Although it's not a state park, Ross and I decided to explore Beaver Falls County Park near Redwood Falls last Saturday. While we were heading for his nephew's birthday party in St. Paul a few weeks ago, he noticed a sign for the park and made a quick detour. He gets out of the car and starts looking around while I hope that we get to the party in a reasonable amount of time. It's a nice park that was a project of the Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program. It involved an addition to the park, the development of trails, a restroom, prairie restoration and parking.
So after a late lunch, we're driving to the park and park next to a family that is camping with horses. We first traipse around a trail that was short and basically took us in a circle. We were going through long grass and other weeds and plants that ended up leaving scratches on my legs (that's what I get for wearing shorts, but it was kinda hot outside). I barely noticed them until I looked down. Green things were sticking to my shorts and T-shirt. Not such a big deal. We walked on a trail next to the water. A few kids were swimming. We continued walking. There was a vineyard, as well as a ranch called "Someday Ranch." It was mainly a stone barn with a gate in front of the driveway saying "private property."
The mosquitoes weren't bad in the shady parts of the trails and the weather stayed nice (I was worried that it was going to start raining during the afternoon). The only people we really saw during our time in the park was the horse camp family and the kids who were swimming. And a couple of dogs near the vineyard.
By the end of the afternoon, I was ready to stop hiking around and just wanted to sit and listen to the water. There's a part of the park that's still relatively new - it needs the grass to grow a little more - with a few benches situated near the river. Ross went to explore as I just sat and daydreamed a bit. It was just so nice and peaceful - it was another one of those "moments."
Somewhere after we left the park, we posed next to another roadside monument (we kinda started this after doing so next to the Hinckley Fire monument). This one was for the Battle of Birch Coulee.
After hearing about Dustin Hoffmann's directorial debut with the movie "Quartet," both Ross and I wanted to see it. Then I saw a trailer of the movie, and I definitely wanted to check it out. Who can't resist the talent of Maggie Smith or the comedy of Billy Connolly? It takes place at a home for retired musicians, Beecham House. Not quite like "Fame" for old folks, but there's a lot of musical energy going on with operatic singing, instrumental music and a diva. Four of the characters - Reg, Wilf, Cissy and Jean - are retired opera singers and are known for "Rigoletto" by Verdi. The home is in danger of being closed, but it has a huge gala performance on Verdi's birthday to keep it afloat. One problem - the singers are either dying out or just not taking part in the gala.
Then a new guest comes into the home - Smith's character, Jean. Jean is Reg's former wife, and their marriage did not end on a happy note. Reg is upset that he wasn't informed that Jean was moving in. Wilf is recovering from a stroke, but he still tries to charm the ladies. Cissy has episodes of senility.
Eventually Wilf, Reg and Cissy try to convince Jean to sing in the quartet for the upcoming gala. She doesn't want to as she's given up singing a long time ago.
It was a wonderful movie with actual performers playing various smaller roles. And Hoffmann did a good job with his first go-round as a director. I definitely recommend it.