1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN

1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN

For Sale

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4 BEDROOMS |

RARE 4 bed/2 bath TH in private community in the heart of Forest Lake! Located on a quiet, no outlet street in Island Estates. Owner's suite on main w/ensuite bath. 3 bedrooms on one level, plus additional full bath on upper. Each bedroom has it's own walk in closet! Enjoy your morning coffee from the private patio overlooking wooded wetland. Blocks from shopping and restaurants, 5 minutes to Clear Lake public boat landing. Easy freeway access. QUICK POSSESSION/CLOSING POSSIBLE!

 

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20722 Granada Ave N, Forest Lake, MN

20722 Granada Ave N, Forest Lake, MN

Just Listed

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4 BEDROOMS |

Fabulous home in a great neighborhood.Upgraded kit w/quartz counters,kitchen walks out to maintenance free deck and backyard, stainless steel appliances, large pantry for storage! Four bedrooms on one level. Spacious living room w/FP, open to kit- great for entertaining or cozing up with a good book! Master suite with private bath and walk-in closet. New roof in 2017, new carpet in upper. Close to schools, shopping, restaurants, etc. Less than 5 min to transit center. Don't miss this one!

 

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1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN – Just Listed

1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN

Just Listed

$ Click for current price
4 BEDROOMS |

RARE 4 bed/2 bath TH in private community in the heart of Forest Lake! Located on a quiet, no outlet street in Island Estates. Owner's suite on main w/ensuite bath. 3 bedrooms on one level, plus additional full bath on upper. Each bedroom has it's own walk in closet! Enjoy your morning coffee from the private patio overlooking wooded wetland. Blocks from shopping and restaurants, 5 minutes to Clear Lake public boat landing. Easy freeway access. QUICK POSSESSION/CLOSING POSSIBLE!

 

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20722 Granada Ave N, Forest Lake, MN – Just Listed

20722 Granada Ave N, Forest Lake, MN

Just Listed

$ Click for current price
4 BEDROOMS |

Fabulous home in a great neighborhood.Upgraded kit w/quartz counters,kitchen walks out to maintenance free deck and backyard, stainless steel appliances, large pantry for storage! Four bedrooms on one level. Spacious living room w/FP, open to kit- great for entertaining or cozing up with a good book! Master suite with private bath and walk-in closet. New roof in 2017, new carpet in upper. Close to schools, shopping, restaurants, etc. Less than 5 min to transit center. Don't miss this one!

 

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6341 207th St N, Forest Lake, MN

6341 207th St N, Forest Lake, MN

For Sale

$ Click for current price
3 BEDROOMS |

Marvelous end unit overlooking wildlife pond! 3 spacious bedrooms, master has walk-in closet. Updated eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances, large family room upstairs and cozy family room in lower–space for everyone! Walkout to patio on main level. Enjoy your morning coffee on private upper deck. Close to everything- shopping, restaurants, lakes, rec, etc. Less than 5 minutes to Forest Lake transit center for commuters, easy freeway access. Get here soon, this opportunity won't last!

 

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1304 Island Drive, Forest Lake, MN

1304 Island Drive, Forest Lake, MN

Price Reduced

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4 BEDROOMS | 2 (2 full ) BATHROOMS | 1986 SQUARE FEET

Rare 4 bed/2 bath townhome in a private community, HUGE opportunity in the heart of Forest Lake! Located on quiet, dead-end street. Owner's suite on main level with en suite bath, three bedrooms upstairs plus full bath–each bedroom has it's own walk-in closet! Enjoy your morning coffee from the private patio that overlooks a wooded wetland. Blocks from shopping and restaurants, 5 minutes from Clear Lake public boat landing. East freeway access. Do not wait, this unit will not last!

 

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6341 207th St N, Forest Lake, MN – Just Listed

6341 207th St N, Forest Lake, MN

Just Listed

$ Click for current price
3 BEDROOMS |

Marvelous end unit overlooking wildlife pond! 3 spacious bedrooms, master has walk-in closet. Updated eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances, large family room upstairs and cozy family room in lower–space for everyone! Walkout to patio on main level. Enjoy your morning coffee on private upper deck. Close to everything- shopping, restaurants, lakes, rec, etc. Less than 5 minutes to Forest Lake transit center for commuters, easy freeway access. Get here soon, this opportunity won't last!

