Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome to Rochester

We live in Rochester. About once a year or so, someone we know comes to the Mayo Clinic. Often they ask us for suggestions of where to stay in Rochester, or where to eat while they are here, or maybe they just need a bit of information. So, I wrote this blog to answer some of those questions. It's a place to start and get a little bit of information. A few times a year I will read over what I have and make any updates or changes that are needed. If there is something you think should be added, write a comment and I'll see if I can help out. (To write a comment, click on Comments or No Comments, write your comment and use your account or be anonymous.)

Scroll down through the titles here to find what you are interested in -- lodging, restaurants, information about Mayo Clinic. There are a lot of links to official websites such as Rah Rah Rochester which is your basic Visitor website, and Mayo Clinic's official website. I also have added some photos to the earliest blog entry which is at the bottom of this page. Scroll down to see all the photos.

You can also look at the labels on the left to see something more specific. I put photos in the last posting (scroll down) to help you find your way around town and to spot what your destination will look like. Hope this makes it easier for you to get around. I also will add various information after the photos that might be interesting to some people, but not necessarily the most important information for everyone.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grocery Stores in Rochester

If you are here for an extended stay, you probably will need a place to pick up some grocery items. You can choose from a wide variety of grocery stores, all the way from small Mom and Pop grocery stores to the large big box stores.

For a regular neighborhood store that is close to downtown, you can go to Silver Lake Foods located on North Broadway (Hwy 63) and 14th Street Northeast. They are open until 10:00 every night and have close convenient parking just steps from the door. They are located in Silver Lake Center in the same complex as Ace Hardware Store, Hunt Drugs, Grandma's Kitchen Restaurant plus a few other businesses.

If you are staying south of the downtown area and want a larger store, there is Hy-Vee by Crossroads on Highway 14 just a few blocks west of Broadway. There are a total of three Hy-Vee stores in Rochester and all are open 24 hours a day.

Located a few blocks west of the Mayo Clinic and near First Presbyterian Church is Just Rite Supermarket. This is a small grocery store with a butcher counter, a produce cooler and other essentials. It doesn't have everything that the bigger stores have, but it is within walking distance of downtown Rochester. The address is 211 - 6th Avenue Southwest.

Also in the south end of downtown is the new location for People's Food Co-op. I've shopped there a few times already and found it to be very nice. They have a large selection of produce, meats, bakery items as well as almost anything else you would find at a grocery store. There's a deli, too. Visit their website here to learn more.

There is Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe located at 902 - 7th Street Northwest. They are open from 8 to 6, Monday through Saturday. In addition to a wide variety of fresh and frozen meats, they also have cheeses, milk, pop, condiments for the meat, a selection of breads from in-town bakeries and sometimes even potatoes and onions to go with that roast you just bought.

In addition to these stores, there is also a Cub Foods, two Target stores, two Wal-Mart stores plus convenience stores at places like SuperAmerica, Kwik Trip, and other locations around town.




This photo shows Silver Lake Foods. In the background you can see the Mayo Clinic buildings.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Visitor Information --- (Rah Rah Rochester)

There is a lot of information for visitors at the Rah Rah Rochester website. That takes you to Rochester MN Convention & Visitors Bureau. Stay, Play, Shop, Eat, Go. And if that isn't enough, scroll down to the bottom of the page. There on the right hand side, you can view at the Site Map which has all the different pages that you can look at for detailed information about different kinds of lodging, movie theaters, sporting and recreation opportunities, maps, transportation, and where to eat.



This photo shows the view from the subway in the Mayo Patient and Visitor Cafeteria looking up at the Siebens Building through the Mathews Heritage Dome. When you are at street level outside, you can see the Dome on the east side of the Mayo Building.

Do you need help finding your way around downtown or the Mayo Clinic? There are many Mayo Clinic information desks especially in the subway level of Mayo. Look for friendly people wearing blue smocks at the desks and also near the elevators. Also in parts of the subway and skyway system  that serves the stores, hotels etc. in the main downtown area you might see volunteers wearing green vests that have the words "Ask Me" on them. Go ahead and ask them for directions or suggestions for dining or where to shop for that item you forgot to bring with you.

