Let me start by saying that I am not someone who typically complains about the weather. Like most Minnesotans, I embrace it as much as I can and I even take a certain degree of pride in the fact that I happily endure long winters and sweat through exceedingly humid summers. In fact, these extremes shape our city’s culture in many ways - a certain creativity and ingenuity spurred by time spent indoors during the long winter months and an almost-feverish outdoor lifestyle due to the seemingly fleeting nature of summer. However, even the hardiest of Minnesotans sometimes have to devise creative ways to cope with Mother Nature’s crazy mood swings.
When spring teased us all with glorious sunshine and warm temps last week, only to turn gloomy and cold this week - with rain, snow, and hail yesterday - I decided drastic measures needed to be taken. (I know, I know, April showers bring May flowers and all that, but covering up newly-pedicured toes with wool socks and warm boots to endure winter-like weather is downright depressing.) So I opted to escape the weather and go into full-on denial mode. Below is not just your average “top five things to do in Minneapolis on a rainy day” list, but rather my own personal “top five ways to trick yourself into thinking it’s actually spring” list. Grab your open-toed shoes and your sunglasses and join me!
1. Buy Yourself Flowers
I am generally of the mindset that fresh blooms should be kept in the house as often as possible. But they are a must when you want it to feel like spring inside despite what’s happening outside. This week, I paid a visit to the lovely boutique, Spruce Flowers & Home, which calls itself a “new-fashioned” flower shop. This adorable - and intoxicatingly good-smelling - shop is the perfect place for gorgeous florals, exotic botanicals, and delicate air plants.
2. It’s Always Sunny in the Amber Room
Tucked away on the 9th Floor of the nationally-known Guthrie Theater is a magical space known as the Amber Room. It serves as the small atrium to the intimate Dowling Studio and offers some of the best views of the Mississippi Riverfront, St. Anthony Falls, and the historic former milling district. But what’s wonderful about it on dreary days is that its yellow floor-to-ceiling windows give the illusion of sunshine.
3. Cook Like It’s Spring
It may be a little early for Minneapolis’ vibrant farmers market scene, but in the coming weeks, our city’s co-ops and organic markets will be brimming with the spring produce we look forward to all winter: peas, asparagus, morel mushrooms, ramps, artichokes… My neighborhood market, the fabulous member-owned Eastside Food Co-op, is always a beautiful and delicious oasis during dreary weather. And while the organic asparagus may not be locally sourced yet, it goes a long way toward helping your taste buds celebrate season!
4. A Garden of Possibilities
Speaking of produce, it’s not too early to start planning your garden. The wonderfully knowledgeable staff at Mother Earth Gardens can answer just about any question you may have - like whether or not the arugula seeds my son and I planted last week will survive this snow nonsense (they will!). Wandering through a garden shop at this time of year is always so inspiring and full of possibility - it’s also enough to convince anyone that warmer temps truly are on their way.
5. Year-Round Summer at the Como Park Conservatory
Ok, ok so this one is technically not in Minneapolis. But this gem in our sister city of St. Paul is too good to pass up. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park - which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year! - is enough to make anyone forget about the weather outside. It is not uncommon to see photographers (though don’t forget to buy a permit first!) and artists trying to capture the beauty of the conservatory’s sunken gardens, lush fern room, bonsai collection, and koi pond.
- Rita -