I was about three years old when I saw my first train depot. I remember staring in wonder at the vapor clouds spewing off those gigantic locomotives in the Minnesota winter while a couple, seemingly oblivious to the outside world and acutely aware that their parting may be for a long, long, time, hugged and kissed and hugged and kissed.
But for me the awe was for that giant shed of ironwork and glass, the silver rails, the growling iron beasts waiting for departure from the Milwaukee Road Depot on Washington Avenue in Minneapolis.
Looking back, I can see that the place was pretty mundane compared to the grand railway stations of the world. Even by American standards it wasn’t much, but I would only learn that later. At the time I thought traveling by train was the greatest adventure imaginable, and part of that wonder was due to the grand spaces where trains began and ended their journeys, where passengers boarded and disembarked. Continue reading »
The appeal of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul may get lost in the crush of politicians and delegates this week, but the region has everything one could want in a major urban area, and a lot more. I’m biased, of course, because I grew up there and visit every summer and feel I know the place well. But former Minneapolis Star Tribune Travel Editor Catherine Watson knows it better than I do. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times she presents a menu of best options for a quick visit. If you have more time, get on a bicycle and cycle along the Mississippi River, or around the Chain of Lakes and along Minnehaha Creek to Minnehaha Falls. Or, compare some of the cities’ fine parks, as I did in an essay from a visit a few years ago, “A Tale of Two Parks.” Continue reading »