Where to Eat in Rochester

Rochester has a wide variety of restaurants, many of them in the downtown area near the Mayo Clinic. During the day, there is a convenient Mayo Clinic Patient Cafeteria located where the Gonda Building and Mayo Building meet in the subway. There are many small fast food spots in the Subway such as Subway Sandwiches or Daube's Down Under (soups, salads, bakery items, sandwiches), that are just a short walk from the Mayo and Gonda Building. (That's right, there's a Subway in the Subway.)

Up on the street level you can find the Grand Grill at the Kahler which has a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Michael's is a fixture in the community, celebrating 60 years of delicious food and great service. Many people have come to Mayo Clinic over the years and many famous people have their photos posted on the wall at Michael's.

Patient and Visitor Cafeteria near Gonda and Mayo Buildings in the Subway
Newer restaurants are also close by. Look over the Rah Rah Rochester website for  places to eat. You can browse by category for the type of food you enjoy, for example, BBQ, Asian, Italian, or Seafood. You can also look for restaurants that have outdoor seating, feature live entertainment or have call ahead seating. If you are able to drive a few miles, you can find restaurants near Apache Mall and Crossroads Shopping Center, or on the north or south end of town. If you are in the mood for pizza, one of our favorite spots is BB's Pizzaria. It's north on Broadway which is also Highway 63. The cross street is 37th St NE (also called East Circle Drive if you head east of Highway 63).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Where to Stay While at Mayo Clinic

Rochester has more hotels, motels and lodging accommodations than you would expect in a town this size, primarily because of all the visitors to Mayo Clinic.There are plenty of options downtown within easy walking distance of Mayo Clinic. For those who stay a bit outside of the downtown area, many of the hotels and motels offer free shuttle service on a regular basis to and from Mayo Clinic.

When you set up your appointment, you will usually be mailed information about lodging, restaurants, parking and information about Rochester and the surrounding area. You can also check this website, Rah Rah Rochester, for lodging to meet your needs, whether you are looking for a suite, kitchenette room, monthly rates, connected by Skyway/Subway to the Clinic, free Continental breakfast or other options.

The Kahler Grand Hotel is located in the center of downtown. Across the street to the north of the Kahler is Methodist Hospital. And across the street to the west is the main entrance to the Gonda Building. You can access all the downtown Mayo buildings, and most downtown restaurants and shops by walking in the Skyway/Subway system. (This is great when the weather is rainy, or too hot, or too cold.) Search the Rah Rah Rochester website for more lodging in Rochester.

The photo shows the main entrance to the Kahler Hotel as seen from the second floor of the Gonda Building. You can easily walk across the street to the Kahler or walk in the subway level to the Kahler. The elevators to the Kahler are located near the Mayo Store by the Cafeteria hallway. Just ask anyone if you need directions. Really, when you are at the Mayo Clinic, just ask anyone for help. I'm pretty sure 99.9% of the people will be more than happy to help out.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Parking, Skyway and Subway System

There are Mayo Clinic Parking Ramps nearby as well as City of Rochester Parking Ramps for your convenience. Throughout the Mayo Buildings, you will find Information Desks for help finding where your next appointment is, where you can get a cup of coffee, or how to find a grocery store near your hotel. You can also ask just about anybody at the Clinic for assistance with directions in the Skyway or Subway system.

This photo shows the Damon Parking Ramp on the left, the Gonda Building in the Center, and the Glass connection to the Mayo Building on the right. You cannot see the Mayo Building in this photo, but just imagine it being on the right side. The Gonda Building is also connected on some of the floors to Methodist Hospital. Methodist Hospital (or Eisenberg Building) would be behind and to the left of the Gonda building in this photo. If you look really really carefully, you can see the statue of the two Doctors Mayo sitting in front of that tall tree by the curved window part of Gonda and Mayo. From where I was standing when I took this picture, I'm looking east.

Rochester Methodist Hospital

You will hear Rochester Methodist Hospital and Eisenberg Building used interchangeably. So, don't be confused, it's the same place. Also part of the Methodist Hospital is the Charlton Building on the west side of Methodist. As with most buildings downtown, you can get just about anywhere without going outside. There is an extensive Skyway and Subway system that is well-lighted and filled with shops and restaurants.

