Trial Balloon

A Walk In The Park

Posted at 5:00 AM on September 28, 2009 by Dale Connelly (17 Comments)

We have tickets to give away for the Americana Showcase at the Rochester Civic Theater this coming Wednesday night, September 30th. Guests will be Nashville songwriters Sally Barris, Don Henry and from the band Six Mile Grove, Lyle, Minnesota native and artificial limb-builder Brandon Sampson.

Enter the drawing. Obey the Rules. Good Luck.

The much anticipated Ken Burns series on the History of our National Parks began on PBS last night, making good use of music by local favorite Peter Ostroushko.

Mr. Ostroushko performed with Dan Chouinard for the opening of a regional park in the Twin Cities this past Saturday. Silverwood Park is the newest addition to the Three Rivers Park District.

Silverwood Path small.jpg

Located on the site of the former Salvation Army Camp on the north side of Silver Lake in St. Anthony, it is minutes from downtown Minneapolis and has been created with a mission - to be a place where nature and art intermingle.
I took a walk through the park Sunday morning.
It is certainly beautiful.

Silverwood Art small.jpg


Part of the plan includes "art circles" along the walking / biking path. This sculpture rotates with the wind and seems to take inspiration from those helicopter seeds that are so entertaining to watch as they fall and spin, although this could also serve as a winged breastplate for some boisterous Viking maiden. Or a delicate mask for some grand soiree. Or perhaps it represents a pair of glowing alien eyeballs topped by alarming, otherworldly eyebrows?

Silverwood Tree 2.jpg

Walking through a park in the pristine early hours of morning, taking pictures of trees as you go is a pleasant enough pastime. Taking pictures of trees with pictures of trees hanging from the tree branches - that's unusual, but fun. With the wind blowing, all these photos were in motion.

Is there a national, state, regional or city park that you would recommend as a great place for an autumn visit?


Comments (17)

Lovely pictures, Dale! We'll have to check out Silverwood Park before it gets cold. I'm interested to hear everyone's responses. I'm itching to take a little autumn mini-vacation. When I was in college, my roommates and I spent a beautiful weekend up at Gooseberry Falls state park. Until it rained, that is, and water came rushing in my side of the tent. The other girls stayed dry, I hear; I spent the rest of the night in the car, waiting for the sun to come up so we could go home and I could change into dry clothes. Rain notwithstanding, I would definitely recommend it!

Posted by Lora | September 28, 2009 5:37 AM


Jay Cooke, on 210 east of Carlton, MN has beautiful trails and a gorgeous chasm. and i've only been to "The Lost Forty" once but i ache to go back again.
imho, the north shore parks, especially near the big lake, don't have much color. once needs to go a bit inland to the maples, oaks and the beautiful dark green of the spruce to contrast with the yellows of the birch and aspen. but from the overlooks when you climb (i think it is) Moose Mountain up near Tofte, the views are magnificent.
51 degrees here this morning with forecasts for low thirties by tuesday morning.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | September 28, 2009 6:15 AM


I second Barb in Blackhoof's recommendation for Jay Cooke. I was there Saturday and the trees haven't peaked yet, so if this wind doesn't blow all the leaves off, it should be super viewing by next weekend.

Low Thirties, Barb? Eek..I should have brought my house plants in from my screen porch yesterday instead of/while testing goat cheese....!

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | September 28, 2009 6:45 AM


That looks like an amazing park, Dale. Can't wait til my next trip to the cities so I can hound Lora to take me there.

My recommendation is that where ever you are this time of year, when you see trees in color, stop and smell the roses because you never know - this could be your last fall.

Happy Monday all!

Posted by Donna | September 28, 2009 6:54 AM


i think the parks that are killer parks in the fall are the same ones that are likker parks in the summer and winter but you need to be there. yellowstone is a favorite that is exceptional in the fall not so much becathe colors of fall are great) but because of all the elk rooting calls and the movement of the buffalo, birds and the feeling that you can sense the change of the seasons. it a 16 hr drive from here but if yu hang a left at billings and go in through the beartooth pass you have taken the most beautiful drive in the united states. get your timing right the pas closes from november 1 until may 1 due to way too much snow. it is an amazing part of this country. i like to drive through teddy roosevelt national monument on the north dakota montana border on the way there. it is exceptional and a mini grand canyon that my kids love on the way to the real mountains in montana.
i missed the first episode of the national parks show but i am sure i will catch it on the replay. i am so looking forard to this series, baseball, jazz and the war were great but i am really looking forward to national parks.

Posted by tim | September 28, 2009 7:12 AM


Barb and Lora, I had made a pitch for Jay Cooke, too, but I linked the text to the website, causing my comment to get caught in limbo awaiting moderator approval. I love that park, too!

Posted by elinor | September 28, 2009 7:16 AM


Good Morning!

