Happiness Is … Meeting Gracious People

Jan 2016 Happiness Is Travel SnapshotsIn 2016, I am starting a new monthly photo project called, “Happiness Is …,” a focus on stories that bring joy to my life.

For New Year’s Eve, Husband and I decided to drive Highway 61 and see what we could find along the way. After rambling from Minnesota to Wisconsin, we ended up in Dubuque, Iowa for the night.

Dubuque’s Main Street was active with college students ready to party, but Husband noticed an establishment a block away from the activity that looked more our speed for a post-dinner cocktail. We decided to check it out.

The Lounge was nearly empty when we walked in, but quickly began to fill with locals who knew the bartenders, particularly “Mary,” a tiny white-haired woman who could barely see over the bar rail. She turned out to be the owner.

When Mary learned that we were from Minnesota, and had picked her bar over the rest because it looked like a place we would meet friendly people, she wanted to give us something to remember her by. Mary proceeded to reach into the cooler, set this small milk jug on the bar, and give us her knock-out smile.

“Apple Pie” is Mary’s homemade liqueur, and without much effort you can taste warm apples and a crumbled brown sugar topping. Her gift was gracious and kind, and not quickly to be forgotten.

Little Log House Pioneer Village

Little Log House Pioneer Village

This scene was the most current recreation of a-day-in-the-life-of-Minnnesotans I saw at the Little Log House Pioneer Village over the weekend. Calling all cars! Find out more about the history of this property in Hastings, Minnesota, which has 45 historic buildings saved from demolition.

Between Bemidji and Grand Forks …

  … you pass through Shevlin, Minneosta. A town with a few churches, a liquor store, a general store and this antique roadside attraction. 

Wisconsin Cherries

 The cherry trees in Door County, Wisconsin are in full bloom, and so lovely this time of year. This was taken at Seaquist Orchards in Fish Creek, where husband and I sampled the goods and bought cherry pie for the road. 

Inside Out Lowertown


Inside-Out-Lowertown-Colleen-McGuireIn the Lowertown art district of Saint Paul, Minn., a new outdoor exhibit is on display, and involves much of the community that calls Lowertown home. Inside Out Lowertown features artists and culture makers who live and/or work in the neighborhood. Lowertown touts having the largest concentration of artist live/work studios in the United States, so it is only fitting that the project has sprinkled over 175 photographs of the artists outside, on their warehouse studio spaces.