Tag Archives: MN

Wilderness Bay Resort, Park Rapids, MN

Wilderness Bay Resort, 36701 Wilderness Bay Dr, Park Rapids, MN 56470

We were looking for a place close to Itasca State Park to stay and Jon found Wilderness Bay Resort.  It was fairly easy to find.  It consists of family friendly cabins.  Most visitors are return guests.

The owner that was on staff while we were there has a hard time getting around so you need to give her time to get to you.  We checked in and were handed the keys to our cabin.

Bedroom at Wilderness Bay Resort

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it was really pretty nice inside.  Ours was a two bedroom (small), with a nice big living room and a convenient kitchen area.  You are expected to clean up after yourself before you leave.  I think I killed over a dozen flies in that place, but they do provide the fly swatter.

Living Room at Wilderness Bay Resort
Kitchen at Wilderness Bay Resort

This resort seems to be about fishing since it is on a lake.  There is a place where you can clean your fish.  They have life jackets and you can rent equipment.  There were some paddle boats available that we almost took for a spin, but then didn’t.

There was enough room between neighbors that we didn’t feel crowded.  it is the type of place my parents would have taken us as kids.

The view from the enclosed porch was nice.  There was a grill and a fire pit available.  The porch even had a table and chairs so you could eat out there if you didn’t want to eat inside.

View of fish house from our porch

It was a very sweet and laid back place to stay.  If you have kids, want to go fishing, or want to stay at a small cabin near Itasca State Park, Wilderness Bay Resort is a good choice.

Soudan Underground Mine State Park, Soudan, MN

Soudan Underground Mine State Park, Soudan, MN

A miner for a day!  Ok, about an hour, maybe less, but they gave me a hard hat, and that is what I appreciate about the Soudan Mine.  I am not sure anyone over eighteen has ever been so excited about riding down an elevator shaft, deep into the ground, to take a cart further into the Earth, and walk around a hollowed out piece of rock.

Somehow it isn’t that scary.  Even though you are deep in the Earth, it’s probably one of the safest mines that you could go into.  They call it the Cadillac of mines.  The ore is high quality and there aren’t those dangerous patches of gases and such that you have to watch out for in other mines.

A look inside the Soudan Mine, it’s a dark one

The underground tour is a must see.  It is super informative.  If you have kids you should definitely take them for this educational tour.  They have small hats for the little ones.  You do have to give the hats back at the end of the tour.  You can reserve your spot so that you don’t have to wait, or at least know that you will get onto the tour.  We reserved a spot and then ended up swapping it for an earlier tour.

Once you finish the tour, or before you go, you need to explore the above ground operation at the mine.  You can observe the cable operator at work.  He is the guy that will raise or lower you into the mine.  They use a system of clicking to know how far down to send you.  The machine is amazing to watch.

Going Down?

Once you see the cable at work you can follow it outside and view the large cable that heads up over your head.  There are a few other buildings around the property that you will want to see.  You can see where they break up the ore and pile it below.

Chew them up and spit them out, Soudan Mine Grinder building

I like the machine shop sign.  It seems very appropriate.  It reads, If you are injured, no matter how little, tell your foreman, right away.  There is a little sign under it that reads, Save your eyes, wear goggles.

If you are injured sign at the Soudan Mine

There are some beautiful flowers around the property as well.  Really, head up the Soudan, MN and visit the mine.  Take the tour and enjoy.


Stony Ridge Cafe, Ely MN

Stony Ridge Cafe, 60 W Lakeview Pl, Ely, MN 55731

It was totally worth it.

I think we went the wrong way.  We headed down a road that seemed residential.  I half expected the Stony Ridge Cafe to just be someone’s personal kitchen.  The sight of a real restaurant at the end of journey allowed us to breath a sigh of relief and filled us with a tinge of excitement.

The view is pretty nice as well.  You will have to see it for yourself.

The menu is simple.  You have your choice of burgers and fries.  One of the burgers is a ridiculous size.   The regular ones are kind of ridiculous as well.  It tastes amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone.

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)

Andiamo – Eagan, MN

Andiamo – 1629 Lena Ct #100, Eagan, MN 55122

Andiamo is an Italian restaurant and arguably the best restaurant in all of Eagan, or at least the southern side of Eagan.  Very few great restaurants are located in Eagan, MN.  Restaurants on the southern side of Eagan have a hard time making it, but Andiamo is always a happening place.

The seating is a little odd.  There are many half booths around the walls.  One side is a booth and the other side is a set of chairs.  It is often too loud to hear in the restaurant.  The last time we went we ended up in a corner booth and that wasn’t an issue.

I love the chicken andiamo.  Those capers in combination with the bacon and chicken are amazing.

chicken andiamo

The food is very good.  Sure you are paying for Italian food, but the sauces make it great.  It also makes it better than I can make at home.  Do yourself a favor and order dessert.  I suggest the tiramisu.

Andiamo 9

If you find yourself in Eagan, MN check out Andiamo.  You will enjoy it.  It is a very nice restaurant at a reasonable price.

Silver Bell Diner

Silver Bell Diner – 1981 Silver Bell Rd, Eagan, MN 55122

When I think of a diner Silver Bell Diner is the exact style of restaurant that comes to mind.  Checkered floor, jukebox in the middle, and those chairs and booths.  Don’t forget the stools up front for those single diners or the kid that just wants a malt or shake.

Jukebox, records on the wall, checkered floor, and a blue chair.

I love the old advertisements on the wall and the records.

Strawberry Malt with a wafer and cherry on top.

I general go to this place shortly before close which is early to me, but normal for Minnesotans.  It is never packed at this time.  I hope this means that they do more business at breakfast and lunch time.  Their breakfast menu looks super tasty and is served all day.

They offer an assortment of burgers.  The meat is pretty good and the toppings make sense.  They offer a burger of the month.

Hamburger and fries on a plate

I have eaten my way through a good portion of their dinner menu and everything tasted just right.  I think they may have traded cooks since their open because they changed their menu and the food is a little bit better than when they started.  They offer daily specials.

I am kind of stuck on their tuna melt and cheese curds as my preferred menu item.  I had never tried a tuna melt before, but they are pretty darn good.

Tuna melt, cheese curds, and 2 pickle chips on a plate.

If you have room when you finish your meal they have homemade pies.  I have taken a slice home on occasion and their desserts are amazing.

You can find their menu on their Facebook page.  I would put their prices exactly right for what you are getting and overall not expensive.   They are priced at a level that you could probably eat at pretty often.

If you are looking for normal, American, feel good food or if you just want a shake or slice of pie I highly suggest this little gem of a diner on Silver Bell.  Go to the new mall and then stop in here for lunch.