Mystery Cave, Forestville State Park, Preston, MN

Mystery Cave, Forestville State Park, 21071 Co Hwy 118, Preston, MN 55965

Once you have explored the rest of Forestville State Park or perhaps before make sure you visit Mystery Cave.  Take a tour.

Mystery Cave 17

Grab your jacket because the cave is always about 48 degrees, or something like that.  It is also wet so be prepared for that.  I was dripped upon several times.  You can bring your children, but make sure they are well behaved.  You wouldn’t want to lose one.

Mystery Cave 13

History, a trip through the caves is a trip throw history.  The layers of the cave are made up of sediment from when the oceans used to cover Minnesota.  Let me repeat myself here, the ocean used to cover Minnesota, but not just one time.  You see the ocean recedes for a while and then comes back again over the over again, layer after layer.  We are currently in one of those receding periods.

Mystery Cave 8

There are little bats in the cave, but nothing to worry about.  In fact we are more of a threat to them than they are to us.  Apparently there is some sort of bat disease that is killing the bats.  This is rather unfortunate as these bats eat half their body weight in mosquitoes each night.  Bats are cool.

This cave has stalagmites and stalactites.  Water seeps into the cave and as it drips it creates these formations.  The stalactites are at the top and the stalagmites are on the bottom.

Mystery Cave 11

As the water makes its way down through the cave floor it slowly becomes ground water.  Unfortunately there are so many chemicals on the ground these days that the water isn’t drinkable anymore.  Wrap your head around that for a moment.  We are slowly poisoning our own drinking supplies.

Mystery Cave 14

Now for those with a bit more adventure in them there are crawling tours.  It is just down that corridor.

Mystery Cave 15

I prefer the path more traveled and well lit myself.

Mystery Cave 7

There is a little treat if you want to call it that.  At one point in the tour they turn off all of the lights and you get a sense of what it is like to be unable to see at all.  It isn’t a darkness you have ever known on the surface, not even on the darkest night.

The cave is great.  Plenty of interesting things to see.  You might even get a look at one of those tiny bats.  Pay attention to the tour guide.  The history lesson is worth the time even if your are as much of a scaredy-cat as I am.

Forestville Mystery Cave State Park, Preston, MN

Forestville Mystery Cave State Park, 21071 Co Hwy 118, Preston, MN 55965

Forestville has it all camping, hiking, horseback riding (bring your own, I think), and even a cave.

The park is in two sections.  One section has the main part of the park where you will find the majority of the trails, the fishing area, the old Meighen Store, and fishing.  This is a great place to catch a trout apparently.

Forestville State Park 40

The Meighen store is across the bridge that is out, pedestrians only these days.  Plenty of people try their had at fishing along the stream that runs under that bridge.  Take a look around.

Forestville State Park 51

There is a pretty good trail just across the bridge.  It will get your heart racing if you take it very far, but the view from the lookout is nice.  Most of the trails seem to be both hiking and horses so watch your step.

Forestville State Park 16

You can rent a cabin and stay in the park.  Take a few days and enjoy as much of the park as you can.  It is a rather large park.  We explored a good portion of two days.

Forestville State Park 64

When you have your fill of the main area of the park you can head over to the gem of the park Mystery Cave.  Yes, the cave has bats, but they are cute little bats that eat the mosquitoes in the area which is great.

Mystery Cave 7

I highly suggest checking out Mystery Cave.  Take a tour.  Reserve your spot.  Enjoy the dark and most importantly the trip through time.

Jailhouse Inn, Preston, MN

Jailhouse Inn, 109 Houston St NW, Preston, MN 55965

Jail House Inn 54

Spending the night in jail is not necessarily the worst thing that could happen to you.  Well, as long as your stay is in Preston at the Jailhouse Inn.

The inn is an old court house with actual jail cells that were converted into a single room.  The old courtroom is another room.  You can stay in the old living quarters of the sheriff.  Some rooms are a bit more special than others and harder to rent.

Jail House Inn 7

We stayed in the Sun Room.  I had plenty of windows.  Some of the rooms on the second floor have access to a balcony that you can sit on and rock away.

