We woke up on Friday morning to a power outage… rather, the power went out the night before, and had not been restored by the time we woke up the next morning. So we skipped taking cold showers (just further training for when we’re on the water next week with no access to showers), and hit the road. And I added another state! Wisconsin, so of course we had to stop for some cheese. We stopped at Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet.
Our selection included portabello mushroom and chive smoked cheddar, smoked cheddar, hickory smoked Parmesan, brie, and chocolate cheese fudge with cherries. Honestly they were all delicious. I was super skeptical of the chocolate cheese, but it was quite good, especially with a nice malbec (as we discovered when we shared our purchase with our host in Minnesota).
We arrived in Anoka, MN around 2:30pm. Dave VenHuizen is a spectacular host and he greeted us warmly.
First, Dave made an appointment to view the garden and art work of a local artist, Nate Otto. His garden is a lovely combination of local flora (with occasional fauna) and steampunk industrial art pieces. Nate’s love of his community is evident. Taking time out of his busy schedule he was welcoming, friendly, and clearly likes to keep busy. Please don’t just show up at his house, but if you can make an appointment to see his creations, you’re in for a wonderful treat, his artwork is phenomenal. Beyond being a great artist, Nate keeps a dying art alive through repair of player pianos. I’ll link his website below.
Later Dave took us to several parks for a little stretch of the legs after our drive. We visited the confluence of the Rum River and the mighty Mississippi River (it was Josh’s first time seeing the latter, the former also, but I guess the latter is more noteworthy), then on to Anoka Riverside Park, which has an interesting history. The park was part of the flood plain plan until 2001 (I think, I didn’t take a picture of the plaque, and now I’m only mostly confident in my memory), then the area was raised by around seven feet, removing it from the flood plain. There are beautiful condos lining the walk on one side, and beautiful trees and the river on the other.
The next day was the Sabbath, which was a lovely respite from our travels. After the Sabbath ended we had dinner with Jean and Ken Cline. Jean is an extremely talented quilt-maker, and she was kind enough to show me some of her quilts. Pictures will be below.
I love visiting places and learning about them through the residents that love their communities, and make their communities more vibrant through their passions. Jean and Nate are wonderful examples of this.
cheese shop: https://ehlenbachscheese.com
Nate Otto’s company: https://www.rumriverrestoration.com/