Skip to main content

Duluth For The Day

 After work I decided to drive up to Duluth to visit my little brother Blake. Scott would have come with me if he didn't have to work.

Like most streets in Duluth he lives on a steep hill. I couldn't remember how to park on a hill so I copied the car in front of me.

He gave me a tour of his house and when we were in his backyard I heard rushing water. There was a trail and some woods that we followed down a hill to Chester Creek.

I had no idea he lived so close to a park.

Or a waterfall.

We walked a ways to find an old ski jump. Blake said he climbed it when he first moved here and a month later the city took the stairs down.

The ski lift is still in use for sledding. 

Walking back to his house we passed another ski jump. Back when this was first built it was the tallest in the world. During World War II 50 feet was taken off the top to give to the war effort. 

The reason I came to visit Blake was mainly because he had free passes to all of the attractions in Duluth until the end of June. We picked out all the things we wanted to do and planned out our day. 

Why do college kids always have random things?

Then we had tea and played Payday before calling it a night. 

The next morning we got up early and Blake made me breakfast.

He couldn't get a small piece of the chaga off and ended up throwing it on the sidewalk to get it to break apart.

Pancakes and chaga tea. 

Our first tourist attraction was the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad. Unlike the other train ride you can take in Duluth this one had less people.

The train took you on a historic tour of a side of Duluth that most people have never seen. 

A few years ago Duluth had a washout of rain causing some damage to some of the tracks. Kind of funny (except not really) that they experienced some flooding two days after I was there.

This train was used 100 years ago as a passenger train for people to get to and from Duluth to St. Paul. It only traveled at 10 mph so the trip would take 16 hours. I could bike faster than that.

Besides one other family we had the whole car to ourselves. 

In New Duluth the train stopped, unhooked the engine and hooked on to the back before making our round trip. We joked about the engine leaving us stranded.

We passed a plant that makes an ingredient that goes in candy. Kind of scary that an emergency shower was needed.

Next we headed over to the Glensheen. Blake is working there for the summer so we got to go on our own personal tour. There's no photography allowed inside which is a bummer because it's gorgeous, but you'll just have to go see the inside for yourself. 

After our tour we walked around the gardens and the boathouse. We spent most of our day here. Even Blake's coworkers kept saying "You're still here?!" I love history and especially old homes. I think I asked Blake like a million questions.

He kept getting into my shots.

The history of the Glensheen as told by Blake:

Glensheen was the home for lawyer, capitalist, and later politician Chester Congdon and his family. The Congdon family includes Chester's wife, Clara, and their seven children: Walter, Edward, Marjorie, Helen, Alfred, Elisabeth, and Robert. Chester had made most of his wealth by investing in taconite on the Iron Range and died as Minnesota's wealthiest man. He also had several other investments including copper mines in Arizona and orchards in Yakima, WA. 

 Completed in 1908, the 27,000 square foot home includes 39 rooms, 15 bedrooms, 15 fireplaces, and originally 10 bathrooms. At the time of construction it cost $856,000 dollars to build(~$30,000,000 in today's money.) The Jacobean architecture resembles the style of 17th century English country estates. Also the d├ęcor of the home is a combination of late Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Arts & Crafts. The interiors as well as most of the furniture was designed by the William A. French Co. in St. Paul. 

The eight (originally 22) acre estate includes a carriage house, gardener's cottage, as well as a boat house. Chester also was up to date on the latest technology; electricity, running water, hot water, central heating, an intercom system, an annunciator system, and a central vacuum are all original to the home. 

Some of the showers in the house had up to 15 showerheads in one shower.  

 There are two parts to the name Glensheen: “Glen” is a low-wooded area between two bodies of running water, and “Sheen” either comes from the sheen or shine off of Lake Superior or that Clara's ancestors originate from the town of Sheen, England. The house was lived in until the youngest daughter, Elisabeth, passed away in 1977 where it was willed to the UMD who owns it to this day. 

Blake is awesome. He packed us a lunch so we could have a picnic in the gardens. 

This fountain is pretty much the only thing actually made in Duluth that was at this house. 

