How do you spend $100 Bucks? $100 Smackaroos?
Last weekend’s impromptu road trip to the Twin Cities, had a tight budget. The Cities to the locals. St. Paul and Minneapolis are a tourist’s dream for a quick weekend,offering up something for everyone and every budget. For our first day we challenged ourselves to stick to $100 for the day’s food and entertainment.
Here’s how we spent our crisp Benjamin Franklin on our Saturday break from reality. Brunch, dinner, a show… and a gorgeous night view of the Cities.
Our Saturday got off to a late start proving perfect for a brunch time arrival. We headed straight to The Neighborhood Cafe at the recommendation of a friend. Split the Farmer’s Breakfast; hash browns with grilled onions and scrambles, smothered in cheese, yes please. We added a cornbread pancake with honey butter for good measure. Since we had powered up on java for the car ride we re-hydrated with water and saved a few bucks, and my nerves from over stimulation.
After brunch we wandered around the shops of Selby. Plenty of eye candy here; kitsch at Patina, delicate lingerie at Flirt and sustainable clothing at Spoils of Wear, not to mention an adorable shop Pug named Daisy. Window shopping is free, tiny disclaimer we circled back on Sunday and picked up a couple trinkets, shopping not included in our $100 budget.
In the dressing room at one of the shops we overhear chatter from some college students about the play tonight at the Guthrie so I peek my head out “are you going to the Guthrie?” I ask “yes!” declares a red haired maven, “are you?” “We are, we have never been, should we dress up?” I was not prepared to be schooled by this lovely, bright eyed theater major, but I respectfully took it because why didn’t I already assume the Guthrie would have an air of class, it ain’t my first rodeo kids. The first time I sat in such a grand auditorium my patent leather Mary Janes didn’t touch the floor.
“Well, I mean some people wear jeans, but it’s the Guthrie and it is indecent, I mean the play of course is Indecent, by the legendary Paula Vogel!” she is brimming with enthusiasm and I realize this is one of those reasons I travel, to meet people who surprise you, even in the slightest ways, that change your perspective and reignite your own excitement for the finer things like theater and reasons to dress up and show up.
We smile, thank her and scurry off.
Just a quick drive to check into our hotel and get all gussied up for the Guthrie. Everything is connected to a highway in the Minneapolis metro, both convenient and unnerving when Wilma is at the wheel. I sync up to GPS to get us only almost lost, and the Dude plays co-pilot and reroutes us.
A co-pilot is great for calming anxiety, managing playlists and making you snort coffee out your nose while driving. I highly recommend taking one along for these mini road trips. It’s even better if it is said co-pilot’s Birthday and you can give them the memorable experience of having a full on car ride panic attack. Seriously she should consider being a hostage negotiator, okay maybe a motivational speaker. She reasons with me, I reason with Wilma and soon we are making our way across from the parking garage to the Guthrie Theater.
As we enter we chat with a sage couple, they are dressed to the nines, the Dude holds the door for them, “why thank you, where are you ladies from?” says the Mrs.
I don’t catch her name, but I hope it’s Celia or Bea.
“Iowa” the Dude chimes in “it’s our first time to the Guthrie.”
“Well this particular play is rather provocative, has a bit of a reputation.” our new friend says with a wry smile.
“Oh good, so do we!” I say and we share a collective chuckle as we head to find our seats.
The Guthrie is every bit as grand as the theater major let on earlier, and Indecent justly provocative and moving. Do yourself a favor and read up on this masterpiece and see it on purpose, not by happy accident.
On our way out we are flagged down by Nancy who is here with a traveling theater group from Firehall Theatre in Grand Forks, I had dropped my ticket stub and she hurried to catch us so I didn’t lose this all important souvenir. It’s Nancy’s first time at the Guthrie too, and she tells us they are set to see The Humans and Mr Rogers Neighborhood while in the Cities. We exchange info and bid her farewell as she runs to catch up with her friends. “Have a blast!” she says with gusto.
When you are at the Guthrie you must go to the observation deck and take in the view. We found it haphazardly when wandering. It might have been the wind and cold, but seeing the Dude, her grown up self staring in awe at that city view caught me in my throat, and I hoped for a second I could freeze time and not just my toes.
“Woo, it’s freezing, but it sure is beautiful, thanks mom” she says as we snap a selfie.
“Hungry?” I ask, “starving!” she says.
We drive right past the exit for the 5 to 8 Club, you can see it just as you miss it and we wave then loop around down the side streets picking which house we’d buy if we moved here. I have sent Wilma to bed early and for the first time in a long time, I relax.
“Two classics please” we order and as we wait we reminisce over our day. How the play was nothing like we expected and everything we needed. Then the people we were meant to meet. How not having a plan is actually the best plan.
When the waitress brings our Juicy Lucys she warns us to wait before we take our first bite “or it’ll bite ya back if you know what I mean.” she says.
“Oh my gawd, great idea!” I say with my mouth full of melty, cheesy goodness.
“Great day” says my co-pilot, “I love our adventures”
“Me too, Happy Birthday Dude.”
Until next time,
Cities $100 Saturday Budget
Neighborhood Cafe Brunch w/ tip $18.00
Two Tix to the Guthrie Theatre $56.00
Two Classic Juicy Lucy’s at 5 to 8 Club w/tip $25.00
Grand total $99