Spring has finally arrived in Northfield. How do I know this? Because most of the snow piles have melted, the low temperatures are predicted to be above freezing, it is May, and, the best indicator of all, lots of people are wearing shorts. It is now time for some serious vernalizing. So, how does one best vernalize or appreciate spring in Northfield? Of the many activities available, here are five to get you started. Go for a walk or a run or bike or roller-blade on the Mill Towns State Trail. The local segment is three miles of paved road connecting Northfield to Dundas. Enjoy a beautiful wooded walk or bike ride with great views of the river and the ruins of the Archibald Mill in Dundas. The trail also provides access to parks at the Dundas trailhead as well as parks, businesses, and many offerings of downtown Northfield. Check out the maps and videos at the Mill Towns Trail website to learn more about the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail and the Cannon Valley Trail and how Northfield and Dundas fit in. Do you already enjoy using the trails?
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You know it is Spring when the Red Barn Farm announces its first Pizza Night. This year opening night is tomorrow, Wednesday, May 2 and they will be open every Wednesday through October 21st. Check their website for other days and times. Pizza, down on the farm, topped with many of their own garden’s veggies and herbs: does it get any better than this? Do you like cheese? They’ve got it—each pizza is topped with mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, and romano, unless you order only cheese. Then they add cheddar and provolone. Create your own pizza, choose from specialty pizzas or sample the “pizza of the week.” Need gluten-free? They’ve got that too and they also offer a dessert pizza with diced apple, streusel, and a drizzle of vanilla icing. Local musicians are invited to play on Pizza Night so if you want to know what is on the menu besides pizza, check ahead. Their General Store is open during pizza events so you might want to see what they have to offer at their website before you pay a visit. If something calls to you, you need checks or cash to make it yours. They have an FAQ page and a few items to note; know before you go and have a great time.
Spring is a time for gardening. For home gardeners, the place to go is the University of Minnesota Extension website. Their Yard and Garden page contains a wealth of information on pest management, lawns and landscapes, and fruits and vegetables. New this year is a monthly blog To-do List for Vegetable Gardening. If you are a novice or a master gardener or a novice who wants to become a master gardener, you might want to take a look—they have something for everyone. Learn, troubleshoot, browse, sign-up for their monthly newsletter; learn a little or learn a lot. This is the place to do it.
Not all gardens are planted to produce food. The Jo Ryo En Japanese Garden behind Watson Hall on the campus of Carleton College is a “garden of quiet listening.” Just ¼ acre, it is rated the 7th best Japanese garden of its type in the United States. One reviewer notes that it has a more authentic design than the larger Japanese gardens found in the Twin Cities and is the perfect spot for studying. It is free to the public and inviting to those who are looking for a quiet place for meditation and reflection. What makes this dry landscape or karesansui garden special are its features: stone lanterns, a bamboo drip and basin, nobedan or paved stone path, viewing pavilion, and use of rocks and shrubs to simulate lakes, hills, and mountains (Wikipedia). To learn more about these features, the designer, and the philosophy behind it, go here.
When all is said and done, what is Spring without ice cream? Local chain stores like Culver’s and Dairy Queen serve up the cold treats well enough but if you are looking for a place that is home grown, then give Hogan Brothers’ Acoustic Café a try. Twelve flavors of Kemps Ice Cream, Cookies and Rice Krispy Bars are their Goodies. They also float the cold stuff in Root Beer and Espresso if you favor ice cream floats. Reviewers praise their portions as well as the taste rating this place as the “go-to place for an ice cream cone…with very generous scoops at low prices.” Kemps Ice Cream is a Minnesota company and they aim to please in quality, taste, and service, a lot like Hogan Brothers. Sounds like a winner to me. Enjoy your Spring and let us know what tops your list of May favorites.
Andrea Massaad @ grubstreet.com