Walking the Grand Rounds in Minneapolis: Part Two

Continued from last week’s Walking the Grand Rounds in Minneapolis: Part One

Refreshed and recharged after lunch at the Sea Salt, it’s time to resume our walk.

This is our third excursion along the Grand Rounds. It’s become a ritual undertaking of our more recent Minneapolis pilgrimages. Our route is always the same. We seem to arrive at the Sea Salt for lunch – and happily so. But we know there is a great deal of walking ahead before we return downtown to the Normandy Inn.

By that time, we will have walked 37 kilometres. That is a long day’s walk, even by our long distance walking standards. And it’s worth noting that the Grand Rounds offers about 80 kilometres of walking paths.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for undertaking manageable portions of the Grand Rounds. For example, the Metro Blue Line LRT running from downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America has a stop near Minnehaha Falls. A walker with limited time could do the 15 kilometre Mississippi River portion from downtown to Minnehaha Falls in the morning, have a delightful lunch at the Sea Salt and return on the LRT. Walkers looking for a slightly longer walk could start at Minnehaha Falls Park and continue 22 kilometres west on the Grand Rounds circuit.

That is what Gail and I need to walk this afternoon. Those final 22 kilometres.  Continue reading

Walking the Grand Rounds in Minneapolis: Part One

When you live in Winnipeg and are looking for the nearest drivable, big city adventure, that destination is Minneapolis. That said, it is still a lengthy 7½ hour, 755-kilometre drive down interstate highways I-29 and I-94. That’s the distance from our house to Mall of America, one of the largest malls in the United States and, it seems, the primary destination for Manitobans.

But Gail and I are odd ducks. We avoid the suburbs and head downtown. We go to the Guthrie for theatre-in-the-round. We have dinner at the Dakota Jazz Club while listening to captivating music. We gallery-hop to the Walker, the American Swedish Institute, the Minneapolis Centre of Book Arts and, my favourite, the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. Shopping consists of quality time in a gallery gift shop or a visit to the Uptown district (more about that later). If we feel the need for a Mall of America experience, it’s a quick shuttle on the Metro Blue Line LRT.

And we walk. Everywhere. In particular we walk the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. The best, most comprehensive, most pleasurable long distance urban walk network I have come across – anywhere.  Continue reading