Life is abundant, and life is beautiful. And it’s a good place that we’re all in, you know, on this earth, if we take care of it. – Alice Walker

For those of you who are regular readers of my blog and know me, then you will not be the least bit surprised when I tell you that my happy place is being outside in nature. I prefer being in the mountains, hiking and breathing in the fresh, magical air but of course it isn’t possible that I’m always in this special place. Instead, I find beauty, peace and solitude in being anywhere outdoors and at home I generally find my happy place at my favorite neighborhood lake, Lake Harriet in Southwest Minneapolis. I walk and run around that lake year round, rain or shine, snow or sleet. I watch and marvel at the changing of the seasons  and the cycle of life. I reflect on the migration of the birds who come and go with the changing of the wind. If I’m lucky, I see a pair of bald eagles or a distant loon. I’ve even see a wild turkey and a group of deer which seems crazy given the fact that I live in the heart of a city.

Fall is by far the most beautiful season in Minnesota and I take advantage of being in my happy place as much as possible. The air is so fragrant, the sun so bright and the sky is usually a deep, dark sapphire blue on most days. But best of all, is the magical tapestry of leaves in their deep scarlet reds to pumpkin and burnt orange and golden yellows. It is a time of year that I always feel incredibly vibrant and alive.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”. –Albert Camus

Lake Harriet Walking/Running Trail Minneapolis MN

Lake Harriet Walking/Running Trail

I took this photo just yesterday on my walk around Lake Harriet, one of four urban lakes in Southwest Minneapolis that make up the “chain of lakes”. We are so fortunate to have over 10,000 lakes in this state and many in the city have walking, biking and running paths that are plowed year round. 

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer”. – Albert Camus

Lake Harriet Winter Minnesota

Winter can be stunningly beautiful after a big snowstorm. Lake Harriet.

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn”. – Hal Borland

Springtime on Lake Harriet, Minneapolis MN

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains”. – Diane Ackerman

Rose Garden, Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, MN

Rose Garden, Lake Harriet

And of course there are always my mountains….

We live in such a beautiful world! Get out and enjoy it. Discover your happy place!


This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place


  1. You inspire me to get fit so i can climb some of those mountains myself. And I love the winter pic for harriet lake.

  2. I have a friend who teaches at Winona State. I visit sometimes during summer. A cool little town with twin lakes to ride bikes around, or row. I’ve never been to MN in winter. I do not believe I actually WANT to do that…given the stories and temperatures I hear about over the phone. But you have captured the place nicely. That winter shot is like freakin awesome (and I never use that word). What I like about MN is the bald eagles gliding along the Mississippi. Your mountain shots are, as usual, cool. Love the low clouds…or rather peaks peeping into them.

    1. Yes winter is quite cold but once you get used to it and dress appropriately you can manage fine. I am outdoor year round running, walking and skiing in the winter and enjoying summer too. In fact I’m outside more than my sister and her family who live in Virginia and have a much milder winter.

      1. I “used” to be an outside person. Now, much of the time where I live it’s like 100 to 120 degrees out there, and you don’t want to be running around in that kind of heat. So I breathe too much a/c air

      2. Wow that is way too hot for me! 🙂 I prefer the cold weather as you can always bundle up and put on another layer. When it is hot, I too stay inside. 🙂

  3. We’re definitely kindred spirits, Nicole. 🙂 Your trees are much further along in the color change than ours, but we’re getting there. Have a wonderful weekend.


    1. Thanks Janet! Yes the leaves are gorgeous now. I remember that everything goes a little bit faster in MN versus Chicago. I can’t remember if I told you or not but my husband and I lived in Lincoln Park in our twenties before marrying and moving to Minnesota. All our friends from college (we met and went to UW-Madison) live there as well as family so we visit a lot. I love Chicago! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I put a lot of articles on my blog on my hometown of Minneapolis as well as other states I visit frequently. The world is a beautiful place and even our own backyard! 🙂

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