Friday, June 24, 2016

Urban Tourists: The Minneapolis Institute of Art

Growing up in Minneapolis, I (Chris) never really took time to seek out the local "attractions". But as RVentures take us to new places, we enjoy discovering the unique local treasures. So, this past week while researching "attractions in Minneapolis", the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) popped up as the #1 attraction. The reviews sounded fabulous ... the entrance fee was within budget (free) ... and it was easily accessible on our bikes. Time to become a tourist!

We drove to Hopkins and hopped on the bike path leading into Minneapolis. After getting off the Midtown Greenway and biking through some ordinary urban neighborhoods, we saw it ... The MIA is a huge, magnificent building inviting all to come in and enjoy art in all forms and spanning all ages.

The massive sculpture, The Doryphoros, greeted us as we entered. Now, while neither one of us will ever claim to know much about art, we were both humbled by the fact that we were able to learn about and appreciate a piece created by an anonymous artist approximately 100 years before the birth of Christ. Each piece of art in the museum included information on the artist, the year created, and the history and significance of the piece.

The MIA is massive ... where to begin? Some of the reviews that I read suggested starting on the top level and work our way down. My elevator operator handled to "old-fashioned" doors to get us on our way.

With hundreds of cozy exhibit "rooms", one could get lost in art of all kinds. While Doug would have liked to quickly walk through the whole museum to get the "big picture", I wanted to study each individual piece of art. My method proved to be difficult due to the sheer quantity of beautiful and historic works of art ... and the fact that I know very little about art! But, since I believe that there are more than a few of our readers who are as "art illiterate" as me, I will just post some of the pictures of the pieces that moved me.

The Denial of St. Peter, c. 1623 by Gerrit van Honthorst struck me with his dramatically night lit scene.

There were many beautiful depictions of Mary and Jesus, but this is one of my favorites which shows a visit from His cousin, St John the Baptist. It is fun to realize that Jesus enjoyed his family as much as we enjoy ours!

Ah, an artist that even this amatueur art lover is familiar with ... Rembrandt's Lucretia c. 1666 depicts a sad and solemn Roman noblewoman as she takes her life to preserve the honor of her family.

Thanks to the blog of our fellow RV friends, The Jacobsons' Journey, we both became familiar with the artist Georgia O'Keeffe. Doug spotted one of her paintings, Chestnut Tree - Gray. Wow ... he is becoming quite the "art know-it-all"!

As we strolled through the museum we enjoyed sculptures dating back to the birth of Christ ... 

as well as some fun modern creations.

We studied some greatly detailed paintings ...

and enjoyed the fun of the totally abstract ...

Yes, the Minneapolis Institute of Art has something for just about everyone ...

OK, maybe I have pressed my luck a little too much ... time to find Doug something that he can really relate to ...

LTD Brewing is located at the end of the bike path in Hopkins. Time to continue to Live The Dream ... I'm sure Michelangelo would have loved to join us if he could!

Until next time ... Live Your Dream ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pedaling Paradise

It's been two weeks since we arrived to Baker Park Campground to begin our month of "camp hosting". We are enjoying our evenings of hanging around the campground when "on duty". But it is our "off duty" time during the day that has been really fun, as we discover where all the bike paths lead. For, as you see, we have arrived in "pedaling paradise."

Often referred to as "the best bicycling city in America", Minneapolis boasts of over 83 miles of off-street bike trails as well as the many miles of bike lanes and bike-friendly roads. The trail that runs in front of our campsite leads to a six mile loop around a Baker Park Reserve lake and forest area. A ride around the preserve is a great way to relax and also prepare for the longer rides to come.

One of our first long rides was a 38 mile loop around Lake Minnetonka. Leaving from our campground, we pedaled out of the park on the Lake Independence trail and connected with the Luce Line trail. Doug's directions sometimes involve some interesting maneuvers in order to get the bikes over the highways!

Wayzata, our first stop, is a cute town on the north shore of Lake Minnetonka that provided the perfect refueling treat!

Our tanks full, we pedaled on following Doug's GPS directions past huge mansions and under busy highways. We connected with the Lake Minnetonka LTR Regional Trail that brought us into Excelsior for lunch on the lake at the Bayside Grille.

Utilizing some "bike friendly lanes", we were able to finish our loop while taking in the views of the beautiful homes and parks that surround the lake.

How about this one, Doug? The driveway appears long enough for the Wildebeest!

With the success of being able to find our way around some beautiful Minneapolis areas, we became "fair weather bikers", taking advantage of the nice weather to explore more miles of scenic trails. Some favorite rides included:

A loop around Medicine Lake in Plymouth, Minnesota,

A stroll around Lakes Harriet and Calhoun in Minneapolis with friends,

And a bike ride with our sons to one of Minneapolis' more famous breweries, Surly.

Some days we took longer trips cutting across Minneapolis on the Midtown Greenway,

And other days we just meandered down the path from our campsite to Lake Independence to enjoy a sunset.

Whatever our destination, we are enjoying the beauty of the journey ....

and the treats along the way!

Until next time ... treat yourself to some fun ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!