 

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1304 Island Drive, Forest Lake, MN – Just Listed

1304 Island Drive, Forest Lake, MN

Just Listed

$ Click for current price
4 BEDROOMS | 2 (2 full ) BATHROOMS | 1986 SQUARE FEET

Rare 4 bed/2 bath townhome in a private community, HUGE opportunity in the heart of Forest Lake! Located on quiet, dead-end street. Owner's suite on main level with en suite bath, three bedrooms upstairs plus full bath–each bedroom has it's own walk-in closet! Enjoy your morning coffee from the private patio that overlooks a wooded wetland. Blocks from shopping and restaurants, 5 minutes from Clear Lake public boat landing. East freeway access. Do not wait, this unit will not last!

 

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Vannelli’s on the Lake: My Favorite Forest Lake Restaurant

imagesHello readers! I figured it is high time I shared my favorite place to eat in Forest Lake: Vannelli’s on the Lake.

Vannelli’s has been a part of Forest Lake for many years, but not always in it’s current location. Before moving to the corner of Broadway and Lake St. in downtown Forest Lake, Ron Vannelli owned and operated the restaurant at the Castlewood Golf Course. Stella’s on 97 is now operating there. Vannelli’s moved into their current locale in 2010 and have been a leading dining establishment in Forest Lake for many years.

Why I Love Vannelli’s

So, why exactly do I love Vannelli’s? There are many reasons! Everyone has their own favorite place to dine, that go-to place that no matter what you order or who is working that night, you know you’re going to enjoy yourself. Here are just a very few reasons why I love to frequent Vannelli’s on the Lake:

  • The Wait Staff

    • BEST SERVICE IN TOWN. Hands down. The days I tend to be there, we most often have the pleasure of Barb Pederson working in our seating section. Barb was recently awarded the 2018 Readers Choice Award for best Wait Staff ALL ON HER OWN, beating out entire restaurants in the Forest Lake area. I asked Barb a few questions today at lunch, figured I’d go directly to the source!
      • What is your favorite food to eat here? 003596_thumb01
        Oh my gosh, I have so many. Baked penne with sausage and boursin sauce.
      • Most often ordered meal by customers?
        Definitely the prime rib sandwich.
      • Why do you love your job?
        People. I love people.
      • What keeps you coming back?
        Same, definitely people. I love the team!

Barb is just one of the excellent staff they have at Vannelli’s. No matter what time of day you’re there, you will be taken care of!

  • The Foodcrab

    • The menu at Vannelli’s is enormous. Understatement of the year, right there. There literally is something for everyone. From burgers to pasta, steaks to chicken, they’ve got you covered! Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve had in the past:
      • Favorite dinner special: Alaskan Crab Legs
      • Menu item (dinner): Marinated grilled chicken breast and risotto
      • Favorite lunch: Spinach raspberry salad with feta cheese, almonds, and bacon (add a blackened chicken breast to it).
      • Best burger: California burger
      • Favorite pasta: Baked mac and cheese (add buffalo chicken breast)

The best part about their food? It is consistent. You can order the same thing each                            time you’re there and it won’t surprise you. Yes they have several chefs there and                            they’ll do their own spin but it is the same dish, therefore no guessing involved.

  • Happy Hour

    • 3 pm – 6 pm every day. 2 for 1 on MOST drinks. Long Island Teas or Moscow mules aren’t included for obvious reasons. They also have deals on some of their apps including chips and queso…the queso is awesome!
  • Online Ordering

    • Did you know you can order online from Vannelli’s for pick up? Yes, you can! I’ve done it once and it was slick! A lot of people order pizzas and carry them out for dinner. It is easy, self-explanatory, and convenient.
  • Catering and Events

    • Biggest fear of catering or hosting a large event like a rehearsal dinner or big group? Cost. Don’t worry. Vannelli’s catering is extremely affordable and is of very high quality. I ordered some catering for a large group at church, I think I was feeding 20 – 25 people. All in for food, salad, bread, etc. was under $150 easily. In fact, it may have been closer to $125 now that I think about it. We had two pasta options (one sausage, one chicken), their house salad, and dinner rolls. My brother had his groom’s dinner at Vannelli’s and it was held in the large banquet room on the lakeside of the restaurant. Again, cost was excellent but more importantly the EASY of which we were able to set it up was amazing. because of the size of our family group, we were thinking we didn’t need that large of a room so we went across the street to Za’s (when it was still open) to see if we could rent the restaurant for the event. Because they never responded and then when they did it wasn’t as easy to get it set the way we’d like as it was at Vannelli’s, we booked the banquet room at Vannelli’s. We did the Italian pasta buffet with italian sausage and the whole works. It was perfect and the service was superior.

Vannelli’s on the Lake is a great place to grab some lunch, catering a wedding reception, and everything in between. My real estate team and I often have our team meetings there over apps. It is a friendly and hometown kind of place that anyone can feel comfortable in. Whether you pop in for happy hour or if you throw a surprise party in one of their banquet rooms, you’ll be well cared for. Above all, their service really can’t be beat and you can’t put a price on that.