Mayo Clinic Website

Here's the main website for Mayo Clinic. From here you can find just about everything you need to know about coming to Rochester for a visit to the Mayo Clinic. There's also health information where you can find out about diseases and conditions from A to Z, tests and procedures A to Z, drugs and supplements A to Z, plus much more.

One thing you can do before you come is to look at maps in materials mailed to you or online. To look online, go to this page from the Mayo Clinic website and scroll down to page 4 which shows"Downtown Campus --- Street/Lobby Level". If you can look at two browser pages, or two websites at the same time, also go to Google maps and type in Rochester, MN.  Use the plus button to zoom in and view in Satellite view. You can compare the "birds-eye view" of Google maps with the easy to read map of Mayo Clinic Downtown Campus. You can see, for example, that the Kahler Grand Hotel is directly across the street from Gonda. And you can see that Gonda and Mayo buildings are essentially one building. Then look at Google maps and get an idea of what those buildings are going to look like once you get to Rochester. (A quick side note. On the Google maps, not all labels are in exactly the right place. They are generally correct, but can be off by half a block or so.)

It may seem confusing, but most everyone downtown can help you find your way. If a person is walking quickly and looking straight ahead, they probably know their way around. Ask them. If a person is walking slowly and looking around a lot, they are lost. Offer to help them find their way along with you finding your way.

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And now for some photos:


This photo is of downtown Rochester looking west. (I took this photo from one of the upper floors at Broadway Residence and Suites located on Broadway and Center Street.) This is an old photo. I know that because I can see the yellow stripe on the street with cars parked on the side. Today that is a plaza and cars cannot drive there. It's just for pedestrians and community gatherings. Can you spot the skyway that links the Mariott and the Kahler? There are many more skyway connections throughout the downtown area, making it very convenient for pedestrians to get around downtown.

Here's the details on the main buildings in the photo above. In front, on the left side you can see the red letters of the Marriott Hotel. Behind that on the left is the Plummer Building with scaffolding around the tall pyramid portion. To the right of the Plummer Building is the shiny Siebens Building. Behind those two buildings is the Mayo Building. You can recognize it by the various subtle gray and white tiles on the outside. Attached to the Mayo building is the glass wall which connects to Gonda on the right.

In front of the glass wall connection you can see the large Kahler Hotel sign. Obviously, the Kahler is very close to Mayo and many people choose to stay at the Kahler Hotel. The Kahler extends almost to the right edge of this photo. On the very edge, with black windows is Methodist Hospital. In the front or center (and a little bit to the right) in this photo is the mirrored surface of Wells Fargo Bank. In front of that in bottom right of photo is the roof of Barnes & Noble. It is a sloped roof (made of large tiles or bricks) with a light green portion that covers the entrance to Barnes & Noble.
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The Baldwin Building is for Community Medicine. What that means is those of us who live in Rochester go to one of the doctors here. If you are from out of town and end up here, you have walked too far west. Go down to the subway level and take that hallway back to the Hilton Building and then to the Mayo and Gonda Buildings. I put this photo here to show what the signs at Mayo look like. You will see many of these blue and green Mayo Clinic signs around the downtown area. I also really liked the flowers in front of this sign.
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Here is a view of Methodist Hospital as seen from the Center Street Parking Ramp. It's the tan brick building with black windows. I took this photo a few years ago in the spring. The red brick building with the green stripe around the top is the Colonial Building. The tall red brick building (in the background) with lots of windows is Charter House.
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This is the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in downtown Rochester. In years past, it was the Chateau Theater. I was able to see one of the Star Wars movies here before it stopped being a theater. The interior is very much like a courtyard of a castle, so yes, very nice. When you are not going to appointments, you can make the short walk of about a block or two (outside or through the skyway)  and find some good books to read here. The Peace Plaza in front of the bookstore has been revamped in recent years. Instead of a sunken plaza, it is all street level and the fountain now is the focal point. Sadly, those lovely pink redbud trees are now gone. Attached on the left side of Barnes & Noble is Wells Fargo Bank. On the left side of the photo is the Kahler Hotel with stores, such as Hanny's and Hers, at street level. (Hanny's is also at subway level and Hers also has a store at skyway level.)

