I just spent three fabulous days with a group of educators at a conference in Rochester, MN. It is my favorite conference each year because it is inspiring, challenging, and – often – just plain fun. I could post about the conference, but I am still processing that.
Instead, I would love to share the coolest thing that I discovered while there.
Apparently cities and towns in Minnesota have to have some kind of trademark statue (think Peanuts in the Twin Cities or Paul Bunyan in Bemidji and Brainerd). In reading about the history leading up to the goose contest, I found that much thought went into choosing this town mascot. I learned that a goose adorns Rochester’s flag and that the minor league baseball team is called the Honkers.
Back in 2009, there was a contest of painting statues of geese. Eighteen statues of geese – each 4 feet in size but decorated in very different styles – have since been placed around town. Visitors can take part in a little scavenger hunt of sorts and find all of them. Or – one could just go to the visitor’s bureau website and find the map of where they are located.
I happened upon two of the geese during my time in Rochester. I did not plan for this nor did I go looking for them. I did not even know about this until I had literally stumbled upon them.
I found this goose in the skyway which I walked at least six times from the Hilton Garden Inn (yes, LOVED it!) to the Civic Center where the conference was held. I know for a fact that I did not notice it when I passed it the first three times; however, a cute little boy was touching it as I passed it…the cute little boy drew my attention to the goose.
I found this goose in the Civic Center when I had to step out of a session in order to be part of a conference call. It caught me off guard as I definitely did not expect to find it there. Additionally, I had no idea that 18 of these things can be found all over Rochester! Fortunately, the picture below explained that there were more of these…and that led me to do the research leading to this post. Perhaps some day I will take a day and visit all 18. I know that sounds kind of dorky to some, but it sounds really fun to me!
Did I have other fun times while I was in Rochester? You bet!
I thought that my room at the Hilton Garden Inn was great (by the way, did you know that you can ask for late check out times? My new fun thing to do!). I was also pretty impressed with the cool arrangement of my shampoo, conditioner, and soap in my shower. What a fun extra touch that the cleaning staff did. I would like to think they did it just for me!
I had dinner with my boss at a yummy Greek-turned-steak restaurant called Michael’s. I would like to think that the man who seated us (pictured below) was Michael, but I doubt it. In case you are wondering, I had saganaki (you have to see it and taste it to believe that it rocks) and shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta drizzled with a garlic and butter sauce. It might be the best shrimp scampi dish in the Midwest. Deee-lish!