Jail House Inn 13

Jail House Inn 23

You can check in between 3-6.  There are a lot of great bike paths around this area.  You can also go hiking or fishing or golfing or check out the Amish community.  Trout seems to be the fish off choice in the area.

We went hiking in Forestville State Park.  It isn’t for the easing going hiker.  You can go a short while on an easy path, but most of the paths seem to be horse trails and they go up and down the hillside.

In another part of the park you can see Mystery Cave.  If you are lucky you might even see a few bats.  The bats are very small.  The cave is a constant 48 degrees so bring a jacket.

Jail House Inn 58

At the end of the stay or each morning you will receive a wonderful breakfast.  The eating area is downstairs.  There are plenty of tables for you and your friends.  They serve fresh fruit and a platter with hot food.  We ended up getting an cheesy omelet and herb potatoes and ham.  It was delicious and very pretty.

Jail House Inn 61

Crossroads Delicatessen, Hopkins, MN

Crossroads Delicatessen, 2795 Hedberg Dr, Hopkins, MN 55305

Crossroads Delicatessen is a Jewish deli and it is delightful.  It helps if you are about fifty, but they do not card at the door so enjoy.  It reminds me of my grandmother for some reason.  It is just good old fashioned food, yum.

When you walk in the door there are items that you can buy to the left.  Wait to be seated and you will be taken into the dining hall on the right.  There are two eating areas that I could see.  You will find some booths and some tables.

I ordered a cream soda.  Specifically Dr. Browns cream soda.  It was pretty good.

Cross Roads 7

They start you off with bread and butter.  They bring a variety of breads:  white, wheat, and rye.  I took the white and having bread and butter really took me back.  It is such a simple thing, but also amazing because the bread is fresh baked, not something sitting on the shelf.  Yes, absolute joy from simple bread and butter.

Cross Roads 4

I then ordered the beef n’ borscht because why not?  It smells funny (cabbage) , but wow, the beef was so tender, the sauce was tangy.  It all tastes so good.  I do not think that I have ever had borscht before, but I have to say it reminded me if eating a meal with my grandmother.  They were going for this feeling and the nailed it.  Delicious.

Cross Roads, Borscht

Everything is priced very reasonably.  It is really a great place.  The crowd is older, but they know what good food tastes like.  I really like this place.  I think you will too.

A3 Red Blend

A3 Merlot

A3 Merlot 1

Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone that is the A3 red blend.  This is a California blend designed for Anyone to drink Anytime and Anywhere.

Needless to say I liked this particular wine.  It isn”t offensive in anyway.  It is just a very drinkable wine.  It doesn’t have the dryness of merlots or the oddness of pinot noir.  It isn’t super sweet.  It just is good.

Should you serve this to guests, yes.  Any guest should enjoy this wine.  It will not overly impress that guest, but anyone else will enjoy it.

I will give this one a 4/5.  A high 4 out of 5.

Snuffy’s Malt Shop, Minnetonka, MN

Snuffy’s Malt Shop, 17519 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka, MN 55345

“I just can’t find a great, old fashioned, malt and burger shop.  You know the kind that existed back in the 50’s with great burgers, fries, and shakes.”

“Have you tried Snuffy’s?”

Snuffy’s is the place that you dream about.  The burgers are good and greasy and not too big.  One order of fries is all you need for both of you.  The malts are amazing.  The half is perfectly adequate.  I cannot even imagine what a full shake is like.  You can choose from tons of flavors.  I stick with strawberry.  It is my favorite.

Snuffy's 6

Did I mention the fries.  The single is plenty for two.  The family will feed your whole family.  The fries are so good, perfection really.

Snuffy's fries

Pick your burger.  Choose a single or a double.  The Snuffy burger is really goo with its lettuce, tomato, bacon, and choice of cheese (cheddar, why would you get anything else).  You can build your own or add toppings as you like.

Snuffy's burger

There are others items to order as well, sandwiches and such.  Soups and salads.  Sodas, Sundaes, and Floats to boot.  You could order any of these items, but why when you can order a burger, fries, and a malt?

