A walk in the Phillips neighborhood

I killed time between the defense and the big party by talking one of the walks in my walking tours book. This was of the Phillips Neighborhood.

I was staying in Ventura Village, but that’s the next neighborhood over. On my walk to the start of the walk, I snapped a picture of this church, where you can attend services in Norwegian!

When you have too much car for your garage…

Basically, Minneapolis is chock full of houses that leave me weak in the knees. Here is one.

All you need to know about Phillips.

Along with a close-up of the neighborhood boundaries.

Most of the walk was on Park Avenue, which has been redeveloped many times over the years. Thus, it was not unusual to see this lineup:

A grand building of apartment homes, built when that was a thing rich people lived in.

Right next to that, a 60s or 70s development.

And right next to that, a small office building.

Here were also huge mansions, like this one, which is now the American Swedish Institute, which I visited in 2015.

And this one:

And this one, which has moved on to a new life as a mosque. I did like that about Minneapolis. A lot of the grand houses have been converted to office space.

Very fancy looking office space, like this one, which houses the American Indian Services.

I liked the look of this stucco, and couldn’t decide if it was the pattern, or stucco suffering from neglect.

Look at this great church!

And these beautiful houses!

It wasn’t unusual to come across these views of fin de siecle houses with downtown towers looming in the background.

Look at the turret on this house!

It seems that bicycle theft is a problem here too.

Here’s an interesting corner. An older apartment building:

And across the street an apartment tower with its first four stories attempting to blend. This works for me.

And then this other corner with some new contstruction totally blending with a new tower looming in the background.

This is a pretty red house with a widow’s walk.

This might be my favorite picture from this walk. A nondescript low brick building next to a beautiful stone house, with a colorful Hannapin Healthcare buiding nearby and the prow of the football stadium poking up in the back.

I could have spent a solid week wandering through Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods.

Waiting for Dr. Sterner

While Sara was doing Defense Part II with the members of her committee, friends and family wandered over to the building on campus with the performing arts hall, and waited at a coffee shop.

The building was gorgeous, and lovingly renovated.

It was a long wait (I think there was also some paperwork processing in there) and I had time to catch up with Sara’s family members, which was nice as I hadn’t seen them in a very long time.

Behold! Dr. Sara Sterner (alas, not the best photo of her)

Also pictured: Shawn (to the left) and Sara’s brother-in-law, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and niece.

Three of Sara’s professors had traveled to Minneapolis to be present for the defense, so photos were taken.

After photos, some catching up, and Sara’s stepmom Barbie snuck around for a different angle.

The Defense

Sara booked the biggest room available for her defense and it was full! She had a lot of friends and family visit. When I sat down, I introduced myself to the woman sitting next to me. She turned out to be a fellow PhD candidate. Her observation: “I go to these things all the time and usually there’s like four people watching.”

Sara’s adviser introduced Sara and the defense. He had a special message from Hogwarts and also pointed out that a royal baby waited to be born until Sara was ready to defend.

Sara explained the work she had done on a post-intentional phenomenological exploration of reading whitely. There were handouts.

At the end we got to ask questions.

Once the public defense was done Sara stayed behind for another hour of questions. After that, her committee voted though we weren’t there for that part.

Getting to the defense

My first full day in Minneapolis was also the day of Sara’s defense. I decided to use the Nice Ride bikes to get myself to campus.

On the same street where I was saying was this gorgeous apartment building.

My neighborhood had a lot of churches in it, including two across the street from one another.

About four blocks from my house were the bikes.

I checked one out and was on my way. Look at the great bike infrastructure they have! I rode bike lanes the entire way to campus.

This bridge took me over the freeway.

Here I have a great view of the Mighty Mississippi.

I got to campus quite easily using the Google Maps directions. From that point, I had a bit of trouble finding a docking station. The campus is large. I ended up docking at the Student Union because I knew where that was and vaguly in which direction it was located and then power-walked over to the defense.

Thank goodness I’d visited campus on previous trips.

Where am I staying in Minneapolis?

I booked a room in an AirB&B for my lodging. It was not far from the football stadium and very close to many transportation options.

The picture of the house on the website cleverly cropped out those crumbling steps, which were all I could see as I stood on the sidewalk. Had I made a mistake?

My room is the second floor window on the left.

But no! Indoors, it was lovely. Here’s the sitting room with a bit of the dining room.

The kitchen still had its butler’s pantry which included pull-out bins for flour and sugar.

The more modern kitchen.

Here’s my bedroom, which was quite large.

And included a big walk-in closet with a window to outside.

The view from my window.

There was a lot of original hardware that was just gorgeous. This is my bedroom door looking out into the stairwell.

Look at that vent!

My favorite feature of the house was the servant’s staircase. Here’s where the servants walk up.

And here’s is where the family walks up. You can see how you can close a door to shut off the kitchen area.

But the funny thing about the two staircases was, both staircases traveled to the same landing.

Here I am, packed for my first full day!

Minneapolis Day 1: Bike ride to Lake Nokomis

Sara K, whom you might know from her regular comments on this blog, is almost Dr. Sara K. She’s spent the last few years working toward a PhD, and I’m in Minneapolis to see her defense.

After navigating myself from the airport to my AirBnB, (thanks light rail!) I used the app on my phone to find a Nice Ride. Those would be the bike share bikes in the Twin Cities.

There was a bank of bikes not far from my place, and I rode about 25 minutes to Lake Nokomis, where I locked up my bike at another station. Easy as pie!

One thing I enjoyed about Lake Nokomis, was that they had seperate paths for walkers and bikes. The path in the foreground is for walkers; the one in the back is for bikes. Very smart, Minneapolis!

