A gigantic agricultural lab is really what it is, with flowers and plants all labeled, even in the deepest of woods. It's a thoroughly educational experience, while also being fully breathtakingly beautiful.
I'm bound and determined for my Mom to not be bored in her assisted living place as she's adjusting to things, and am constantly pushing the limits on where I can take her with a wheelchair/walker ... The Arboretum was perfect for a field trip on a lovely autumn day.
You certainly are aware of the seasons at the Arboretum, as they deck the place out for whatever time of the year we're in. Right now it's a Scarecrow/Harvest festival theme, and it instantly put us even more in the mood for all things apple and pumpkin.
There's a scarecrow contest going on now, actually, and for me it was a toss-up between the Miss Oktoberfest (as I want her outfit) and Paul Bunyan and Babe, of course.
A super cool sculpture (or witch house?!) made of willow sticks was called You Betcha, (you can't get more Minnesota than that), and was created by Patrick Dougherty. It was super cool and kind of horror movie at the same time.
There is a Three Mile Hike or Drive that circles the Arboretum property, so that made it easy to roll around, and let Mom see everything without a hassle. She's a wonderful artist, so the idea was to give her inspiration to paint the beautiful nature and give her something to feel great about. She was pointing out things for me to photograph all day long, so hopefully you'll see some lovely work coming soon!
There is a super peaceful Japanese garden with a pond full of koi fish that we took a break next to. It reminded me of our friends, the Kusunokis, who I grew up next door to, and whose patriarch we lost this summer. We love you, Jim and Pearl!
There was also a Chinese garden, with a big wall that made you feel like you were in China - in Minnesota. That's a pretty cool feat.
Minnesota has been giving me a lot of cool sculptures, and between Franconia Sculpture Park, the Walker Sculpture Garden, and now the Sculpture Garden at the Arboretum ...
I'd have to say this is a destination place for all things sculpture. I'm super impressed.
There were a lot of really great works, but I think my favorite was the Stone Harp, as it made you feel transported into a kind of fairy land maybe in Ireland. There's been so much rain lately, that you really could think you were over there ... plus I hear we are the place that drinks Jameson the most. So there.
There are so many different vibes to the Arboretum, from serene and tranquil to whimsical and fun, like the big maze they have. There's a lookout you can climb up to look down on it and maybe help someone out who is lost. We were on a bit of a time frame, so I didn't take the risk, but it looked cool!
There were some dahlias that took my breath away with their elegant geometry, and roses so gorgeous and fragrant you could only swoon. The flowers weren't as happening as I'm sure they are in the height of spring and summer, but all the more reason to return. We're probably gonna have to become members of the Arboretum, as I got a glimpse of what they deck the halls like for Christmas, so we're for sure going to have to hit it up again then. What an exceptional showcase of all the stunning nature Minnesota has to offer!
About a mile up the road from the Arboretum proper is their Apple House, which they proudly proclaim is the "Home of the Honeycrisp"! I don't know if you've had the pleasure of a freshly picked Honeycrisp, but there's a reason this one is all the rage. DELICIOUS. And it was created right here, by the University of Minnesota. Enjoy!
I don't really tire of apple things, so we got some more, and I even ran into a Spartan alumni, Tami Anderson! Rounded out by a burger at the Lion's Tap, and this was about as perfect of a fall day as one could have here in Minnesota. Thanks, Arboretum!
And now ... a little break back to Dogtown for Blogtown! CANNOT WAIT. Love.
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