Thursday, July 26, 2012

Land of 10,000 Lakes and Mosquitoes

One of the many things I enjoy about the small Iowa city we live in is that we are relatively easy distance from several major cities. Within 4-5 hours, we can be in Chicago, Omaha, Minneapolis, or St. Louis.  We decided that each summer, we would visit a different one of the four big cities.  Obviously, we love ChicagoIn Omaha, we pretty much just visited the zoo (but it is an amazing zoo, and worth the trip).

This summer, we had talked about going to St. Louis.  But my vacation was in July, and St. Louis in July didn't exactly sound like fun.  It seems like it might be more of a September trip.  So this summer, we turned our sites north to the Twin Cities.

Unlike the other cities, I wasn't exactly sure what we should go see and do while we were in Minneapolis, other than the Mall of America.  A mall, no matter how awesome, can't make up an entire trip.  So I started Googling and asking friends who had lived or visited.  I think we came up with a pretty good list.

 There was the Sculpture Garden, with the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture. 

There was the Stone Arch Bridge spanning the Mississippi River, with its gorgeous views of downtown.

There was Minnehaha Falls, which was a welcome break from the record setting temperatures that descended on us that week (Seriously, what's the point of living so far north if you can't even get a mild summer out of it?)

And of course, there was the Mall of America - crowded, touristy, ridiculously huge, and actually quite ridiculously awesome! 

My boys hate shopping.  But what is there to hate about about a mall with an amusement park in the middle? (Even if the boys didn't actually want to ride on any of the rides?)

What is there to hate about an entire store devoted to Legos?  Especially when the store has fabulously cool and enormous Lego sculptures on and around it.


What is there to hate about a mall that has an awesome aquarium in it?

After two days in the city, the last day of our Minnesota trip was spent camping.  There was no way I was going to drive all the way to Minnesota and not camp by a lake. 

We found a campground next to a gorgeous, lily lined lake with a beautiful little beach for swimming. 

We ended up being the only people in the campground, since it was midweek.  We raised the tent, made a fire, roasted hotdogs and marshmallows and had a delightful, quiet evening.  A quiet evening disturbed only by the high pitched whine of mosquitoes. We were liberal with the insect repellent, but as we were turning in, I could tell that I was already getting a collection of bites around my feet.

About halfway through the night, my legs became itchier and itchier until I was tossing and turning and not sleeping at all.  I had this sudden thought that despite being safely in our tent, I was still being bitten!  I woke up to find Hubster and the boys both waking up, complaining of the same thing.  We turned on our camping lantern to find the tent full of mosquitoes, happily feasting on our blood. Hubster spent a good hour hunting them all down before we could sleep in peace again.

The next day, I counted 52 mosquito bites on my stomach, legs, and arms.  The boys and Hubster got about a dozen each.  Apparently, I taste delicious.  It was a long, itchy drive back home.

Other than the overabundance of bug bites, we had a delightful time in the land of 10,000 lakes.  Even if we only saw one of them.


  1. Holy mosquitoes!! Yikes.

    Otherwise, it sounds like a good trip! We just back from a week in Minnesota as well. My husband grew up there.

  2. Living on a lake in NJ, I can certainly relate to the mosquitoes.

  3. BTW, I'm working through the people who commented on my blog during my SITS day, and I just got to you. Randomly enough I randomly commented on your blog earlier today! ha. Thanks for stopping by my blog on my SITS day. Thanks for your kind words as well. :)

  4. I went to Minneapolis years ago and had such a great time!'s SO true about the mosquitoes!

    And seriously, what is wrong with your boys? How could they not want to ride the rides in the middle of a mall??

  5. Fun!Fun!Fun! I always love the pictures and what you do with your family. HUGS!!

  6. I love Minnesota! I have a LOT of relatives there and have visited at least a dozen times over my lifetime. BUT the mosquitoes in HOT weather? Oy vey! I told a cousin, "I would love to live in MN...if it wasn't for the weather." The winters, I've heard (because I'd never visit then) can be COLD.