Carolyn L. Braun (

Meandering home …

Yesterday we had a Saturday morning meeting near Northfield. As luck (or skill) would have it, the meeting finished in less than 2 hours. We were expecting much longer. Rather than just get back in the Jeep and drive back home (about 100 miles), we decided to meander home. We took roads that were generally in the direction of home, but far more scenic than the interstate and some through areas we had not been through for years. Much of the conversation including phrases such as “I remember when…” and “Oh, look, the buildings are gone” or “Wow, this has changed.”

Following are several photos I shot – from the car. Neither of us was up to walking. Nonetheless, I think they capture the essence of our day.

First we headed into Dundas to see the effect on the Cannon River because of the recent rains.

Our next stop was a drive through the Rice County Steam and Gas Engines grounds. The group has their annual event with tractors, steam engines and more on Labor Day Weekend. The grounds were empty but the structures also tell a story.

A log cabin on the Rice County Steam and Gas Engine grounds.
The Old Northfield Township Town Hall, relocated to the Rice County Steam and Gas grounds.

Next we headed to Northfield to see the Cannon River levels. On the way, we drove through a few residential neighborhoods, many displaying stately vintage homes. Lots of people were out walking, jogging, or biking. Downtown was quite busy – as you’ll see below. But most importantly, we spotted a popcorn wagon. We can never drive past a popcorn wagon without stopping to get popcorn. Luckily, it was not a long walk and soon we had two big boxes of popcorn. Interestingly, the restored 1918 Model C style popcorn wagon is run by 50 volunteer members of Fifty North, a senior group, in partnership with the Northfield Historical Society. Originally the wagon was horse-drawn. For more information on the popcorn wagon, click here.

Nothing better than popcorn from a popcorn wagon.
Popcorn wagon founder (before FiftyNorth) Vera Johansen with the wagon. Photo courtesy of Johansen’s daugther, Jeanine Landswerk, as published at the link above.
Sights in Northfield

We drove through many towns to our next destination, Trinity Lone Oak Church in Eagan. We have always admired this structure.

The final place where I took photos was in Minneapolis. We came into the town on Hiawatha Aevenue, passing by many older industrial sites. The photos below are from an old mill site.

We then drove to the Cedar Street neighborhood where my husband’s Uncle Fred used to live, years ago. His house is still there and looks much the same. Some things have changed in the neighborhood, but the local neighborhood bar is still there – 50 years later.

This used to be Uncle Fred and Aunt Agnes’ house.
Matt’s Bar. Uncle Fred used to treat the kids to hamburgers and hot beef sandwiches here.

Next, we drove Lake Street in Minneapolis. There were lots of people out, lots of traffic and lots of color. We were in no hurry so we didn’t mind the traffic. It’s funny how easy it is to drive when you have no schedule.

The photo doesn’t quite capture the light from the metallic paint accents. What a fun mural!
More color! And lots of people!

We were still 50 miles from home at this point. We leisurely drove the back roads, from town to town, but didn’t take any more photos. Next time.

In the meantime, take a day and meander.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will return!

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