Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lounging Around in St. Cloud MN

When I booked the Dakota races, I needed to also find a place to park myself for the week in between.  I scrounged around on Google maps, looking for someplace interesting to spend a few days.  My criteria were simple.  It needed to be in a walking town, with things to see and with a good coffee shop and several restaurants nearby.

Not too many options jumped out at me.  St. Cloud MN seemed to be the best option, a small town with significant college presence, sitting on the Mississippi River.  I found a wonderful all-suites hotel called GrandStay, right downtown.  Two room suite, full kitchen, free parking and best of all, within walking distance of everything.

So Brookings half marathon done and behind me, I had a nice dinner my last night in town, and then the next morning got into my car and drove through rural east SD and west MN to get to St. Cloud.    I checked in, investigated the amenities in the little kitchen en-suite, and then went back out to a nearby grocery store and bought provisions enough for my 4 day stay.  Fresh fruit, makings for fresh salads, fresh salmon, a nice steak, cereal, bananas, sandwich meat, crackers and snacks.  A nice salad and salmon for dinner and I was ready to call it a day.

My walking route

Unusual granite sculptures on W. St. Germain St in downtown.
St. Cloud is called the Granite City...it grew around the discovery
and subsequent quarrying of granite.

My first day in St. Cloud, I walked into town, stopping first at Peet's Coffee & Tea, and then continued on a more than 3-mile walk through the historic streets of downtown.  I walked a few blocks in the immediate downtown area, checking out the pretty county courthouse.

Stearns County Courthouse

Then I headed toward the paved trail that runs for a little ways along the Mississippi River.

Mississippi River from the west bank in St. Cloud

I walked back in the other direction to check out a really pretty park and lake not too far from the hotel.  

Really pretty flying geese water fountain on Lake George

The weather continued to be absolutely glorious.  Sunny without a cloud in the sky and temps in the mid 70's.  College students were sunning themselves on the soft, green grass in the park, and children were playing in the adjacent playground.   

Neat old house in the southside historic district

I walked back toward the hotel, stopping at the pizza shop across the street and picking up a personal size pizza to take back to the room for a late lunch.

Tomorrow:  Drive up to Little Falls for lunch and some murals.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the old architecture. Looks like a really nice place for a walking tour.