A pre-Christmas trip spent in a real life winter wonderland. I've ticked off this city in summer and autumn, but never in the weather it's known for, blanketed in snow and below freezing.
We flew into Minneapolis as it was getting dark, leaving deep blue shadows over ice covered lakes, frosted trees and snow stacked up along the roadside - the childlike excitement kicked in.
Our friends have just moved into the 'burbs, into an adorable home that was cosily welcoming us off the flight, providing the perfect frame of the snowy streets in the morning.
Trees around the city are laced in multi-coloured lights, paths have trails carved out of the snow and if you'll likely even find untouched patchworks to make your own footprints in. In the lead up to Christmas you get the extra bonus of snow covered Christmas trees with their lights peeking out and the main street lined with wreaths for the festive season.
Small towns edge the big city, providing our first morning's adventure on a sunny lake, the next day following it with a three mile walk with the dogs around Lake Harriet - it is the Land of 10,000 Lakes after all.
Fitting in a reunion of my best friends, a brewery hop around downtown and ticking off axe throwing filled up our time in the city. From there? Up north to discover Grand Marais, where the wintery landscapes came to life and my excitement went off the scale.
Up north under a blanket of snow is great, up north in a particular cold snap, even better. The six hour drive from the city was an adventure in itself, arriving to our lodge in the dark after winding through a pastel sunset made it all the more cosy and all the more exciting to wake up in the morning.
We woke up to -28°C and a thick blanket of snow outside the window. The lake at the bottom of the garden was frozen solid and the morning sun let the snowy trees glitter, the starter for our day of adventure.
Our whole trip was spent in minus temperatures and wrapped up in a ski base layer and the usual winter wear, you kind of get used to it. The coldest day of our trip was the one we spent the most time outdoors.
We explored Artist Point on the Grand Marais coast, headed into the national park with the only human interaction being from previous snowy footsteps and finished the night with a flight of beer and back to the cabin's fireplace.
Trees were frozen and ice was covered with a layer of snow. Lake Superior glittered around us with a layer of steam on top of the water and we had everything wrapped up aside from a peep hole to get the full experience.
We headed home in a heavy snowstorm, leaving a fresh blanket of snow for the next adventurers and allowing for a slow drive through snow covered roads.
Given that my bestie is based there, I was always going to have a soft spot for Minneapolis, but after seeing it in what I'm going to deem its prime, it might just be one of my favourite destinations. Snowy climes may not be top of the travel list for most, but I realised this was my dream trip.
Despite the swift temperature drop, I was colder catching our connecting flight in Dublin than I was in MN. Maybe living life in a postcard for two weeks takes the cold away.