Snuffy’s can be a little difficult to get into right away, but it is worth a little wait, not too long.  Minutes really.  Just sit down and wait, really.

Fort Snelling State Park, Saint Paul, MN

Fort Snelling State Park, 101 55111, Lakeview Ave, St Paul, MN 55120

Looking for a park and a piece of history than look no further than Fort Snelling State Park.  Located near the Saint Paul airport you can watch the big metal birds fly by among other birds, real ones.  This is actually a great place for bird watching.

There are a couple of paths that you can take.  You can walk along the east side of the fort.  Stare up at the great walls and imagine manning such a fort.

Fort Snelling Wall

Anther option is walking up the hill and actually checking out the fort.  It is only open during certain times of the year, but the outside is quite nice.

Fort Snelling Feb 2016 7 Fort Snelling Feb 2016 10

You have the option of walking around the island.  Stolling around Pike Island is a pretty good walk when it isn’t too wet.  This path is along the Mississippi River on one side and the Minnesota River on the other side.  There is a cut across if the walk is too far.

There is plenty of picnic areas and places to go fishing.  Watch the boats go by.  Check out Snelling Lake on your way in.  There is a lot to do at this park.  You can even go bike riding.

Thai Curry House, Burnsville, MN

Thai Curry House, Burnsville, MN

Thai Curry House storefront

The Thai Curry House on 13 in Burnsville, that other part of Burnsville, is amazing.  It sits in a strip mall near a pool hall.  You won’t think much of it from the outside, but the inside is very nice.

Thai Curry House 17

Above it the display as you enter.  You do not get to sit there, but the seats are okay.  They are basic tables and chairs.

You wait to be seated unless you are getting takeout then walk straight to the back.  Good luck calling.  If you are lucky enough to be able to order their takeout is the way I like to go.

Eating there can be nice.  The presentation is very nice.  They ask you how hot you want it 1 -5.  5 means 5, no Minnesota weak.  Your nose will run.  Everyone is sniffing so it is not a big deal.

Thai Curry House 3

The Tom Tom soup is very good.  I asked for a 5 on that.  The second sip hit the back of my throat and nearly killed me, but yum, so good.  Their curry has milk in it, beware.  I cannot remember if it is actual milk or soy milk, but it is creamy.

Thai Curry House 13

You can add whatever meat you want with your dish.  I like the drunken noodles the most.  Find your favorite.

Thai Curry House 4

Did I happen to mention that this is the second best restaurant in Burnsville?  Second only to Porter Creek which is possibly the best restaurant in the twin cities.  The food is high quality at the Thai House.  At least the chicken is.  The duck wasn’t the greatest.  Enjoy.

Drunken Noodles, Thai Curry House 3

Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan, MN

Lebanon Hill Regional Park, 860 Cliff Road, Eagan, MN 55123

I have found 3 entrances to this park.  The first is straight down (south) Lexington Avenue, you can’t miss it.  Literally, it is the end the Lexington Avenue.  The next is along Pilot Knob just south of Cliff road.  The 3rd is along Cliff road past Lexington Avenue.

Lebenon Hills visitor center

I like the 3rd entrance.  It is near the visitor center which is nice.  The roof is interesting.  I have seen people swimming in the lake near the visitor center.  I do not think there is a life guard, but have a great time.

Lebenon Hills 1Lebenon 05.29.2016 015

In the city of Eagan Lebanon Hills is the best park for trail walking or riding.  You can hike.  You can ride bikes.  You can ride horses.  There are even winter activities is you are that sort.

Lebenon Hills 7

It can get a bit muddy at times, but overall these trails are pretty nice.  You might find a friendly frog along the way.  There is plenty of water to view..  You might stop at one of the picnic tables along the trail.  These trails are also the best marked trails in Minnesota as far as I can tell.

Lebenon April 2015 12

If you need to get in a couple of miles or even longer this is the park for you.  The is plenty to do next to edges as well.  I often see people fishing, both ice fishing and regular fishing.  Personally I just like to watch the ducks.

Lebanon Hills 2014 (10)