Things I Miss About Minnesota

by Rebecca A. Watson on April 11, 2013

in beach, life, magic, Minneapolis, optimism

There’s a giant snow storm raging in Minnesota. Have you heard about this? I have. And loads of my Midwest friends are telling me how jealous they are of me living in California. They’re desperately longing for spring, as anyone would be who’s suffered through six months of winter.

Photo by Tim Foster

The funny thing is that I’ve been pining for a little Minnesota lately. No, not the ridiculous winters. No, not snow on my birthday. (It happens.) But for all the amazing things I have in California, there are still plenty of cool things in Minnesota. Didju see this blog post last week? If you know anyone from Minnesota, you probably did.

Over the few years I’ve lived in California, I’ve adapted, but there are a few things I miss about my great state. This post is for all my poor friends trapped in their houses, dreading the next three days of shoveling.

1. The heat. This may sound strange coming from a girl who moved to California from Minnesota, but it rarely gets hot where I live. The mild temperate climate really never dips below 40 F (which is huge) and maybe hits the 90 F mark about four times a year.

What I wouldn’t give for a Minnesota summer day where I can wear a sundress and sandals all day. Where bringing a hoodie along on a day trip is just plain silly. Where even at 2 a.m., it’s still frickin’ sweltering.

minneapolis night time heat

Pretty sure this was around 2 a.m. on a June evening.

I can’t remember the last time I wore short sleeves after dark in Santa Cruz. And swimming at night?!? Forget it. Or in my case, forget it all together. Which leads me to my next point.

2. Lakes. Yep. It might sound cliche. Blah blah blah Land of 10,000 Lakes and all. (More like 11,000-plus.) I miss fresh water that‘s deep enough to swim in and that isn’t as cold as Lake Superior. I swam the first month I was here and that was about it.

There are definitely some wonderful rivers around that I enjoy swimming in, but few are deep enough to dive into and the only way you can enjoy swimming is if it’s 100+ F. That’s melted snow you’re swimming in.

mn lake

One of my last times on a Minnesota lake

Give me some wide open, quiet spaces up in northern Minnesota any day. I’ll take the pontoon out, dive off and swim until I’m weak. Then I’ll chow on whatever grub is in the cooler. Repeat until sundown. Start a campfire to keep mosquitoes away. Bonus points if someone else brings fresh-caught walleye.

Oh man. *Sniff* Nothing beats a day like that. And of course, for those who love fresh fish in the winter, there’s always ice fishing. Go drive your car on the lake!

3.  Live music. Now don’t get me wrong. California is up to its ears in musical talent. There’s a lot of great bands coming in and out of the Bay Area every night. That being said, I’m pretty sure nothing could beat the local live music scene in Minneapolis.

alex rossi root city

Alex Rossi. Root City. Heatbox. These are a few of my favorite things.

All summer long you can wander around town and see music for free. Any kind really. And if you’re willing to pay $5, the world is open to you any night of the week, any time of the year. I miss hitting up Glueck’s with the girls, celebrating CD releases at the Fine Line and even dodging roofie artists at First Avenue.

Recently I met a woman who had never been to Minnesota but listened to The Current, a local radio station, online. That’s how freakin’ good Minnesota’s music scene is.

4. The home prices. Ever since I could remember, I’ve heard that California was expensive. When I got here, I was shocked to find that it wasn’t. Groceries are reasonable. My rent was the same for a bigger place (granted I had housemates). And I was paid more.

A friend and my theory was that this lie was a way to discourage people from moving here. And I was totally on board with that theory. Until we started looking to buy a house. Sticker. Shock.

Wait. You want how much for this?

Wait. You want how much for this?

I bought a 3-bedroom, 1 bathroom house in Minneapolis for $183k when the housing bubble was at its highest. Y’know what that would’ve cost me here? Probably $600k. Sure, supply and demand, but seriously? That’s just nonsensical to me. Give me Minnesota sensibility any day.

5. Respect for bikers. One would think that in a progressive (read: uber-hippy) place like Santa Cruz, there’d be serious biking love. No so. I hate to dis such an awesome place, especially since it’s taken such good care of me these past few years, but really, Santa Cruz County?  How you gonna do bikers like that?

Minneapolis turned its old railroad tracks into bike paths. You could feasibly commute into the farthest reaches of suburbia. Most every street has a bike lane. It has a bike share program. No wonder Bicycling named it its No. 1 city for biking.

There are paths just for bikes.

There are even paths just for bikes.

I miss rolling around all spring, summer and fall (I was not a winter rider. I did not own ski goggles.) on paths that never cross a street. I miss that (most) motorists tend to see you and treat you like a human.

6. Minnesota summers. I know I already said the heat, but this is sort of an all encompassing thing. There is something magical about the months of June, July and August in Minnesota. It stays light until almost 10 p.m. And people live it up all summer.

It’s pretty much standard that people leave work early on Fridays to get a head start on the weekend. If it’s nice outside, some offices just close their doors and let the employees go for the day. Every day seems like vacation.

minnesota beach summer

I put a spell on you …

This is why I had to leave this state in the summer. I knew if I stayed longer, I’d forget how awful the winters. Because Minnesota bewitches you.

Every winter we swear up and down this is the last. We’re leaving. It’s too damn cold. But summer comes and erases our memory. That’s how amazing that season is. And I miss it.

So keep your chin up my Midwestern friends. Remember that while you’re plugging in your car or starting up the snowblower (again) that there are so many wonderful things about where you live that even this girl living in the land of milk and honey can’t get. Minnesota: You’re special. You’ll always have a place in my heart.

P.S. I had a few articles post this week on other sites. One is an article on tips for people with food intolerances/allergies. The other is a super fun roundup of accessory trends this spring and the DIY counterparts. Check ’em out and tell me what you think!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly April 12, 2013 at 8:16 am

I love your blog because of the crazy synchronicity that seems to occur in my life when I read it. My husband and I just got back from Nashville, hoping to find a more affordable place to live and a better music scene (Monterey…not so much….but It is getting better). We came back with a greater appreciation for CA, but I can certainly understand the significant differences between the two…some good, some bad. If you are missing the warmer climate, sometimes taking it inland is the way to go (though Santa Cruz is a pretty special place indeed). Prunedale, Gilroy… Carmel Valley is amazing here. Very different, warmer weather than the redwoods or the coast. Also, suprising to hear SC isn’t bike friendly! Monterey has a huge, coastal bike path that runs from Marina to Pacific Grove. But it’s way colder than south-facing SC….so that’s off putting for my Ca blood 🙂 I totally agree that our housing prices are nuts and, coming from living in San Diego and the Bay Area, the Monterey Bay is the most competitive market in CA I’ve seen….low inventory…no water. Boo. We just decided to stick to renting for a long time. You do make me want to visit Minn again…this time in summer!


Ms. Becca April 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

Isn’t it amazing how synchronicity works? I love that you’re experiencing that with my blog 🙂 Glad you got the opportunity to renew your love for the area. That happened to Sante and I a while back too. It’s nice to love where you live. Cheers! And yes, don’t go to MN unless it’s summertime 😉


Laura August 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I found this post by chance (a google search with your title’s tags), and as a Minnesota emmigrant I agree with all your words! It’s hard not to miss that land of perfection.


Ms. Becca August 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Thanks for dropping by Laura 🙂 Glad to hear you liked the post!


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