We like to take our dogs for a walk in Crow Hassan (Three Rivers Park), in Hassan twnshp, (the last remaining twnshp in Hennepin County), located between Rogers & St. Michael. It is prairie, woods, and river all in one!

Posted by Kathy | September 28, 2009 7:21 AM


Thanks for the suggestions so far, everyone.
If this were a poll, Jay Cooke would be winning by far. If it were the Afghan election, I think Silverwood would still be in front.
But it's not a contest.
One thing to remember about Silverwood, though - it's a small park (the trail is only about a mile long), and the art work will come down as the weather turns. But the visitor center is new and fabulous. You can get a beverage at the coffee shop and sit by the fire on a wintry day, or out on the patio if the weather is mild.

Posted by Dale Connelly | September 28, 2009 7:27 AM


This state is filled with state parks and other parks that have good places to walk. I don't know which ones are good for fall color.

I like fall colors, but I don't make a special effort to go any place to see them. I'm know for my "bah, hum bug" additude regarding fall color tours. It seems to me that fall colors can be seen in most areas of the state, but I guess some places are better than others.

Posted by Jim | September 28, 2009 7:30 AM


Living a block away from Minnehaha Creek, I'm a little spoiled. It's lovely along the creek most any time of year (even years like this one where there hasn't been much "creek" in the creek).

I doubt the Arboretum counts as a park, but if it did, I'd put a plug in for the Arboretum. Not only does it have lovely trees and plants, it's just down the road from the U of M apple barn. Yum.

Posted by Anna | September 28, 2009 7:34 AM


i forgot about lonsdale in the rochester corner of the state for the fall colors. blow your face off if you hit the right weekend. incredibly beautiful even if you don't. the town is basically a park. it is there serving the same capacity. there is a place called eagles nest that is an outdoor center that is very scenic and cool but the whole area is worth visiting

Posted by tim | September 28, 2009 8:08 AM


Ditto everything mentnioned so far. The Rose Garden area at Lake Harriet (South Minnepolis) actually hosts a series of flower gardens, including a Peace Garden; there's a walking trail through a wildlife sanctuary; and then you can walk around the lake. We've been there several times this summer taking people to nightly outdoor concerts at the L. H. Bandshell... One of the amazing things about the Twin Cities is how much green space was set aside for public parks and trails; what a way to live in a city!

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | September 28, 2009 8:36 AM


morning, all!

i'm with you, jim--i don't usually go "looking" for fall color, but enjoy it when i see it. zion national park this last weekend was lovely, but the color changes of brush and shrubs was subtle. Great color to me is always the red maples...

cool new park for the twin cities! i visited a larger "art park" in the lake district of England some years ago (Grizedale Forest Park) and loved the mix of sculpture and hiking....but there wasn't a wintertime coffeeshop with fireplace, i don't think!

Posted by Kay H in Utah | September 28, 2009 8:36 AM


Myre-Big Island State Park just east of Albert Lea has both wooded and grassland areas for a fall variety.

One of our wooded city parks will host the Big Island Rendezvous this coming weekend - Saturday and Sunday. I think this is its 22nd year. If you'd like more info, here's a link:

Big Island Rendezvous

Have a good Monday everyone.

Posted by Mike in Albert Lea | September 28, 2009 8:38 AM


Two recommendations:
First, in my birthplace of Sandstone, just north of Hinckley (Tobies anyone?) there is a wonderful park that used to be where one one of the quarries was located. It's called Robinson Park. Some rock climbers scale up the sheer quarry wall, some hike along the trails, others just sit and watch the Kettle River flow by. Very small, secluded, and peaceful.

Second, my hometown of Duluth sports several wonderful parks. And while I love Enger Tower and its surrounding park, there's one that is stunning and relatively unknown. Behind the College of St. Scholastica is a sizeable patch of woods. There are a few trails that network them. One set of trails leads to a stunning overlook of the entire valley behind the College. When the colors are in season, it is magnificent to exit the woods at the edge of a cliff and see the entire valley leading to Lake Superior literally materialize right before your eyes. I was always told that it's called The Valley of Silence. I don't think it's an actual 'park' but it's an amazing place to sit and meditate.

Posted by That Guy in the Hat | September 28, 2009 8:48 AM


Theodore Roosevelt National Park is pretty awsome this time of year. It has wide open range, real badlands, and absolute solitude, plus horse riding, walking, and biking trails through really rugged country. It is not commercialized in the way the South Dakota Badlands are. We also have mountain lions, bighorn sheep, mule deer, wild mustangs, elk, prairie dogs, and bison.

Posted by Renee | September 28, 2009 11:33 AM


Silverwood park makes a great impression for a "new" park so close to the heart of the city. It can't compete with many of the other outstate parks, but still sitting on the Silverwood island watching the sunset these last few weeks has been fabulous.

So Silverwood is our favorite since we can go there after dinner and walk the dog.

I can't wait until they finish it with more art installations and more landscaping.

Posted by DanT | September 28, 2009 12:56 PM


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