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There are numerous places at the Mayo Clinic and in the downtown area to just sit and rest. This is the courtyard of Gonda at the subway level. I took this photo form the second or third floor a few summers ago. No matter where you are at Mayo, you are likely to find flowers and trees that are always well cared for. It is very welcoming to be able to sit in such a peaceful place when you are between appointments.

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This piano is in the subway level of Gonda. You can see the flowers outside in the courtyard. Often people will be playing the piano here, sometimes also with a violinist or someone singing. It's often medical students, community members and sometimes even patients. I have never seen anyone playing this piano that didn't actually know how to play songs. I'm pretty sure that would not be allowed. But music that cheers the soul and lifts the spirits is always welcome. Click here to see a nice piano duet.


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Thursdays on First is what you see here. During the summer months you can find craftspeople and other vendors with their booths set up in Peace Plaza and on First Avenue. This photo was taken from one of the top floors in that connecting section between the Mayo and Gonda Buildings. This photo is looking to the east. On the left is the Kahler Hotel and on the right is the Siebens Building and Marriott Hotel. Surrounding the green grass area is Barnes and Noble on the left, O&B Shoes and Mac's Restaurant on the right. The Shops at University Square are straight ahead. That big maroon and gold M is for the University of Minnesota. In the distance is Mayo Civic Center.

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On the west side of the Damon Parking Ramp is this shady and quiet courtyard which is part of St. John the Evangelist Church. Years ago it was just grass with some tulips. Now it is very welcoming and peaceful with flowers, shrubs and trees. You are welcome to walk and look at the flowers and hostas and sit and relax while you are here in Rochester.

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This photo is taken from the entrance to the Ozmun Building looking to the east. Most of the building you see is the Mayo Building. On the left is that glass connection to Gonda. There is just a little bit of the Gonda Building which is visible on the very left side of the photo. In front of Mayo is a red brick building that is mostly hidden behind the trees. That is Calvary Episcopal Church. It also has a welcoming grassy courtyard area on the side nearest the Mayo Building.


Enjoy your stay in Rochester!

Miscellaneous Stuff

I'll add stuff here as I think of it - stuff that is not necessarily about your visit to the Mayo Clinic, but information that people have asked about.

Quilt Stores - There are two quilt stores in Rochester that I visit often. The Quilting Cupboard is close to my home, so I go there a lot. They have batiks, batting, notions, children's prints, patterns, books, and more. They are in a shopping strip mall, at the very end of all the stores. If you see Fiesta Cafe from the street, that is the first store and you know you have found the right place. (They are across from Silver Lake Foods, Hunt Drugs and Burger King, so that can help you find it also.)

Pine Needles Quilt and Sew is located at Barclay Square next to Old Country Buffet. Barclay Square is on Highway 52 just across the highway from Apache Mall. They have flannels, civil war prints, notions, patterns and Bernina Sewing Machines.

If you are traveling on Highway 52 and coming from the north, you will go past Zumbrota which is about 20 miles northwest of Rochester. Another favorite quilt store, All in Stitches Quilt Shop, is located in downtown Zumbrota. You can take either exit and head for the center of town. Zumbrota is small enough that you will be able to find it quite easily. They have Pfaff sewing machines, batiks, children's prints, flannels, patterns and Kaffe Fassett fabrics (which are quite bold and colorful.)

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Find everything at Hunt Pharmacy and Gifts Store. Well, not everything ... they don't have the kitchen sink. But they have an extensive variety of merchandise that you want or need. Check out that link to Hunt' see photos from the store to give you an idea of what they have. Here's a short list of what you can find.

Prescriptions
Over the Counter medications
Health and Beauty Products
Fragrances, Soaps, Lotions
Cosmetics
Purses, Scarves
Office Supplies
Toys, Stuffed Animals, Puzzles
Hallmark Cards, Gift Wrap and Gifts
Candy
Paperback Books
Post Office

Of course, there's not going to be a selection of hundreds of purses, or every book on the market, but if you are away from home and realize you forgot something or if you want a card or gift for someone who is in the hospital, you just might find it here. It's only about a mile north of downtown on Broadway (Hwy 63). Go past the McDonald's, keep going and when you see Burger King on the right, that's where Hunt's is located.