Author: Lorne D.S.
Date of Trip: August 2009
My wife Carolyn and I flew from Abilene, TX to Kansas City (MCI) and rented a mid-size SUV, a Ford Edge, to be specific. We picked up our good friends in Bonner Springs, KS and hit the road for Minneapolis the next morning. It was right at an 8 hour drive, mostly through the northern half of Missouri, and straight on up through the state of Iowa, on into Minnesota. This route takes you through some of the most picturesque and productive farm country in the entire nation. And, some of the nicest rest stops on the interstate highway system seem to be in Iowa, with the stops located in a manner that services both north and south-bound travelers.
Sure enough, eight hours out of K.C. we were driving into the Minneapolis metropolitan area, making good use of the GPS system on my Blackberry cell phone in order to drive right straight up to the Hilton Hotel, where our reservations were for the next three nights, near the Mall of America. The 3-hour long happy hour, with complimentary drinks and snacks at the Hilton were certainly a welcome pleasure after 8 hours on the road.
The next morning, after a complimentary breakfast we drove another 50 miles, or so, north of Minneapolis to Big Lake, MN to visit some old friends from Missouri, who live in a beautiful home with a huge deck, right on the lake, with a view “to die for” ! After an all-day visit with old friends, discussions about losing snowmobiles through thin ice on the lake in winter, and a great steak dinner at ‘Russels’ it was back to the Hilton for a restful night’s sleep, and preparation for an all day ordeal at the Mall of America.
Even though it was a Sunday for us visiting the mall, it was quite obvious that the locals frequent all areas of the mall, every day of the week. The 580+ stores and all the many entertainment venues and many, many restaurants and eating places inside the mall were quite busy, at least by Abilene, Texas standards, especially for a Sunday. We saw no evidence of a shopping slump or anything that resembled a hint of recession. The Minneapolis economy seems to be doing quite nicely, thank you very much, at the Mall of America. For a (now) mature and established shopping center, the developers have surely scored a “home run” here.
This is a highly recommended visit for anyone who can spare the time and is in the Minneapolis area. The carnival/entertainment area was truly mind-boggling to the sensory perceptions, and seemed almost unbelievable that all of those rides, roller-coaster and everything could actually be there *inside* a mall !
After an all-day affair of serious mall-walking, we once again made our way back to our rooms at the Hilton, for our 3rd and final evening of happy hour drinks and snacks, all for the price of the room, which was just under $100 per night. Upon checking out of our hotel on Monday morning at 9 am, it was back on the road, surveying the greenest farm country and greatest rest stops anywhere on the interstate highway system. 8 hours later we were driving into Kansas City, tired but pleased, for having made the trip, and much wiser for the experience. Carolyn and I turned in the Ford Edge at 11 am the next morning, caught our flight back to Abilene, via DFW, and the trip back to Texas was perfectly uneventful, just the way you always hope for.