Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Lighting

This afternoon we walked down the street and across the road to the entrance of the Science Museum parking ramp and then took the elevator up the 8 stories to the city level. We headed to Rice Park for the Christmas tree lighting. Rice Street has been called one of the most beautiful parks in the United States. I have always thought so, and it's nice to have one's judgment affirmed by an outside source.

It is one city block square and surrounded on all four sides by very beautiful buildings. To the north is Landmark Center. This building started in 1901 as the Federal Building, held everything from courts to a place to become a citizen to a place yet to file a land grant. There is sort of a joke that Saint Paul still has such a beautiful building because it was too slow to do urban renewal in the 1960s. Now the building holds museums and non-profits.
Landmark Center

To the west is the Ordway Theater.

To the south is Central Library.

On the east is the Saint Paul Hotel, but I really never got a good photo of that today. In the summer there is a beautiful English garden in the front of the hotel. Now the garden is full of Christmas trees. Here is my older daughter by one of the trees. One can tell that the wind was blowing just a bit!!

We also saw Santa
and horse carriages

and smelled the Kettle Corn

Elena really enjoys watching ice skating but the TV today was all football all the time. So she was happy when we found the ice rink and found a skating exhibition as part of the opening of the rink for the season.

We went into Landmark Center mostly to warm up a bit. Oh, the noise! Lowe's was sponsoring an opportunity for kids to make a Christmas ornament. The sound of about 50 children hammering was quite something.

Back out into the park we saw singers and dancers and then finally the tree lighting. If you  listen carefully, you can hear the countdown. The tree was donated by a St. Paul couple. This must be a tree that no longer fits the yard or field in which it is growing. You can glimpse it -- look for the blue tree - but enjoy the fireworks, too.

Above a picture of the tree taken from in front of the library. Altogether there are 20,000 LED lights in the park. It's quite a display.

Walking back home we found a hard north wind blowing in our face. We decided to walk on the river side of the buildings to see if they could block the wind a bit. It was dark now, for it was a bit after 6 PM. We met a woman walking two dogs and suddenly she said, "I know you." Turns out to be one of my former colleagues from the my time at the Minnesota Department of Health.

An interesting afternoon!

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