While it was full-on warm spring in Portland, it was still early spring in the North Star State. I would call what I experienced mid-to-late-March weather.

A variety of Sara’s relatives (and Sara herself, plus Shawn) arrived and we ate and chatted.

Shawn and Sara gave me a ride back to my place, which was also nice, as I was not wearing a mid-to-late March coat and I was a bit chilled when the sun was going down.

What a great start to my trip!

The One Bag List

Since 2008, I’ve been packing using the OneBag List, which friend Dana found online and shared with me right before we went to Hungary for the second time. The list makes sure I don’t forget anything and it also has allowed me to continue to use a tiny suitcase, no matter the length of the trip.

The OneBag website is still around, though I’m guessing it hasn’t changed much, graphically since Dana accessed it in 2008. The PDF I use is only accessible via a browser extension, so I can’t see if it’s been updated, but if you are looking for a minimalist (yet, everything you need) way to pack, I recommend the site and method.

Oh wait! The packing list is found here! No browser extension needed.

Ecola State Park

Having spent a comfortable night in our yurt at Cape Lookout, we drove north to Ecola State Park for some hiking. Ecola has some very good views.

Some might wonder why we drove a couple of hours from where we were staying, a place with many hikes, to another place for a different hike. This has to do with the fact that Tillmook Head is not in–or near–the city of Tillmook, or even in Tillamook County. I didn’t realize this when planning the vacation, and so a lengthy drive it was.  It’s okay. We got a lot of reading done from the read aloud books. (Matt read, I listened.)

Here we are with the ocean. Things you can’t see: the many tourists on either side of us, also looking at the ocean and taking photos.

The Oregon Coast is crazy beautiful, and we heard the people around us speaking all sorts of different languages.

We then drove a bit more to the Indian Beach trailhead area where we started a hike up to the Tillamook Lighthouse viewpoint.

At the beginning.

We hiked along quite nicely, and it was only when we got to the Hikers’ Shelter that I realized we’d already done this hike.  It was 2012 and you can refresh your memory here.  We had better weather this time.

The non-zoomed view of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.

The zoomed view!  I’m quite glad I wasn’t the lighthouse keeper for this lighthouse.

Matt indicates this is our second go-round.

Drift Creek Falls

It’s vacation time!  We started our vacation by driving to Lincoln City so we could get a McMenamins Passport stamp.  Then we had some time to kill before we could check into our yurt at Cape Lookout State Park, so we did this hike, which was a good family-friendly hike as advertised.

After hiking a bit (and going off in the wrong direction for a bit) we arrived at the falls. But to see the falls we had to cross a suspension bridge!

What a great reward!  I love a good suspension bridge!

Then there was another half mile or so to hike down to the falls area.  We hiked down, but did not wander into the water as the children and dogs did.

Overall, this was a fun hike in an area where we would not normally hike.  Thanks Statesman Journal, for clueing me in.

Our first time at Breitenbush Hot Springs Resort

Matt turned 40 and we decided to celebrate with a trip to Breitenbush Hot Springs. It was a good decision.

Our cabin was very roomy for two people.

At Breitenbush, you are provided with a bottom sheet, but bring your own blankets and pillows.

All of the heat is provided by geothermal energy.

I loved the beadboard siding and the many hooks to hang things on.

Our cabin exterior.

They had indoor showers, but this is a picture of the “new” outdoor showers and they are great. Breitenbush provides the biodegradable soap.

Interior of the outdoor showers. There’s something about showering outside that is so fun.

The bathhouse, one of men and one for women.  There was also a restroom building near our cabin.

Breitenbush is a year-round operation, and I loved this snow shoveling schedule posted.

It must be some operation to clear all the roads when it starts to snow.

There are multiple fire stations on the property. This is one of them.

In the warmer months you can rent a tent.

There are a lot of good hangout spaces. This one is near the Sanctuary, where a lot of the classes are held.

They ring a gong to call people to the thrice-daily vegetarian meals that are mostly organic.

A view of the lodge.

Some steam escaping from a too-hot stream near the lodge.

The sign keeping us all away from the very hot spring.

Originally Breitenbush was a regular hot springs resort, rather than a hippy granola hot springs resort. My mother visited it when she was a child.  I was excited to find a remnant of that time: the traditional-style swimming pool.

More steam coming from more hot water.

One of the meadow pools. These were my favorite pools.  There are three of them and their temperature gets progressively hotter.

The view from the pool.

I love all the hooks affixed to the sheltered bench near the pool.
The view from the silent pool.

I’m always interested in how operations work, so I was happy to find this schedule tucked away on the back of a bench/structure thing.

Some really great details have gone into Breitenbush, such as the wood that creates this bench.

There are outdoor showers that help you cool off from your soak.

The sauna, which more like a steam room, not a dry sauna. While the hot pools at Breitenbush somehow manage to escape the stinky sulfur smell I associate with hot springs, the sauna is the most sulfurous smelling.

One must duck to get into the sauna.

The resort generates it’s own power from the Breitenbush River. They have also built a fish ladder.

A view from the bridge over the Breitenbush River.

And a view of the river itself.


The kitchen always had music coming from it.  It’s probably a big job to provide three vegetarian meals per day for the resort guests.

Where we got our massages.

One of the vehicles.

The forest shelter building.

Us in front of the lodge. Notice how people hang their towels along the deck in front of the lodge. That was one of my favorite details.

Once you park your car in the parking lot, you use these carts to bring your things down to your cabin. Then you never see your car for the rest of your stay.

This was a great place to celebrate a big birthday.  It’s such a relaxing place.  When I wasn’t sleeping, I was lounging, or soaking, or eating a good meal.