A Weekend Getaway

If there are two things that Missy and I love, it’s travelling and taking pictures; two things that seemingly go hand-in-hand. Case-in-point: on our Italian Honeymoon, we came home with almost twelve-hundred pictures. That may seem like a lot to some, but for us, that’s just the way we roll.

So you can imagine our surprise when arrived home on Monday night from our three-day-weekend-getaway to the twin cities and realized that a) we didn’t even bring our camera, but neither of us had even realized it or were really that bummed about it, and b) we only ended up with a baker’s dozen worth of pictures on my phone camera after three full days of escapades. That must mean something…now if only we knew what…

The premise of our weekend getaway was simple:

  1. Shop ‘til you Drop.
  2. Eat Local. 
  3. Sleep In.

All pressure free and guilt free, without feeling the need to rush home to tend to our babies.

• • • • •

Day one started early…on the road by seven after a tearful goodbye (full disclosure: we wanted to be out before the girls even awoke), we began our four-hour road trip before the sun rose. At the recommendation of many, we stopped in Ames for breakfast at a local eatery known as The Café. A hearty biscuits and gravy breakfast for him and delectable pancakes and bacon meal for her was just what we needed to sustain us for the long-haul.

Making great time, we arrived in Bloomington before noon and made a bee line straight for the MOA (local slang for Mall of America, don’cha know). We parked our sleigh and hit the sales; American Apparel, H&M, Urban Outfitters…we began to lay the groundwork for stores we knew we wanted to spend more time in Sunday (and casually sipping our coffee while we strolled, natch).

Breaking for lunch, we worked our way up to the top floor, and by pure chance, guess who we ran into? None other than our good pals Eric & Kelsey, who were just finishing up their lunch and getting ready to head across the street to IKEA…awesome! We chatted for a few minutes while comparing our loot {Kels and Miss bought matching sweaters at H&M :-)} before letting them continue their quest (they made the marathon round trip from Iowa to IKEA and the MOA in just one day…insane!)

Meanwhile, we took in a leisurely lunch ourselves before wandering mega mall the rest of the afternoon. Checking into our hotel (literally a stones throw from the mall) we took in some football, napped, and chatted before getting ready for our first evening out. It’s a standing rule that where ever we go, we make it a point to experience the most local, yet best tasting meals we can find. Yes, we do run the risk of ending up somewhere regrettable, yet more often than not we end with a good meal, a great story, and memories to last a lifetime.

When you’re in the twin cities, “most local and best tasting” means one thing: a Juicy Lucy. Rather than dining in one of the two spots that claimed their Juicy as “the original,” we opted to take a different approach and ended up at a local St. Paul spot on everyone’s hot list called The Blue Door Pub. After a 40-minute wait (nothing compared to Kuma in Chicago) outside in the brisk evening air found us seated in the window looking out onto a blustery Selby Ave. The pub was everything we could ever want: diverse crowd (read: people watching galore), a few TV’s showing the big game, and incredible food. This HAD to be documented. Yet of all times, my phone remained charging peacefully back at our hotel room. So we busted out Missy’s aging flip-phone {complete with malfunctioning/completely dark main-screen} pushed some buttons and hoped for the best…

…that’s it…I think can hear the shutter sound…


{Magically, the screen worked once again the following morning. The pictures didn’t turn out THAT bad, right?}

The Blue Door is known for their Blue Cheese Juicy Lucy (called the Original Blucy), but I opted for the “Breakfast Blucy,” a Juicy Lucy with cheddar and bacon, all topped with a fried egg. We split a basket of fried cheese curds while we waited (don’t judge). The meal arrived, and let me tell you: it was nothing short of amazing. Everyone has their own opinion of “best burger,” but do yourself a favor and check this place out next time you visit the twin cities. Too full to move, we let our meal settled and called it an evening shortly afterwards.

• • • • •

Day two was much like the first (minus the four hour drive), full of sleeping, shopping, and eating. And of course, the obligatory photo with Dora and “Backpack” for the kids 😉

Upon our return to the hotel for the afternoon, I was still not satisfied with my haul (or lack-there-of) thus-far, so after an hour of internal debate, I ran back to the mall while Missy napped. Two more work shirts and one flannel later (much to Missy’s chagrin), I was much more content ;-).

Our destination for the evening was to a sports bar called the Bulldog Northeast in Minneapolis proper to take in the Ravens/Steelers primetime clash. At the recommendation of our waitress, we split the Fried Chicken and Waffles…and while we can’t say that the “Fried Chicken served on two Belgian Waffles topped with a Bacon-Infused Maple Syrup” is something that we’d ever order again, it was tremendously flavorful and certainly something I could never order back in Des Moines. However, the beef brisket nachos we shared prior to our meal were out of this world, and the atmosphere was the definition of everything a sports bar should be.

• • • • •

We had one goal in mind and for Day Three: Conquer IKEA.

It’s a good thing we spent a few hours walking the showrooms on Sunday as well, because IKEA – Twin Cities has hundreds of thousands of overwhelming square feet filled with everything you could ever want for your home…and more. So it’s suffice to say that even if we had another week to spare, that store would never be conquered.

However, we did manage one huge accomplishment: successfully plan out our new kitchen! While we could have easily done this at home using IKEA’s online kitchen planner, being there in-store to actually see the selections I was making was a total game-changer! It probably saved several hours of guess work and indecision, especially on my part.

After almost five hours in-store (over two of them in the kitchen section alone)…we called it quits, made our purchases (toys for the girls, mostly), and solidified our lists of other “house items” to purchase upon future return journeys. I have a feeling we will be making quite a few trips in the months to come…

We departed for home immediately after loading the car. The trip was uneventful as we relaxed and reflected upon our amazing weekend. We sure missed being with the girls, but getting the chance to unwind and reconnect with each other was exactly what the doctor ordered…

…and we’re ever so thankful to have the opportunity to take weekend getaways like these 🙂

This entry was posted in Travel by Tom Hardinge. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

8 thoughts on “A Weekend Getaway

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