour also.

Mathias Ham House Dubuque


1827 Log Cabin in Dubuque

Dubuque Log House plaque

This was a great park for our little siesta. We went downtown and found many beautiful historic buildings from the 1800’s. Storm clouds were gathering though, and they hit just at we arrived at Lot One for dinner. This building and the block that it’s in is historic also.  This was the first platted block in Dubuque.

Lot One restaurant in Dubuque

Lot One plaque


On Tuesday morning we ate at Jorja’s, which is not downtown.  It is located on 3130 Jackson St. Their motto is “Homestyle Cooking with Homestyle Prices”. Jorja Moore is the owner and is also well versed on Dubuque history. She told us about the H & W Brewery building next door. Lunch was wonderful too!

Jorja's Restaurant in Dubuque


They made us feel welcome here, as did all the people we encountered today.  We especially enjoyed our night’s stay at the Days Inn at 1111 Dodge St. It is only a couple miles from downtown and they had a wonderful breakfast the next morning. For only $57, we had a pleasant stay in Dubuque on a budget. The next day, we finished exploring downtown and also went to Ice Harbor.

Days Inn Dubuque