 

 

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Star Wars: How Disney Nearly Ruined It and How Fans Can Stay True to Their Star Wars Roots

Star Wars. That is all I need to say and most people in the United States instantly think of arguably the single most successful film franchise of all time. Of course depending on your age and Star Wars experience, you could say that it was the most successful before Disney almost ruined Star Wars.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Spoiler Alert: I hate what Disney has done to Star Wars. Yes, I realize Disney owns the world…well both they and Apple do…however that doesn’t mean we have to subscribe to the new “alternate universe” they’ve created.

Why do I say “alternate universe?” For anyone who is my age and a little older, we grew up reading the Expanded Universe novels. We grew up with games like Dark Forces, Jedi Academy, and Shadows of the Empire, just to name a few. The story lines for all of the major characters have changed. If you don’t want to know what has happened through the Episodes VII and VII films, I’d stop reading now.

Here is my humble opinion of what Disney has brought us in the new Star Wars universe and how those of us who are purists can deal with it…

What Disney Got Right

Clearly, they haven’t completely blown apart the Star Wars franchise. I admit that there are a few things they got right with their current set of movies. Again, this will contain spoilers.

1. They brought back the original trilogy cast.

Source: The Dork Side of the Force

Source: The Dork Side of the Force

One of the best things they could have done was to bring back Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. As we know, both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker have made their respective exits from the triology but what remains to be seen is what will happen to Leia. Carrie Fisher’s untimely death changed things drastically for the story line. Rouge One: A Star Wars Story brought us a very lifelike CGI version of Princess Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin has also made an appearance in CGI. Tarkin was portrayed by Peter Cushing in Episode VI: A New Hope but passed away in 1994.

I am by no means advocating for using CGI to resurrect either past stars or to “de-age” current ones (see Rachel in Blade Runner: 2049) but I am curious as to whether or not this will play into any kind of continuation of Leia’s role in Episode IX. The CGI rendition of Princess Leia in Rogue One was both amazing and emotionally-charged as the film had been released shortly after Fisher’s death. It was reported that Fisher knew of the recreation and approved of it wholeheartedly. It was a brief cameo, however, and I don’t believe that a leading role should be purely CGI so it remains to be seen what will happen with Carrie Fisher’s legendary role.

2. Disney hasn’t killed Chewbacca…yet.

Again, spoiler alert! Did you know in the Expanded Universe that Chewie actually dies? Yes, it is true. The lovable Wookie is killed off in the book Star Wars: The New Jedi Order – Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore…a book that was extremely controversial when it was released as no other Expanded Universe (EU) book had ever permanently killed a main character before. Chewie is still figuring prominently in the new films and has been a nice tandem with Rey, Daisy Ridley‘s lead character. I’m thankful they didn’t do away with him as the books did, even though I much prefer the EU timeline. In defense of the EU book, it was set very far into the timeline After the Battle of Yavin (ABY) so it isn’t like it happened right after Episode VI or anything.

In the book, Chewbacca dies saving the life of Han’s youngest son, Anakin.

3. They kept the humor.

While the stories of Star Wars can be pretty serious (Episodes III, V in particular) humor is always something to be counted on in the galaxy far, far away. It is said that Carrie Fisher herself helped to script much of the humor in newest films. Of course she did, she was known as one of Hollywood’s premier script doctors!

You could always rely on any of the Star Wars films to have a tension-relieving one-liner or a just plain silly part to get some laughs. It is part of what makes these films ageless and appropriate for all ages!

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

After The Force Awakens came out, some fans weren’t too happy. Then along came Rogue One and it surprised a lot of people. Me included! I was amazed at how well it stood apart from the series but also fit in so well. For anyone who doesn’t like Episodes I-III, you can begin with Rogue One and go right into A New Hope seamlessly. They really got this film right. Perhaps knowing it was a “one off” story helped everyone get into it, I don’t know. What I do know is that it is the perfect precursor to Episode IV.

What Disney Got Wrong

Below are a few things that I, and many other Star Wars fans, have seen as failures in the new movies or major departures from the established Expanded Universe…spoilers ahead.

1. They killed Han Solo.

Enough said.

Actually I’ll say more. Full disclosure, he is by far my favorite character aside from Leia. In the EU, Han is not killed by his son. In fact, Han and Leia get married and have three children, all of whom become Jedi themselves.

I’m not sure why the filmmakers decided to go this route or whose idea it was. All I know is that I almost didn’t come back to see The Last Jedi because of it. Maybe Harrison Ford wanted to be done with the role, totally possible. Whatever the reason is, it is one of the main catalysts behind my adhering to the EU. Besides, its just plain weird to see someone else piloting the Millennium Falcon. 

