Rochester, Minnesota is a city that surprised me. I expected a tiny town with nothing to do...but found an active place with a peppy, modern downtown.
The heartbeat of this Minnesota city (which is just 1.5 hours south of Minneapolis) is the Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit medical group and medical research group. Mayo Clinic Rochester employs approximately 30,000 people, roughly 30% of the population. Known for innovative care, cutting edge research, and putting patients first, Mayo Clinic maintains its high level of care by keeping doctors on salary. Interestingly, many of our U.S. presidents have either been patients at or trustees for Mayo.
We spent a fair share of time downtown, a lively place with restaurants, shops, hospitals, music, and festivals every Thursday in the summer. There is a two-story Barnes & Noble that is housed in a historic theater - a great nook for reading and wandering.
On Thursday evening, I met up with blogger Jenny Nash for a Girls Night Out at Jasper's Alsatian Bistro, where we shared a pizza topped with caramelized onions & applewood bacon. We chatted the night away for 3 1/2 hours! Jenny is a gem - smart, fun, thoughtful, and gorgeous at 7 months pregnant.
On Friday, our family took a spin on Silver Lake in an electric paddleboat with our 4-year-old as the driver. Afterward, we oohed and awed at Jenpachi Japanese Steakhouse, where the chefs create mouthwatering dishes on a stainless steel flat stove in front of you. Our girls were frightened at first by the fire, but then enjoyed the show immensely. The fried rice was especially outstanding.
Have you ever been to Rochester, MN? What did you like/not like about it?
* Special thanks to the Rochester MN Convention & Visitors Bureau for providing a campground spot and passes to area attractions.