Twin Cities Love Letters: Part I

First of all, THANK YOU from the depths of my heart to everyone who has reached out this week to congratulate me, share advice, and offer Bay Area connections in light of the news about my upcoming move! Not gonna lie, I’m just as nervous as I am excited about this change, and hearing from so many people was an absolute joy. I am so lucky to have such great people in my life, near and far!

That said…oh man, with the countdown clock under a month, I’m getting seriously nostalgic about my beloved Twin Cities, and every day seems to bring to mind something else I’m going to miss terribly once I relocate. With that in mind, expect a few of these love letters to my hometown over the next few weeks…starting with my Lakes!

This time of year is truly one of my favorite seasons in the Twin Cities. Once we get over the hump (snow on 5/1, omg seriously just demoralizing in every way), everything seems to suddenly, simultaneously burst into bloom. Tulips, the pink trees, dandelions and fresh foliage compete with babies everywhere...fawns in our backyard, ducklings and goslings all over the place, you name it. I adore Minnesota's springtime vitality, and nowhere is it on better display in Minneapolis than around the Lakes. 

That said, brave Minnesota ducks never let a little ice stop them...nor do we intrepid Minnesotans, who will get out and get our miles in whenever possible. Kels and I did Lake Harriet a few times in February (to be fair, on unseasonably warm days, but still!), and last fall my parents and I went as late as November. I'm going to miss the sheer brute determination of Minnesotans to enjoy our weather as much as humanly possible...though I'm not sure I'm going to miss having to brace myself for subzero walks to work every morning. 

I will immensely miss the Lake Harriet Yoga Project, one of the most cherished parts of my summer last year. Waking up at the crack of dawn and catching the sunrise spilling over an empty Bandshell...

...and spending mornings stretching and centering myself, while the birds wake up, the breeze blows off the water, and the boats bobbing up and down. Those mornings were so relaxing and satisfying, and my foray into the world of "being a yoga person" 

I will miss hot, sultry summer walks, admiring the rainbows of canoes docked around each of the Lakes. 

And watching sailboats and canoes mingle with the ducks and loons, on the calmest and windiest of days! It's a moderate regret of mine that I've never actually gotten myself out on one of the Lakes...lord knows I've spent enough time around them. 

I will miss peaceful twilight evenings around the walking paths...watching the sun fading slowly over the Bandshell, the water reflecting it all right back, and things quieting down as we lap the water. It's one of the most peaceful places I can think of to enjoy a sunset.

I will miss Concerts in the Park...and randomly stumbling on them during outdoor book club, and most of all making my family be two hours early to the Orchestra's annual Lake Harriet performance just so we can be front-row for magic like this: 

(Don't even get me started on how much I'll miss this orchestra. I can't actually contemplate it without getting a little bit teary-eyed.)

I will miss the stunning fall vistas around Lake of the Isles, and the way that, on a clear day, it seemed like there were two sets of gorgeous old homes and churches to admire. 

I think most of all, though, I'll miss this skyline view. The years of memories around the Lakes feel even more special when I think of how they've been a constant thread through my six adult years and chatting with Hannah or Kelsie, dragging anyone I can to Lake Harriet Yoga Project, meeting my parents for walks and hitting up Isles Bakery afterward...even heading over by myself for a few hours of solitude with headphones or a book. I've loved these perfect little pockets of relaxation right in the heart of the city, and I know there's no real replacement for them. 

My new life in California, of course, won't be without water. We're living right on the bay, out near Bair Island, a reclaimed marine area dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of a natural habitat. 

There are miles of walking trails, and should be plenty of wildlife to satisfy my urge to get away from the city, in my own backyard. I'm excited to explore a totally different world...while I'm a child of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, life by the ocean is a new animal for me!

That's going to take a lot to fill the hole(s) in my heart left by Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles. Friends, if you find yourself over there, snap me a picture and savor every minute of it! I'll miss it so dearly!