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Belvederes of the Mississippi River of course!

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So most of the people out there are familiar with the word Belvedere, for one reason or another. I remember when I learned the meaning and origin of the word for a landscaping class....that's right, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I did not know the true meaning (not the "brand" many of us know) of belvedere until I was in college, darn public school system! Italian in origin, literally meaning beautiful view, but can also be referring to a structure built to command a view. These views are not always highlighted on a guidebook and sometimes are unbeknownst to travelers. If your looking for some out of the norm experiences and photo ops it is a great idea to stop by random spots marked on the county roads that you take as you traverse Minnesota and Wisconsin. There are a great deal of historical landmarks that the towns and counties have preserved and care for so that you can get a look at the natural beauty the midwest has to offer.
I went on a couple small trips recently. Last weekend I was in northwestern Minnesota by Brainerd and the Pequot Lakes .
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If you have ever driven up through the North/Northwest of Minnesota you know the incredible amount of lakes that surround the roads and towns that poke up between tall swampy prairies and tall deciduous forest remnants. If you get a chance to take a drive you must go! Its gorgeous.

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Earlier this week I went on a motorcycle trip with my Pops in the exact opposite direction. We drove down South on the East River Road through downtown St. Paul, past the bluffs and caves that bring you to where the Mississippi and the Minnesota River conjoin. The views are amazing. Luckily for us the roadways have been established with multiple roadside oasis's that really capitalize on the belvederes. The sculpture in my photograph was created from objects found in the Mississippi River and the whole park has been restored with native regional plants. The park is not highlighted from the road very well, but it is one of the first rest stops off of WI-35 once you past Prescott.WI. We then continued Southeast to Pepin, WI. A small town that has a 3 mile wide water border including Lake Pepin and the Mississippi River. Be adventurous when you travel. You never know what is out there for you to see. I had a wonderful trip and it is well worth the sore back I have as a result of a 5 hour motorcycle ride. Thanks Dad!

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