/Minnesota And Back

Minnesota And Back

My friend Meg and I just came home from a weekend in Minnesota to see the Luke Bryan Farm Tour! Unfortunately, the Farm Tour was cancelled due to storms, rain, and mud. So very sad! But we had a fun whirlwind of a trip nonetheless, so I still wanted to share our adventures. 

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Bayer + the Luke Bryan Farm Tour

Bayer has been a sponsor of the Luke Bryan Farm Tour since 2015, and as a Bayer partner for 2023, they flew me up to help share the tour mission: helping those in rural communities have access to the food and healthcare they need. 

Having access to food – especially healthy, affordable food – is a privilege for those who live close to grocery stores and have the means to buy it. Today, 90% of counties with the highest food insecurity rates are rural, where grocery stores are many miles away. 

The farm tour is more than a concert – it is a way to raise awareness of rural care deserts and increase access for those experiencing hunger. As a Dietitian, I wanted to help spread this message on my channels. 

Bayer’s goal is to remind rural communities how important it is to “Take care, Now.” Check out their website, and enter to win VIP tickets to next year’s farm tour so you can get involved!

Bayer graciously let me bring a friend, and I asked my #1 Luke Bryan fan Meg! Here’s the story of our travels, adventures, and more travels : ) 

Travel To Minnesota

We decided to fly out of Dulles airport to get a direct flight to Minneapolis and did a 2 hour drive on both ends. Small town to small town it’s what you gotta do!

We left Cville on Friday morning and arrived with an hour of time to check out the brand new Capital One Lounge at Dulles airport. If you live anywhere near Dulles airport or fly through it often, you must get a Capital One Venture card! The Venture X gets you and two companions in unlimited times, and the Venture gets you 2 visits per year.

The lounge was STUNNING with restaurant-quality food, snacks to take on the plane, sparkling water, a coffee bar, and a full bar (all complimentary!!) Plus nice onesie bathrooms, wifi, lots of plugs, and comfy seating. It was right after TSA PreCheck and so convenient for a visit before flying out. We sampled nearly all of the tapas style bites offered. I so appreciated that everything was single serving so it was easy to grab something without having to glop buffet food on your plate (germs!).

The grab and go area – all complimentary!

I also grabbed some snacks for the flight: a quinoa salad with grilled peaches, fresh spinach, and homemade dressing and a s’mores parfait with chocolate ganache. I was seriously impressed!! I shared the extra sandwich I picked up with the gentleman in the seat next to me. He enjoyed it!

Learn more about the travel credit cards and all the benefits of the Capital One Venture cards here!

Drive to Rochester, Minnesota

Upon our arrival, we rented a car (boo for an hour-long rental car wait) and drove south to Rochester, Minnesota where we stayed two nights at the Hampton Inn there. Fall was just starting to show! The drive was very pretty.

Dinner at Thai Pop

You may have seen me mention Rochester on Instagram. It’s home to the Mayo Clinic and a small city. Thanks to those dozen or so followers who sent me restaurant recommendations! Nearly everyone mentioned Thai Pop as the hot new restaurant, so that’s where we made reservations.

Rain please don’t soak the whole weekend!

Thai Pop was SO fun! We loved it! We sat at the bar and had drinks before dinner. 

And Old Fashioned for Meg; a Mezcal + Passionfruit for me

For dinner we decided to stay at the bar because we loved the vibe. We shared brussels and noodles in a wonderful sauce, and cauliflower pops. Everything was delish, especially the palm sugar caramelized brussels!

Dessert at Flapdoodles

Our next stop also came multiple-recommended and was right near our hotel: Flapdoodles ice cream!

We got a flight to share of Oatmeal Cookie, Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin Gingersnap, and Birthday Cake. EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS! So delish!!! 


In the morning we had planned to go to the farmer’s market for breakfast and coffee, but it was pouring : ( So instead we opted for the free hotel breakfast and a workout. 

Oatmeal with peanut butter and banana and coffee!!

Best Gym Workout

The gym had a Peloton!! Meg and I are both riders, so we traded off cardio rides and Jess Sims weight sessions. I actually rode with Thomas for a minute who was on his bike in Cville! Funny small world. We had a great workout. 

Farmer’s Market Stop

And the rain cleared up! We took showers and went to the market. At this point we were getting excited that it might not rain all day for the concert. 

Spy House Coffee

Our next stop was Spy House Coffee where i had a Biscoff Cookie Butter Cappuccino! AMAZING. 

Moments before we got the news that the concert was cancelled : (

Rain Is A Good Thing

We got a text from our Bayer team that they were so bummed to have to share that the concert was cancelled. Apparently Luke’s team had arrived to step up and the was so much mud from all the rain they couldn’t even set up the stage. We were obviously really sad, but we understood. If you can’t set up, you can’t set up. Plus if you’re a Luke fan you know that “rain is a good thing.” Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey… We sang that song all afternoon. 

We went into logistics planning mode and decided to drive back to Minneapolis to get closer to the airport and then take an earlier flight home the next morning. 

Lunch at Forager

But before we left, we went to Forager Brewery for lunch. This was another highly recommended spot from the locals. 

Peach + Avo salad

Amazing pear and gorgonzola pizza

Heading North

Back near MSP, we returned our rental car, ubsered to our new hotel, checked in, and went into planning mode to find some restaurant recs in the area. Thanks to a few more blog followers, we had a good list to check out. 

But then more storms rolled in. And nothing was super close to us – the uber rides would cost about $30 each way. So we made the difficult decision to not venture out in the rain when we couldn’t get a resy and go to the Mall of America instead. It was right across the street and protected from weather. 

Cedar + Stone

For dinner we landed at Cedar and Stone and had drinks, cheese curds (!!) and some small plates of brussels, scallops, and fries. 

Those spicy cheese curds with a yogurt dipping sauce were worth the trip alone!!

Mall of America

We ventured into the mall, and I think we only saw about 1% of it…

Because we found the amusement park inside! We went on the Fairly Odd Coaster that was so fun. We both Facetimed our kids to show them. 

We were up at 6am the next morning for our flight / drive home to Virginia. 

Luke Bryan Deja Vu

And while it was super sad not to get to see the Farm Tour concert, the good news is that Thomas bought tickets to see him for my birthday months ago! So I’ll be going to my third Luke Bryan show at the end of October. It’s inside, so rain can pour down! 

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