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I had some Florida friends up to visit at the beginning of November. It was their first time in Minnesota and they requested a real Minnesota experience. Things like apple picking and corn mazes and snow. So what happened? The very first day they’re here was one of the warmest days we’d had since August.  No joke, temps in the low 70s and generally clear skies. We made the best of it Saturday by lunching outside, hiking in a nature preserve and sampling wine at one of our local wineries (thankfully, the wine wasn’t anywhere near as sweet as that Wisconsin brew we tried a few weeks ago). We took a ton of photos and ignored the pools of sweat that gathered in our lined boots (hey, wear cold weather clothing and the cold weather will follow, right?!).

Sunday, we ventured out to Lake Pepin (similar tracks as when JG’s mom was in town). We drove to Lake City, Minnesota and stopped for apple cider at Rabbit’s Cafe. Then it was on to Wisconsin. We visited the Buena Vista Overlook in Alma but it was too foggy to catch any view of the Mississippi River so we meandered on.  We visited several of the downtown shops lining the main street Alma area and I was inspired by the local art featured in the boutique galleries.  (Note to self, hit up Michael’s Crafts and get busy!)

On the way out of Alma, a deer came running down the adjacent hill and onto the road in front of us. Had we been traveling even 5 mph faster, we would have been hard pressed to avoid a collision.  But as it was, we were able to stop and watch the deer scamper safely across the street and down to the river. Idling on the roadside and watching the deer, the afternoon was beautiful and quiet. A few tiny snow flakes came filtering down, an ephemeral hint of what was to come.

Fast forward to Monday morning, 8:00 AM: a light knock at my bedroom door and then, “Wake up!!! It’s snoooowing!!!!!” I jumped out of bed and raced into the living room to confirm the unbelievable news and oh my, what a vision! White globs of frozen water were whipping and swirling about, accumulating on the balcony chairs and the ground below. My friend and I jumped up and down, squealing like little kids. It was beautiful and exciting and quiet, a really special experience.

And as the blizzard alerts ring out in southern Minnesota tonight, and I put my pjs on inside out and prepare to flush an ice cube down the toilet in the hope of getting a snow day, I know I’ll never forget my first Minnesota snow fall.