Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Visiting Mill Ruins Park

Last weekend I got to practice some local tourism in Minneapolis for a marvelous, unexpected window.

Josh needed to go into work for a couple of hours before we met our friends at Medicine Lake, so rather than driving separately later, I decided to go with him and visit the Mill City Farmers Market while he was in the office. I've always wanted to check out this farmers market but in past summers had been doing long runs on Saturday mornings when it's open, so it never worked out.

The market is next to the Guthrie Theatre, with many of the vendors in the Mill City Museum's historic train shed. I got there at 11 a.m. (too late for blueberries!) and there was a great crowd. I liked wandering through a farmers market in a new-to-me place.

I've been picking up a bouquet of flowers at the farmers market (usually the St. Paul one) most weekends this summer, so although it wasn't entirely practical given that day's upcoming trip to the lake, I still had my eye out for flowers. At one table, I noticed a bouquet composed entirely of snapdragons of all colors, and any sense of practicality flew out the window.

I liked my market visit a lot, but here's where the true little adventure begins: I decided to amble back to Target Field (and maybe the main Minneapolis Farmers Market) the long way, via the river parkway. I walked down the street toward Mill Ruins Park, across the street from the Mill City Museum. Just for fun, because I wasn't in any hurry, I wandered a few steps into the park and saw a new view of the museum and theatre right away:

And then I noticed that people were walking on paths way below the ruins and the Stone Arch Bridge. (I think I really said "What!?" out loud, followed by "How did they get there?!") Cradling the huge bouquet of snapdragons in one arm a tad awkwardly, I followed the sidewalk around the corner toward the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, an area I had previously thought was restricted.

And all of a sudden, I found myself almost literally under the Stone Arch Bridge...

...and then literally under the Stone Arch Bridge!

I've run over the Stone Arch Bridge many times, but always with a focus on getting across and turning left to make my way back to St. Paul (or admiring the skyline at bridge level). I had no idea it was possible to wander under the bridge's first few arches. The museum, theatre and "Gold Medal Flour" sign are an iconic view of Minneapolis, and it was pretty amazing to be gifted with an entirely different perspective.

I love being caught by surprise like this in a place I thought I knew well.

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