Candlelight Experience

If you are looking for something unique to do, I encourage you to check out a Candlelight concert. Each concern is an intimate, sensory experience through dim-lit ambiance and classical music set in a backdrop of an iconic sanctuary.


I attended the Halloween compositions in which the exceptionally talented Listeso String Quartet. They played familiar Halloween favorites like “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Funeral March of a Marionette” by Charles Gounod, “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saëns, and beloved movie scores such as Stranger Things, Beetlejuice, The Addams Family, Halloween, Psycho, Ghostbusters, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Harry Potter. 

If frightful classics are less your thing, they have other upcoming options that may fit your preference such as anime themes, film scores, and Hollywood epics, and Vivaldi. 

Find more about Candleight here

European Christmas Market

Another tradition to add to your holiday docket; The European Christmas Market in St. Paul.

Located on the East Plaza of Union Depot, it is a traditional, charming, and festive open-air Market that is reminiscent of the Cologne Christmas Market in Germany, the Tuomaan Markkinat in Helsinki, the Viennese Dream Christmas Market and Salzburg Christkindlmarkt in Austria, the Christmas in Tivoli in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Christkindesmäkir in Strasbourg, France.

Filled with swoon-worthy sweets like crepes and roasted nuts, and savory like potato pancakes with applesauce or sour cream and chives, you can grab something you like and peruse the shops of handmade trinkets, baubles, decor, gifts, and new loves.

If you aren’t afraid to bundle up and head outdoors to do your shopping, add a Christmas Market to your holiday bucket list!

Past Markets: 2017 and 2018 .

The 72nd Annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener in Albert Lea

This year, Albert Lea hosted the Minnesota Governors Fishing Opener. Now in its 72nd year, it is the kickoff to the Minnesota summer tourism season.

The #MNGFO has been a tradition in since 1948. Put on through the partnership of Explore Minnesota Tourism and the host community, the event helps to showcase the city and surrounding towns.

This year, I was able to explore; one of the largest intact historic districts in Minnesota, downtown Albert Lea, the Brookside Boathouse (posted), The Blazing Star State Trail, Myre-Big Island State Park (posted), Freeborn County Historical Museum, and of course Fountain Lake for the actual fishing.

The weekend full of events culminated in a community picnic downtown the night prior to the opener.

This was the first year hosted by Governor Tim Walz, and only the fifth time in history was held south of the Twin Cities, and the first since Fairmont in 1987.

As part of the ceremony, we heard speeches from leaders in the local host community as well as from State Senator Dan Sparks, Minnesota House of Representatives Peggy Bennett, and concluding with Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan.

The next morning, we headed out on Fountain to follow the friendly competition between Walz and Flanagan with Flanagan quickly coming out victorious. Better luck next year for the Governor.

A bit about Albert Lea; The city is named after Albert Miller Lea, a topographer with the United States Dragoons, who surveyed southern Minnesota and northern Iowa in 1835, including the current site of Albert Lea.

Famously, Captain Nathan Boone, a son of Daniel Boone, was the scout for Lea’s unit.

Albert Lea is at the junction of Interstates 35 and 90, about 90 miles south of the Twin Cities. It is also known as “The Land Between the Lakes” as it is nestled between Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake.

Notable people from Albert Lea include; Rockabilly musician Eddie Cochran (composer of “Summertime Blues” and “Twenty Flight Rock”); Actress Marion Ross (Happy Days); Former Washington Redskins general manager Vinny Cerrato; Former radio voice of the Houston Rockets, Gene Peterson; Tom Brown (Canadian football), Minnesota Golden Gophers and BC Lions football star; Richard Carlson, (who is my favorite of the Albert Lea-er’s) a writer, director and actor, best known to movie fans of ’50 sci-fi and horror; starring roles include The Magnetic Monster (1953), Riders to the Stars (1954), It Came from Outer Space (1953), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); and John A. Lovely, Minnesota Supreme Court justice.

The post is brought to you by Explore Minnesota but all opinions are my own. #onlyinmn #MNGFO2019 #EXPLOREALBERTLEA

Miracle at Lawless Distillery

If you love kitschy holiday décor and themed drinks, make your way to Lawless Distillery this month.

Lawless is the only place in Minnesota where you will find Miracle, a holiday-themed pop-up bar.
Originally launched in 2014 in New York City, Miracle has become an annual tradition for restaurants and bars all over the world and has taken over this otherwise quaint and charming Seward neighborhood distillery, delivering all kinds of holiday magic!

The Christmas-themed pop-up includes crazy, over-the-top, nostalgic decorations (+2,000 ornaments from the rafters!), and charmingly festive cocktails.

Where else could you order a “And a Partridge in a Pear Tree”, “Jingle Balls Nog”, or “A Snowball Old Fashioned” in festive glassware?! The monthlong celebration runs from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.

The monthlong celebration runs from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.