They say you can’t go back.
Sometimes you can.
For Jake, this was his first trip back to Fargo since we lived there eight years ago. I’ve returned a couple of times since. Fargo was our home for two years, the first of several job transfers and first time away from home. Well, home-home. Our original home.
At first, I hated living in Fargo. Everything was different and felt smaller. There was that little toll bridge I kept finding at and train tracks that criss-crossed the city. By the end of our two years, we made good friends and found our favorite places. Leaving felt bittersweet.
I had the most boring happy hour birthday crawl by myself in San Francisco.
I’m a lightweight which makes any type of bar crawl impossible.
On my birthday I found myself in San Francisco alone. I flew out mid-day with Jake meeting me after a work conference later that night.
My grand plan was to wander around the general vicinity of my hotel and happy hour hop.
San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. The rent and property prices are insane. It’s not unusual to see happy hour cocktails go for $12. This is unheard of in the Twin Cities. Despite the high cost of living, there are plenty of more affordable food and beverage options around the city.
Here are a few happy hour specials we found within walking distance of Union Square.
I felt more at ease during our trip to San Francisco than I have on any other trip. Here’s the reason why:
We winged most of it. Our travel plans always revolve around meals. Usually I do a lot of research about restaurants and make a list of must-eats. This is not to say I didn’t compile a list this time; However; I didn’t insist we stick to it this time.
One morning we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s like the Navy Pier of San Francisco. I expected to waltz through quickly, but we ended up having so much fun we shrugged and stayed for a while. Instead of rushing to the next place on my list, we let a couple of them go. It felt good not to race and enjoy being in the moment.
When you tell someone you’re going to San Francisco, they’re probably going to say something like, “Hey, you should go to Fisherman’s Wharf!”
The Li Po Lounge is a mood.
The inside is dimly lit and there is no food. Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine” hummed in the background, followed by Puddle of Mud’s “Blurry.”
The sign advertising the signature Mai Thai listed three types of rum, “Chinese Liquor” and pineapple juice. “Are we supposed to pick one of the rums?” I asked Jake. “No, it includes them all.”
Bourdain featured Li Po Lounge in his San Francisco episode of The Layover. Toasting him in a place that he loved with a drink that he liked felt very important. This Mai Tai here felt more like a quest.
Disclosure: The Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreational Area and The Drive In Restaurant portions of this post has been sponsored by the St. Croix Valley. We paid for our own meals at The Vegetarian.
Spending a day at an aerial challenge course is not something I would have ever chosen to do on my own.
Earlier this spring, the St. Croix Valley invited me to visit the area, sending me a package of gift certificates and brochures to provide trip ideas.
One of the items provided tickets to try the aerial challenge courses or zipline tours at Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreational Area which functions as a ski resort in the winter.
I invited two friends to try the Aerial Challenge Courses at Trollhaugen. The course consists of over 100 platforms arranged in six courses ranging in five difficulty levels. Two of us were less comfortable with heights while the other was not bothered.
Because of the time it takes to gear up and learn how to use the equipment, guests should make reservations. Each admission fee includes three hours on the course. Reservations also ensure that the courses don’t become overcrowded. We arrived for the first tour slot at 10 a.m.