5 reasons to love Minneapolis

After living in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis - St. Paul for over 15 years, and in Minneapolis for over 10, I wanted to share some of the great things about living in this area, specifically Minneapolis.  Here goes, here are my top 5 reasons to love Minneapolis: 1.  Minneapolis has an amazing food scene that has nothing to do with chain restaurants.   My wife and I love to eat at new places.  Minneapolis always has new places popping up with great chefs and there is almost no way you can get to all the places, so you never run out of great places to try!  Some of our recent favorites include Nico's Taco and Tequila bar, Amore Victoria, Sea Salt Eatery, Shuang Cheng, to name a few.  I travel a good amount for work and so many cities are dominated by chain restaurants and that is just not the case in Minneapolis.  (Thankfully) 2.  Minneapolis has an amazing art, music and theatre scene that is unparalleled for a city of this size. Any of these points deserve their own post, but the art scene here really blows me away.  From museums, to theaters, to orchestras and more Minneapolis has it.  Again, comparing Minneapolis to other medium sized metros, there is no lack of things to go and experience in the art and music world.  I just wished I lived here in Uptown when Nirvana used to play at the Uptown Bar back in the early 90's.  (Both Nirvana and the Uptown Bar no longer exist sadly.) 3.  Minneapolis consistently goes back and forth with Portland for being the most bike friendly city. I am so glad RT Rybak was mayor of Minneapolis.  RT made sure we had the best bike trail system anywhere.  There were a lot of other community advocates who helped build the system as well, but we can go hundreds of miles on our bikes here around amazing lakes and parks and never leave the trails!  It is something you really have to experience for yourself to truly appreciate.  I am so glad I invested in a road bike and can get out and see the city and region. 4.  Minneapolis almost always ranks as the top, or a top, fittest city in the United States. This follows #3, people in Minneapolis take care of themselves.  You will see so many runners, bikers, and more in this city than almost anywhere else I...
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Kauai, Hawaii – it is really far away

After a long couple of flights we made it to Kauai, Hawaii.  I am often reminded when I am here that Kauai, and the Hawaiian islands are the most remote island chain on earth.  You fly and fly and fly and finally you are here.  Kauai is like the backcountry of Hawaii.  remote, even more laid back, and not overdeveloped.  We have been to Maui, and Maui is fine, but many parts are busy and full.  You are hard pressed to find 'busy' and 'full' here on Kauai.  You are hard pressed to find nightlife on the island of Kauai, but that is not something we are to hip on with a fellow traveler who is three years old named JD who wants to build sand castles early in the morning. It took a few days for me, but there was that inevitable feeling of winding down, relaxing and not really caring what day it is, was, etc.  I am there.  What day is it?  When you are here on the island there is a concept called, island time, or Kauai time.  It is laid back.  I think it took us about twenty minutes to get a sandwich at Subway, but who cares, it is warm and sunny.  What hurry are we in?  None. The green here is brilliant green, deep, in a way that contrasts against the red sand that dots the landscape as you peer around this island.  The ocean is a deep blue, one that invites you see what lies beneath.  On our second day I did a little bit of snorkeling at Anini beach and it was not the most exciting reef I have ever snorkeled in, but who cares I was in the warm water and snorkeling in December.   I moved around looking for some fish and found a few here and there, but all of a sudden I was face to face with a sea turtle.  I was a bit taken aback and moved away quickly as the turtle looked on at me in a curious way.  He was not phased by me and I went back in to observe him, or her, not sure.  I was blown away that here was a sea turtle and me, and not much else.  Maybe a sense of peace. Excuse me if I have written about this before but somewhere I...
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Running & Endurance & Living Life

Part of my job requires me to travel to San Diego, California four to five times per year.  I know this is engendering so much sympathy from all of you - tough duty right?  No, not really.  San Diego is fantastic.  I love being in meetings with my team in San Diego and looking out the window and seeing palm trees.  We have no palm trees in Minneapolis so their novelty never wears off on me. I am a runner.  I have been a runner for the past twelve years and probably logged 12,000 miles during that time.  I travel frequently, and wherever I go, I run.  It is a fantastic way to explore cities and places - most of the time in a safe way.  Running has taken me through ancient cemeteries in London to the cliffs of the ocean in San Francisco.  I am passionate about finding somewhere to run while I am traveling. When I am in San Diego I have three routine runs that I try and do while I am there. 1)  Mission Beach - running up and down the beach is a great 5.5 mile run and the people watching is fantastic.  This is a go to for me while in San Diego.  Parking is easy on the south end of the beach near the channel.  Thursday morning early was just me and all the surfers. 2)  Mission Bay - just east of Mission Beach this is the bay off the ocean that has a great trail to run on.  This run can be very long if you include the island as part of the run.  This is well lit and can be a good run if you are running out of daylight but still want to be by the water. 3)  Coronado beach, and the entire island.  There is something about running on Coronado.  The picture above is from one end of the beach on Coronado, often cited as one of the best beaches in the world.  I prefer beaches with warmer water, but I am not there on Coronado to swim, I am there to run.  You can either run up and down the beach, which can go forever but at some point you get into an area where the military may or may not like you being there - I think you can still run...
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Top 10 reasons to choose Marriott Hotels for your travel

During the past 10 years or so, I have had the privilege of traveling for most of my jobs.  People ask me how much I travel and I often reply, "Enough to earn some rewards but little enough that I get to see my family on a regular basis."  I spend about 30 nights per year in hotels, and about 50,000+ miles in the air on planes.  As much as possible I stay away from rental cars, but I end up renting those 10-15 times per year.  In this new blog, I hope to pass along travel tips to help you navigate the ever changing landscape of the travel world. For the first half of my travels I used to always try to find the cheapest price for the best hotel, airfare, or car.  This method has pros and cons.  The pros are you can score a great deal, the cons are you may not know what you are getting until you get there.  The last few years I am much more likely to stick with one brand over another if the price is close because brands typically can be more consistent with how they deliver service. There are exceptions to the latter which I will expound upon in a later post. When the price is close what hotel chain will I choose?  Marriott  Why?   1)  Marriott consistently delivers an above average or excellent experience for me at all of their different levels of hotels. 2)  Their rewards program is rated #1 consistently in the industry. 3)  They take care of their customers. 4)  They have a variety of types of hotels so I can usually find something in my budget, and they are located almost everywhere. 5)  Going back to #1, I know what I am going to get from a Marriott, there are very few surprises, and surprises when you travel are typically not welcomed.  Things that make me happy when traveling are getting a good nights sleep and that the room is clean.  Marriott does this for me an overwhelming amount of the time.  One of my former bosses told me that he always knew what he was going to get from a Marriott, and when I was a younger traveler it sounded kind of boring to be honest, but now, after all these years I totally understand where he...
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