Friday, June 4, 2010

A simply divine day

Yesterday my friend, Candy Walker, and I left Lindstrom early in the morning for a two-hour drive to Red Wing, Minnesota.

First stop at Red Wing: breakfast at Jenny Lind Bakery and Cafe where we ate fresh cardamom rolls and sipped coffee outside in the fresh morning air. The bakery is next to the Red Wing Pottery showroom and a long row of shops, including a Minnesota specialty store, a fudge shop (we resisted), a gift shop and a clothing store. I don't think we missed a square inch.

Then we headed over to a very old three-story brick building that was the original Red Wing Pottery factory. Now housing, guess what, more shops, this time smaller boutique-type bath and kitchen stores and many antique stores.

We decided we needed a slight breather from gift shop browsing, so we headed off to downtown Red Wing where we, guess what, browsed through many more gift shops. There is no shortage of them in Red Wing.

We did discover a great art and sculpture exhibit at the old Depot and a wonderful independent book store (sadly, a dying breed) and spent some time there. We meandered down to the river where we sat and took in the wonderful weather which was absolutely perfect. The sun felt good, the breeze was great, the air smelled fresh and clean, and the temperature was a perfect 74 degrees.

Of course, by now we are hungry as I'm sure you know how browsing through gift shops and sitting by the river can work up quite an appetite.

So we're off to the historic St. James Hotel where we had a great lunch on their veranda. I had a most unusual salad: fresh watermelon and pistachios tossed with vanilla bean vinaigrette, topped with bleu cheese and fresh mint. For a few moments there, I must have resembled my cat, Catrina, as I just about licked the bowl. Honestly, it was the best salad I have ever had.

A short drive later, about 10 miles further south, we arrived at the charming little town of Lake City on Lake Pepin. The lake was so beautifully blue and dotted with sailboats.

Then we reluctantly started the long drive home, stopping at Betty's Pies (well, we're hungry again) in Mahtomedi.

All this was to spend a nice day together and enjoy one more "adventure" (we've had a few) before Candy moves back to Texas, her home state, after seven years working as a Research Scientist at Hazelden. In a few short days, her moving van will come and she will be gone. But we will forever have our memory of a divinely wonderful day.

Of course, we will keep in touch and will remain friends. However the reality of being separated by geographic distance is that it's never quite the same.

Thank you, Candy, for your friendship, your inspiration, your gentle spirit, being a great "knitting coach" and for spending such a simply divine day with me.