Next we went downtown and headed to our next attraction. 

The Vista Fleet. A 2 hour cruise on the history of Duluth's shoreline. 

We were last so all the good seats were taken by tourists.

It was fun to go under the aerial lift bridge. 

Then second half of the trip was kind of boring and I was sick of standing at that point so I didn't take many photos.

We were going to call it a day until we walked past the Irvin and thought we would go on the last tour. 

The tour took you through the entire boat. Starting in the engine room, to the crew's rooms, the guest rooms and lastly to the cargo area. 

The rooms for the crews were all painted the same color and were a very simple layout. When we got to the guest area everyone was impressed by how different the rooms were. Having been spoiled by just seeing the Glensheen I was not impressed. 

The tour guide had Blake pull the horn. She plugged her ears and when no sound came out she joked that it didn't work anymore. 

The Vista Fleet gave us a coupon book for restaurants, lodging and attractions mostly in Canal Park. We took advantage of one of the coupons to have dinner. 

Amazing Grace Cafe. The only place Blake will go in Canal Park. 

The sandwiches were huge and you get to pick what goes in them.

After dinner I headed back towards the cities. I drove through 3 storms on the way back. I had no idea all that rain would change Duluth.

Had we actually had to pay for all the things we saw today it would have cost $86.

To see more photos and see Blake's perspective of the day go here. 


Amanda said…
He has a forest in his back yard!? Wow!
What is the game Pay Day like?

How do you guys know what stuff like Chaga is?? I learn so many new things from reading your blogs. Ha, ha.
hat a nice visit with Blake! Those sandwiches look amazing! I clicked on Blake’s blog and it was crazy to see what the flood did!! That’s crazy how the road was all broken up. I think it’s fun that you both have blogs.
Brooke said…
Payday is like Life whoever has the most money at the end of the month wins.

Blake loves foraging. I've actually learned a lot from him. Like Chaga, it's the mushroom that grows on wounded birch trees. It is really good for you and doesn't taste mushroomy.

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas of America

Earlier this week a certain naughty kitty decided he didn't like my puzzle and took apart half of it. I put tin foil across to stop him from doing it again. I heard cats don't like tin foil. Is that actually true or just a rumor?  Brooke cleaned our upstairs closet and found two Chia Pets. Neither one of them are Chia Obama , though Homer does look awfully presidential in this pose. They haven't been growing so she created some makeshift greenhouses. My pops came back to pick up my mom and help me with my 1920's toilet. A week later and no leaks. Looks like we did a good job. This gave me an excuse to try out my Christmas present from my in-laws.    Then we headed to the Mall of America. I'm pretty sure we are the only ones we know that actually shop here. I worked here at a spin-off store of Forever 21 when I first moved to Minnesota.  I feel no shame for shopping at this monstrosity. It often has the best sales rack of any

Camping The Driftless

Last month we went to a birthday party at Choo Choo Bob's Train Store . Since then Meadow (or should I say Scott and I) have been hooked on getting Meadow more trains and tracks. I found this awesome deal on Craigslist for a giant bag of trains for only $20. The best part of being a parent is getting to live out your childhood dreams. Craigslist makes that a lot easier.

Honeymoon But With Kids: Duluth Sailing and Madeline Island Beach Days

Day 1 Exactly 10 years ago Scott and I took a 10 day trip to Upper Michigan. While we were on this trip I said we should do this again with our kids in 10 years. Flash forward 10 years and here we are. We are following our same route and visiting the same places with a few additions. Thankfully we had these two kids in the preceding 10 years and they're road trip pros at this point. The start of the trip takes us to Duluth. We had planned to leave in the morning and arrive around noon. While packing up the car Scott noticed our car battery was dead.  I asked our neighbor for a jump and we were soon back on track. We never left our dome light on in 4 years at the condo, but somehow have managed to do this twice since moving. I guess a dark garage will do that.  Once that was fixed we had to figure out the puzzle of fitting 3 bikes onto our bike rack. By the time we were off we were getting hungry. Scott has always wanted to try Tobie's to see what the hype was all about.  After