August 17, 2012 by Melissa
I cannot believe that it’s the middle of August already but there is still enough summer to get out and have an adventure or two before school starts and fall descends here in Minnesota or wherever you may be. I cannot believe it took us this long to discover the historic trolley rides here in the Twin Cities. There are two running lines that you can ride on. Check out these museums on wheels at www.trolleyride.org. We took the Harriet-Como Streetcar line with our two girls on a lovely summer day a few weeks ago. The station is located across the street from the Lake Harriet Band Shell. The trolleys run every 15 minutes and last, unsurprisingly, about 15 minutes. Tickets were $2 each for Chris and I, Lucy and Alice were free (all kids 3 and under are free), so for a whopping $4 we had an adventure that Lucy is still talking about.
The ride goes from Lake Harriet to Lake Calhoun and back again and is run by volunteers who offer historic contexts throughout the ride and are really lovely people. The historic advertisements inside the cars are worth the ticket price alone for history/culture buffs like me. The trolley system ran on over 500 miles of track in the twin cities between the 1880s and 1950s. For further reading check out Twin Cities by Trolley by John Diers and Aaron Isaacs (non-fiction) or some of Stanley Gordon West’s titles (for fiction).
After the trolley ride, there are kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, even paddle boards for rent on the shore behind the bandshell on Lake Harriet. There’s also a fabulous restaurant, Bread and Pickle that opened last year that serves food made from local ingredients. It’s usually busy there but the lines are quick moving and the food and price worth the wait. Make a day out of it-get some food, watch some sailing, hit the water, and experience some local history. Free parking is plentiful in the streets around the lake but be mindful of time of day when you go. The trolley museum also has special events throughout the year, like riding the train with Santa Claus at Christmas. They even offer a bonfire, hot cider and fixins for s’mores. How fantastic is that?