A Four Day Weekend – ?!

So last weekend Chris and I lucked into a 4-day weekend. It was a most unusual occurrence and only happened thanks to serendipity, my kindly boss, and generous co-workers. On Thursday, Chris got off at 10 am as he was post-call. He slept until early evening, at which point we set off for… the casino!!!

We didn’t just go for the gambling – the jingle of slots, the smoke-drenched ceilings, the strange combination of normal folks and ne’er-do-wells  that mingle at these places – no, we went for the food! We enjoyed the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet: endless crab legs and a delicious round of Mongolian barbecue. Then Chris went off to play blackjack, and I turned our $50 in free slots into approximately $30 of winnings. I came out ahead, really! Here’s a shot of Chris with his chips:

The next morning I had lemon cheese pancakes… I know they sound bizarre but they were sooo tasty with blueberry syrup. Then Chris played some more blackjack. He didn’t lose any money and got 3 hours of free entertainment!

Afterwards we headed up to a bluff above Red Wing and played a disc golf course. We’d tried it once before but had never finished it.  Here’s a pic of us on the bluff above Red Wing:

We continued on our way, hitting the Falconer and Cannon Falls wineries along the way. We are working on filling up our passport on the Great River Road Wine Trail (http://www.greatriverroadwinetrail.org). The Falconer had tasty pizza, and Cannon Falls is adorable. I’d only ever seen the 52 side of town, but there’s a very nice downtown as well. Here’s a picture with my pizza on the nice deck at Falconer.

We continued into the Cities where we stayed at the Doubletree, aka “The Dark Tower.” We had a snazzy dinner at Chili’s. When you don’t live in a city with a Chili’s you take it when you can!!!

The next day we headed to the Ren Fest with one of my high school friends, Jesselyn and her hubby. I haven’t seen her in over 10 years, since she was my chem lab partner. We had a great time, although the RenFest took twice as long to get to. Since last year they’ve turned a big chunk of the parking lot into Le Quarry. It’s more of a pilgrimage than it was before. But once there we saw all the best stuff- glass shows, turtles pulling carts, pickle vendors, and all kinds of tasty food. Here’s a shot of our “band of pilgrims”…

I decided to do something different and got my hair braided… I liked it!!! I was worried about not washing my hair for a few days, but I could totally get into this! If only I had the hand coordination… or patience… 

After the Renfest, we had dinner with our friends at Brasa, an upscale BBQ-type place with tasty meat and sides.  The next morning we had brunch at the Lowry. Peanut butter waffle for me, huevos rancheros for Chris – if you are in Minneapolis, you have to brave the wait and try this “urban diner”!! Then we headed home by way of a few more wineries along the Great River Road Wine Trail, including one in Prescott, a cidery in Maiden Rock, the Villa Belleza winery, and finally a stop at the Flour Mill in Wabasha. 

Here’s a shot of me on the tire swing at the cidery where we tried a bunch of different delicious ciders. As a Woodchuck fan, this place blew me away. Delicious! 

Our weekend was fantastic but ended on a slightly sad note as we found out my favorite small town book shop, Book Cliffs in Wabasha, has closed. It’s always sad to lose a local bookstore to the inevitable march of Amazon. I found some crazy random amazing books at that store and am sorry to see it go.

Why two posts in one day? Well, we are heading away soon on another funtastic vacation. Then we’ll buckle down to work and school and church and Bible study… I promise. But it’s summer and we are going to drink it all in (literally!) Hope you are having a good end-of-summer as well!  

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