We live in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” (actually closer to 12,000). Did you know that means we have more shoreline than California, Hawaii, and Florida…COMBINED?! That’s a lot of shoreline! We also have a hefty chunk of the Great Lake Superior along our border. We are spoiled for lakes.
I’ve been fortunate to travel quite a bit and while many (if not most) of the world’s major cities have waterfront, few actually encompass whole lakes. Cities have long been built on rivers and ports, but we have entire lakes within our city limits.
There’s something else I’ve always loved about our city lakes. Once upon a time, when our ancestors were envisioning what our city might become, someone decided or agreed NOT to build right on the lakefront. Imagine Lake Calhoun if it had been a private oasis just for home owners. I don’t know the history of the details of how or when this decision happened (Note to self: research project!) but I love the shared dynamic of our city lakes!
When I talk about the “city lakes” I do tend to mean Calhoun, Harriet, and Isles. But Minneapolis also has Nokomis, Cedar, and probably more. St. Paul has Como and Phalen and again, probably more. But I admit a bias toward the Calhoun/Harriet/Isles chain of lakes. I grew up in St. Louis Park, just a few blocks from the border of Minneapolis and not much further to Lake Calhoun. I have fond memories of biking and walking the lakes with my friends and family, or just enjoying it by myself.
In the summer, our lakes are bustling with walkers, runners, bikers, and roller bladers. That’s not including the concerts and movies at Lake Harriet Bandshell, or the dining at Tin Fish on Lake Calhoun. In the winter the activity changes to ice skating, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing. No matter the season – our lakes are centers of socializing and recreation.
I am thankful for these amazing resources, so close and accessible. I’m thankful for the out state lakes too, where we can go “up north” and escape for a weekend. But this is a blog about our Twin Cities and the bounty we have at our doorstep. From downtown to the beach, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump.