Carlson’s Llovable Llamas

Carlsons LLovable Llamas Waconia Minnesota

This past weekend I braved the rain, grabbed a hot cocoa and headed out to hug some Llamas at Carlson’s Llovable Llamas in Waconia. It has become an annual tradition to tour the farm during their open house. A fun, unique experience for kids and adults alike where you can learn, interact, feel and even walk Llamas.  Because they are social, friendly and gentle animals, kids totally love them. So much so that they have an “adopt-a-llama” program and you can even have a Llama birthday party! Carlson’s is great because they offer opportunities for education and hands-on involvement. More than fifty 4-H members lease, train and help tend Carlson llamas through the spring and summer to show at the county and state fairs. They also sell compost, Llama yarn, raw wool, stuffed Llama toys, even hand-painted ornaments! You can even pick up an “I hugged a Llama at Carlson’s Llovable Llamas” t-shirt!

coup d’état

Unfortunately, on the Minnesota Bucket List sometimes instead of introducing you to a new place I end up telling you that one is bidding farewell. Soon to be replaced by a new Pourhouse, Uptown’s Coup d’ e’tat is a stunning, upscale restaurant that includes both upper and lower levels, spanning over an incredible 9000 square feet. Hands-down one of the largest restaurants I’ve ever been in.  With a stellar location, close to Stella’s Fish Cafe, Calhoun Square and the Lagoon Cinema,  Coup d’ E’tat has become a fixture on Restaurant Week, attracting trendy clientele with its excellent presentation and outdoor patio seating on both floors that overlooks Lagoon Avenue.

The phrase “coup d’etat” typically refers to a violent government overthrow,  rebellion, revolution, uprising. Fitting for a place that is reminiscent of a pre-colonial hideout. With its dark lit, stunning ambiance, elegant furnishings and sparkling chandeliers, the restaurant is best known for their one of a kind and unique cocktails, for which it made Food & Wine magazine’s list of Best Cocktail Bars in the United States.  Serving everything from creative pasta dishes, bacon popcorn, Arctic Char, cheese curds, succotash, tempura battered frog legs to bone marrow with gremolata, Coup d’ e’tat has something for everyone.

Opening just a short time ago in 2014, it is set to close Oct 1st ,2017. That’s right, tomorrow. If it is anything like the Pourhouse Downtown, you can expect a nightclub atmosphere with concerts and dance parties. If you would like to catch a glimpse of Coup d’etat and experience it for yourself, get it fast before this icon is closed!

The Dead End Hayride

Before I say anything, I should tell you that I love Halloween. Everything spooky, frightful, gloomy, cobweb-covered and pumpkin-y. That includes haunted and scary. This is why I decided to check out The Dead End Hayride in Wyoming, MN. Located in the back woods of Pinehaven Farm, DEH is known for their over-the-top pyrotechnics, explosions, risk-taking fog, strobe and fire effects. The ultimate horror interactive experience.  Yep, interactive. You are part of the show and they can touch, grab at, and even pet you.

It is one of the most intense, terror experiences that you will find in Minnesota.  The attraction itself comes in three parts; the haunted hayride, the haunted trail, and the haunted cornfield. It starts with a slow hayride down the Departed Oaks Haunted Trail where you’ll encounter all the ghouls and monsters who roam the woods. If you can make it through the fire, brimstone and the occasional serial killer with a chainsaw, you’ll be dropped off at the Sunnyvale Asylum. Deep into the woods, you spend the next hour trying to find your way back. Through cornfields, demented circus amusements, a butcher shop, mazes, the winding catacombs, a dollhouse and even a motel, while some of the most iconic horror characters come to life, and come after you.

It is scary, so I would suggest not bringing children. Other helpful hints; buy tickets online and opt for the VIP. People come from all over to experience all things gloom-and-doom. While there is a large projector playing scary movies and music videos, it can make for exceptionally long lines with wait times upwards of 3 hours. Even if you end up waiting, it’s totally worth it. Check out their trailers below to get the full experience! 

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Countryside Restaurant of Motley

If you love breakfast as much as I do, you may already know about Countryside Restaurant of Motley. If not, let me tell you about it. Big, fluffy, plate-sized pancakes, hashbrowns servings fit for a hungry trucker, hot coffee that keeps on coming, and that’s just the tip of the morning meal figurative iceberg. Breakfast isn’t all they serve up. Known for their bacon burgers, hot meatloaf sandwiches and and turtle cheesecake – they have something for everyone.  I’d come back for their pickle fries alone. I really love the place. It is family-style, with diner/supper club atmosphere. If you are headed up north, this solid sit-down is worth a stop. Have you ever been here before?