Last night my valentine and I decided to go to the History Center to view the 1968 exhibit before it leaves town. We knew it might be a little busy as Tuesdays are free admission nights, but thought the special night might keep other Valentine revelers away. Nope, the line to get into their parking ramp was out to the street, so we turned around and spent a quiet evening in front of the fire watching a movie (Midnight in Paris, which is lovely, funny and romantic) enjoying gorgeous flowers from Sarah at Serendipity in Milton Square and delicious chocolates from Chocolat Celeste at their new location over near the Amtrak Station. Mary Leonard continues to make some of the best chocolate in the area and I also got a bag of her powdered sugar and toffee covered almonds which really rocked the taste buds. 

When you think about it, our neighborhood is perfect for these kinds of celebrations: easy to get around and filled with great shops and restaurants which understand hospitality. In fact, when you think of cozy, fine dining spots in the Metro, Muffuletta and Biaggio's have to be at the top of anyone's list. Okay, I have to keep going here in the tops category. You all know I'm a homer, but seriously, think "best of"...bookstore: Micawbers; gift shop: Bibelot; Children's: Pea Pods; breakfast/lunch: how about Keys, Egg & I, Bonnie's, Finnish Bistro, Colossal Cafe, Breuggers; grocery: Speedy Market; ethnic: Mim's, Pho 79, Cafe Caribe, Ugasso grcery; frame shop: Carter Ave; art glass: J Ring; travel: Como Rose; eye wear: eyedeals; hardware store: Noll; cookies: St. Paul Cookie Company; liquor wine: Sharrett's & little wine shoppe; Ken Chin-Purcell is certainly one of the top potters around, we have a new artist's cooperative store, jewelry store, coffee shops, a pharmacy, upholsterers, photographers, cleaners, hair salons & spas, retro shops, locally-owned gas stations & auto repair, the Dubliner, Hampden Co-op...a reptile store! Not to mention the Women's Press and the Bugle - locally produced newspapers - a co-officing site, fast food (JimmyJohns, Mac & D, Subway) and Park Midway - one of the best community banks in the region. 

We are home to Music in the Park Series, Wellstone Action, Tu Dance Company, the Gremlin Theatre, IFP, Wee Houses (Architectural Alcheny,) St. Anthony Park Area Seniors, the Saints, the Emily Program, Lutheran Social Service, Children's Home Society, St.AP Home, Joy of the People Soccer, a lovely branch library, 2 rec centers, vibrant and active schools and churches - all unique and important artists & craftspeople working in many mediums; industry & railroads, a major recycling center, exercise and martial arts, printers, numerous home businesses, service providers, the U, the Sem, HealthPartners, a district council that works, a community foundation (had to plug that, no other neighborhood in the state has that)...and events: the 4th of July, Art Festival, Park B4 Dark, Shop Home...I could literally go on and on and not mention all of the amenities, businesses

Finally and more importantly, the owners, proprietors and staff of all these places who make you feel welcome. Think about it...if you really didn't want to, or couldn't, leave the district, you could have almost all of your needs taken care of very nicely. And, of course, finally, the people...residents who care, who are involved...locally-based businesses, property owners, realtors and developers willing to participate in community conversations and planning...

Whew, I didn't start out thinking I would itemize it all, but I do think we need to sometimes reflect and be thankful for a community that has withstood the years and is mentioned by many as a prototype of how communities of the future should work. Let's not take it for granted, we still need to work to make it better.

Now briefly because I was so long-winded above...

D12 - Gardening classes, energy loans, Starling (a new rent by the month initiative for empty store fronts on University Avenue,) e-waste recycling, board openings...all at the D12 site.

StAPnotes - Progressive Dinner registration deadline is this Sunday, contact Jane Leonard at  
...Music in the Park Series new schedule of wonderful performances...interesting census data: 3750 people live north of Energy Park Drive in D12 and 3038 live south of that line. More equal than I would have thought - University Avenue housing is making a difference...following up on my school reports from last week, average class size at Murray is 32, StAP Elementary is 26. 

That's all for now. Take good care of yourself and be a good neighbor.