At an open house in Golden Valley yesterday it didn't surprise me to see many of the same people who also came to a recent open house in St. Louis Park. Both suburbs border the west edge of Minneapolis and provide ready access to the city and the rest of the metro. St. Louis Park is a little older and typical lots are a little smaller, with many 1 1/2 story homes built for returning soldiers after World War II. Golden Valley is more dominated by 1950-1960's ramblers and two-stories, as well as mid-century modern architecture. Its rolling hills create the right topography for more tuckunder garages than you will find in many neighborhoods. Homes for sale in Golden Valley.
Here are 8 things to know about Golden Valley and why it is such a great place to live…
1. Golden Valley has two golf courses… and supposedly got its name from an early settler looking out over land that was to later become of them.
One story of how Golden Valley got its name recounts that an early settler stood on a hill that is now Golden Valley Golf and Country Club and looked out over fields of golden daffodils… or golden wheat, depending on the story… another account attributes the name to the Irish immigrants who settled here, naming it after the Golden Vale of Shannon. Whatever the real story, this prestigious private golf club is a great place to see the rolling hills and valleys of Golden Valley. If you prefer a public course, Golden Valley's Brookview public golf course has both an 18-hole regulation course and 9-hole par 3 course on more hills and valleys… with picnic and playgrounds in the park.
2. Golden Valley is the home of Betty Crocker… and two nature preserves owned and maintained by General Mills.
In the business world Golden Valley is known as the home of General Mills. The corporate grounds are like a sculpture park, and local residents get the benefits of two nature areas owned by General Mills but open to the public. General Mills Nature Preserve is located right across Betty Crocker Drive from the main campus and has Bassett Creek running through it. The second nature area is located adjacent to their James Ford Bell Technical Center on Plymouth Road. General Mills Research Nature Area is one of Golden Valley's best-kept insider secrets. Its 57 acres form a quiet, undeveloped limited maintenance nature area with biking/hiking trails simply accessed by neighboring streets. There are no signs or parking lots… you just have to know it is there.
3. Golden Valley has great neighborhoods… and fosters community.
One of the strengths of Golden Valley is its strong neighborhoods and sense of community. The city sponsors Golden Valley Days every May, one of the first community arts and music festivals in the metro every spring. Market in the Valley, Golden Valley's farmers market, takes place every Sunday during the season. Some individual neighborhoods even sponsor their own events, such as the Kelly Drive Pumpkin Weigh-in Festival complete with pony rides, food and a fire truck that took place every October for more than 15 years.
4. Golden Valley's official flower is the lilac, and the Golden Valley Garden Club initiated a plan in 1939 to beautify Highway 100 with lilacs… a plan resurrected as the Lilac Project 6 years ago.
It's hard to believe that work on Highway 100 was begun way back in 1933. It was way ahead of its time, and became one of America's first 'beltways'… also known as Lilac Way. Highway 100 was a 'recreational' highway in the early days, and people would stop and picnic in the roadside parks… the highway was even shut down for a parade when the lilacs were in bloom! Golden Valley loves its parks and green space, and recently resurrected the idea. The 6th annual Lilac Planting Party was held last weekend in conjunction with the 3rd annual volunteer day bringing residents together to beautify Golden Valley and share community pride.
5. Golden Valley is the home of the first Byerly's grocery store… and the first to be renovated with its new Byerly's Creations take-in/take-out dining area.
When Byerly's first opened in 1968 the concept of an upscale, gourmet grocery store with carpet and chandeliers, where grocery shopping was not drudgery, was a new one. Things have come a long way since then, but I still love the smaller scale of this original store that has a neighborhood feel.
6. Golden Valley's city center is located just north of the intersection of Highway 55 and Winnetka Avenue… at the juxtaposition of thriving shopping centers old and new.
Golden Valley city hall, fire department and weekly Farmer's Market are all located under the water tower on Golden Valley Road near Winnetka... just north of its two primary shopping centers. I love the juxtaposition of Golden Valley Shopping Center that looks like it hasn't changed since the 1950's on one side of Winnetka and the new Golden Valley Commons shopping and dining plaza on the other side. Both are thriving, although they look decades apart.
7. Golden Valley is the home of the largest park in the Minneapolis Park District… and a 3700-year-old quaking bog.
I find it ironic that the largest park in the Minnepolis Park District is actually mostly in Golden Valley. Theodore Wirth Park is a real treasure, and home of a rare wilderness phenomenon. Quaking Bog is one of the most unique natural sites in the Twin Cities… a 5-acre acid bog that is 3700 years old, tucked into the wooded hills on the western edge of Theodore Wirth Park.
8. Golden Valley's 'Good Day Cafe'is the only cafe from Minnesota to make Urbanspoon's list of the best breakfast restaurants in the USA.
Golden Valley's 'Good Day Cafe' always busy… they don't take reservations, but people keep coming and waiting for table because it is sooo good. The restaurant's founder built the restaurant on the foundation of making fresh and natural food worthy of a 10-mile drive, and accomplished his goal. Everything from sausage to English muffins is made fresh in house!
- General Mills Research Nature Area… one example of why Minnesota was named the country's 'Best Trails State'
- General Mills Nature Preserve, Golden Valley
- Golden Valley Days
- Highway 100: Lilac Way
- Quaking Bog… 3700-year-old 'best nature in the city'
- Golden Valley's prestigious Tryrol Hills… hilly, pastoral neighborhood only 10 minutes to downtown Minneapolis
- Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, Minneapolis
- Good Day Cafe, Golden Valley