I’m wondering if the latest film to be released, Solo: A Star Wars Story, is to placate fans like me. I haven’t seen it yet myself but I’ve heard good things so I’ll reserve judgement.

2. Han and Leia do not end up together.

Source: StarWars.com

Source: StarWars.com

I’m sure you’re thinking “well obviously because Han died.” No, that isn’t why. In the latest films, it is clear that Han and Leia were together but separated for various reasons. Throughout the original trilogy, Han and Leia were the only love story we had and it was a good one…despite George Lucas’s inability to write a decent love story for Episodes I-III. The smuggler and princess had defeated the Empire and survived separation by carbonite– didn’t they deserve to be together? The authors of the EU books agreed and in The Courtship of Princess Leia (by Dave Wolverton), Han and Leia do indeed tie the knot.

You know what I think? Nerf-herder!

3. Luke Skywalker is dead.

In Episode VIII, Luke Skywalker makes his exit. While an epic end, it is another drastic departure from the timeline built by the Expanded Universe. In the EU, Skywalker is tantamount in the rebuilding of the Jedi Order. With him gone now from the story, I’m unsure of where they plan to go from here. I suppose maybe that is why Episode VIII is called The Last Jedi.

Whatever the reason, and I guess I can see that with the cast being the age that they are, it was inevitable at some point. It makes me wish they had created a new story line without the original cast to spare us from having to kill them all off. Did you know that Luke gets married in the books and actually has a life? Yep. Something else we’re missing here!

4. Too many attempts at humor.

Yes, I know. Above I said I liked that about Star Wars. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I felt that there were too many cheap laughs and too much goofiness forced on the audience. This was especially evident in The Last Jedi when fans and critics did not see eye to eye on the film, especially in the area of comedy.

Many, including myself, felt that they had started to depart from making at Star Wars movie and were trying to be too funny at the expense of overall quality.

I don’t like where Star Wars is going…what can I do?

Thankfully, all of the Expanded Universe books, games, etc. are still available and in print. LucasArts made a plethora of video games that you can still obtain. Below is what the avid TRUE Star Wars fan can do to keep the original universe alive.

1. Invest in the Legends books.Star-Wars-Darksaber-295498

Star Wars Legends series is what the Expanded Universe is now called. Books like The Han Solo TrilogyThe Thrawn Trilogy, and the X-Wing series are just a very few in a long list of EU books still available and being printed. It is helpful to look at a timeline list if you like to read things in order or if you like a specific period of time in the Star Wars universe.

Most of the Legends books can be found at places like Barnes and Noble but also on Amazon for a cheap $7.99 for a brand new paperback copy. Not bad at all! Do not fear, while the back of the book has the Disney logo on it these books have not been reprinted to fit the current narrative…so they’re the originals in all their glory!

Here are a few of my personal favorites: Darksaber, The Courtship of Princess Leia, The Han Solo Trilogy, Tatoonie Ghost, The Dark Apprentice, Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantinaand The Truce at Bakura.

2. Buy the old games.

Did you know that a lot of our favorite Star Wars PC games are available to play on our current rigs from Steam? Well they are! Some of them require some tweaking to be able to run them correctly on our “modern” computers but it is worth the effort. Often the games are sold on sale for a package deal so you should be able to pick up more than enough to satisfy your cravings!

If you still own a Nintendo 64 and it still operates, you have some gaming options too! The Battlefront games are being released for Xbox One and PS4 so new material is still coming out. Below are a few of the top games that you can still play either on your computer or on your gaming system:Star_Wars_-_Dark_Forces

3. Take each film as they come along, watch the ones you like.

I’m not saying I don’t go to the new movies. I do. But I’ve also learned that I must take each one individually. I may not be completely enjoying the new trilogy but so far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the anthology films that are coming out. So far, Rogue One and Solo fit nicely into the original and prequel trilogies. Here is the recommended viewing order:

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (my personal favorite)
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

If you’re enjoying the new ones, obviously they’d follow immediately after the original trilogy unless they make additional “Star Wars Story” films in the future. If you hate the prequel trilogy…skip it! Why suffer through Jar Jar Binks or Anakin’s whiny complaining?

As I looked into this further, it became evident that others have done some research on the perfect way to view any and all of the Star Wars films. I had no idea that there was more than just chronological order and release date order available to me…check this out!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that you just need to find what works for you. I know what I like, you might like something a little different. My point is, no matter what kind of Star Wars fan you are, there is something for all of us to enjoy. Stick to the old or embrace the new, maybe a little bit of both. May the Force be with you!

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