Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Sojourn...

St. Paul, Minnesota

This weekend I am on a vacation with the hubby and some good friends in St. Paul, Minnesota, so I thought this would be the prefect time to introduce you all to a really fun place to visit.

Cathedral of St. Paul
St. Paul is located on the banks of the Mississippi River and was named the capital of the Minnesota Territory in 1849.  The original capital was located at Lambert's Landing and was called Pig's Eye after a local tavern of the same name. The Pigs Eye Tavern was run by  Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant; a retired fur trader-turned-bootlegger.  When Father Lucien Galtier, the first Catholic pastor came to the region, establishing the Log Chapel of Saint Paul (shortly thereafter to become the first location of the Cathedral of Saint Paul), he made it known that the settlement was now to be called by that name.  St. Paul also has original Native American burial mounds believed to belong to the Hopwell tribe.  These mounds date back over 2000 years, to put that in perspective, there were still Pharaohs ruling in Egypt.  According to tradition the dead were buried with artifacts. The Hopewell mounds are very distinctive and including burial of the deceased's ashes. Later the Dakota Indians used the same site to bury their dead; wrapping the bodies in animal skins.

The St. Paul Hotel
Now that you know a little of the history of St. Paul lets find a place to stay.  We are staying at the St. Paul Hotel because we are history buffs.  The St. Paul was built in 1910.  Besides being host to the general public the Hotel has had Presidents, international leaders, royalty, gangsters, movie stars, athletes and business leaders among its guests.  It's one of the Historic Hotels of America, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, if you are a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation you can get 10% off your rate when you book on line plus discounts on various attractions nation wide.  The Saint Paul Hotel is listed at the #1 spot for places to stay on Tripadvisor, but if you are looking for something a little less pricey the list features the Best Western Kelly Inn as the #2 place to stay in St. Paul and the County Inn and Suites as the #3 spot.  Both are wonderful for families and feature indoor swimming pools, the Country Inn and Suites also has a water slide but the Best Western allows pets.  A huge bonus to both properties is that they offer complementary parking, that can add up to a big savings you can spend someplace a lot more fun.  Remember to check out the rewards for each of the vendors as well for more savings and freebies.  Both The Best Western Gold Crown Rewards program and the Carlson Club reward you with points for your stay that can be used for additional nights.

Landmark Center
Como Park Conservatory

Since we splurged on our hotel we strived to keep extra expenses to a minimum and found quite a few things that were either free or very inexpensive to keep us all amused.  Most of buildings we wanted to see offer free tours and have quite the history, first is the Landmark Center which is located right across the street from our hotel.  This building was completed in 1902, originally served as the United States Post Office, Court House, and Custom House for the state of Minnesota and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  Next stop is the Minnesota State Capitol, construction started in 1896 and was completed in 1905.  The building features a beautiful rotunda and the golden quadriga (the horse sculpture) which you can go up to the roof to view.  An architecture tour wouldn't be complete without visiting the amazing Cathedral of St. Paul.  The church has spectacular stained glass windows, beautiful shrines, paintings and two fresco's.  The Cathedral welcomes over 200,000 visitors per year and photography is allowed, but please be mindful of mass and other religious services that may be going on at the time.  Finally we decided to visit the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory.  Admission is a suggested $2.00 which is used to house, feed and care for the animals as well as take care of the plants in the Conservatory.  This is a fun place for folks of all ages, they have programs and rides for the kids and relaxing strolls through some of the most beautiful gardens for the adults.  The zoo features a California sea lion exhibit, a big cat display, gorillas, yaks and giraffes. Another great stop is the Science Museum of Minnesota,  they have both adult activities as well as quite a few different children's programs.  Now through September 5th they have an exhibit featuring the treasures of King Tut.  The price for the whole package is $38.00 on weekdays for non members and $43.00 on weekends for non member adults, but you can save a bit by opting out of the Omnimax film about Mummies and the audio tour, this will save you $13.00, which you can use to grab a snack.

Mickey's Dining Car
There are so many different dining options in St. Paul.  We all decided we wanted one dinner that was a little glamorous so we chose Moscow on the Hill, a place that compares to nothing we have back home.  (Blini and Borscht were a must for me.)  Another stop that is a must is Mickey's Dining Car on 7th Street. The diner was designed to resemble the railroad dining cars of the period. It is unique in that it is one of the first diners to be built in the Art Deco style.  Not surprisingly it is also on the National Registry of Historic Places.  Mickey's serves breakfast all day, so any time your in the mood for pancakes stop in and check it our for yourself.

Hope you are all having a great weekend!!


The Blog Entourage



  1. I love Mickey's diner! I know one of my ex's and I used to go there every time we were in the Cities.
    Have fun! Sounds like you have a bunch of fun things planned.

  2. I love me some St Paul... I live about 15 minutes from all you are talking should head down about 10 blocks or so to the St Paul Farmer's is open til 1 today and 8-1 tomorrow! Have fun!


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