Small town memory lane

Wednesday night I celebrated my birthday with some good friends at 10K Brewing in Anoka, MN. Specifically, in downtown Anoka. Anoka is one of those cities that has managed to maintain a quaint downtown that’s not a ghost town. There are dozens of shops, bars and restaurants, and even on a Wednesday night there are people walking the streets.

Last night when we walked from the brewery to the ice cream shop I commented to my friends how much the area reminded me of where I grew up in east Saint Paul. The neighborhood that I grew up in had it’s own main street with food, clothing and an old time drugstore that puts CVS and Walgreens to shame. My neighborhood was just a small part of the much larger city of Saint Paul, however, and so it’s faded into something very different in the decades since I lived there.

Anoka is far enough out from the city that it’s still managed to maintain a unique identity in its main street. In many ways it what a successful suburb should be in my mind. I often complain about suburban living, but one of the main reasons is because so many suburbs are just drive thru bedroom cities with no sense of community. Anoka has managed to keep itself as a city with a culture all its own, and that’s worth applauding.

I know I’ll certainly head back to 10K Brewing, as I loved the beer, and I loved the environment that it’s in. It made me think of my youth, in all the good ways.

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