WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?
Minnevangelist was founded by Ashlea Halpern and Andrew Parks, a pair of East Coast journalists who spent nearly two years exploring Asia and Australia before embarking on an exhaustive 16-month, 40-state, 229-city search for a new hometown. In February 2018, we relocated to the Twin Cities—and haven’t shut up about it since. Star Tribune noticed our unbridled enthusiasm, calling us the state’s “biggest evangelists,” and Minnesota Monthly named us the Best New Cultural Curator in its Best of MN 2019 issue. (Insert blushing emoji here.)
We get this question a lot, even from native Minnesotans. No, we don’t have family in the Upper Midwest. And no, we didn’t move here for work. We chose Minneapolis and St. Paul because they checked all the right boxes: culturally rich, surprisingly diverse, civically engaged, entrepreneurial, progressive, resilient, brimming with friendly locals, and the perfect amount of weird.
Also: The Twin Cities have a terrific airport and abundant greenery with beautiful parks, lakes, and forests at every turn. There are myriad bike paths, cross-country ski loops, and snowshoeing and hiking trails; ace cocktail bars, superlative craft breweries, and sterling restaurants; world-class museums and upstart galleries; stylish boutiques and a thriving vintage scene; plus an abundance of independently owned bookstores and art-house cinemas. The coolest bands, funniest comedians, and most gifted authors stop here on tour—and many live here, too. Every day of the week is packed with wall-to-wall events and activities. If you’re bored in Minnesota, maybe you’re just boring?
An obsessive dossier of the people, places, and things that made us fall in love with Minnesota. Think of it as a kind of never-ending mash note—highlighting new spots, championing old favorites, picking the brains of inspiring locals, and urging you to take full advantage of this truly great state. If you dig Minnesota and its northerly neighbors (we’ll be dipping a toe into Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas as well), give us a follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We’ll adventure together!
CAN WE TALK BUSINESS?
We’d love that. We’ve collaborated on marketing campaigns, TV and radio segments, editorial packages, brand ambassadorships, and other projects with Explore Minnesota, Greater MSP, Star Tribune, Minnesota Monthly, Travel + Leisure, Allrecipes, Aer Lingus, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Fox 9 KMSP, 830-WCCO, and RMWorldTravel. Got a fun idea for how we might work together? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Parks is a 16-year veteran of the music and publishing industries. He has worked in the offices of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, eMusic, and Time Inc.; produced and updated travel guides for Michelin and Fodor’s; and crafted marketing content for Marriott, Apple, Red Bull, Sony, Interscope, Christie’s, Visit California, Silversea Cruises, Guitar Hero, Bandcamp, Universal Music Group, Ghostly International, and numerous CVBs and DMOs. He is also the editor of self-titled, a leading underground music magazine; the founder of self | centered, a site about ambient music; and a contributor to Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, AFAR, New York Magazine, TIME, Artful Living, Minnesota Monthly, BuzzFeed, Punch, and October. He was born and raised in Western New York and fancies himself Minnevangelist’s resident coffee and beer expert. Follow him on Instagram at @thereluctanttraveler.
Ashlea Halpern is the Editor at Large for AFAR Media and Founder of NYMag’s pop-up travel blog, The Urbanist. Before that, she served as a Contributing Editor at Condé Nast Traveler, Special Projects Editor at Bon Appétit, Strategist Editor at New York Magazine, and Senior Editor at Time Out New York. Her writing and/or photography have appeared in the aforementioned titles as well as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, Airbnb Magazine, TIME, Wired, Glamour, Marie Claire, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg Pursuits, Hemispheres, Artful Living, Midwest Living, and Minnesota Monthly. Ashlea has been featured as a travel expert in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, and Forbes; spoken about travel writing at Stanford University and the Explore MN Tourism Conference; and guested on WNBC’s “Today in New York,” Fox 5’s “Good Day New York,” Bon Appétit’s “Foodcast,” and Away’s “Airplane Mode.” She has also produced creative marketing content for Target, Food Network, Airbnb, Ralph Lauren, Etsy, Illy, Visit California, Royal Caribbean, Silversea Cruises, MM.LaFleur, and Dr. Oz. Born in Maryland and schooled in the deep south, Ashlea has traveled to more than 65 countries and won’t stop until she’s dead. Follow her on Instagram at @ashleahalpern.