We hadn't been up to Duluth since my birthday weekend, which doesn't really count since we only drove through the city. It was time for us to visit our favorite Minnesota city.
Brooke's got that awesome Minnesota Historical Society membership, which means we had to go on another adventure. This time we met with Blake at Northwest Company Fur Post.
I've always seen billboards for it and wondered what it was.
While the fur traders lodge is a replica it is actually on the exact same spot of where it was originally. This area was farm fields a hundred years ago. In the 1930's a little boy would play on the banks of the Snake River and find arrowheads and beads and other artifacts. He kept them for 30 years before he finally told someone about what he found. Archeologists came out and found the footings of the lodge and trading post. A diary was found in Montreal that belonged to John Sayer, the head of the fur trading post, which helped recreate the area.
Our tour guide was dressed like a native, which I thought was weird, but she did a great retelling of the history of the post.
This was one of our favorite tours. We actually learned quite a bit. I'm sure I learned all about this in 4th grade, but I don't remember that anymore.
Finally, a historical tour that wasn't some rich guy's house.
Before heading home we explored the site for a bit.
Blake caught a frog.
We were all hungry, but we wanted some Twin Ports delicacies, not some I-35 crap. So, we stopped by Thirsty Pagan Brewing for some killer pizza once we got up to the ports.
Since Teddy now goes with us everywhere we decided we should take his picture everywhere we go. Too bad we didn't think of this on our Texas trip.
We had to get to the forest to drop our stuff off and setup camp. So, no live music for us.
Zissou camp along and led the way.
With all the rain this summer the woods were very overgrown and the trail going in was extra marshy.
Blake built a greenhouse with the windows we saved from the dumpster.
I'm glad I salvaged these beautiful windows.
I'm glad I salvaged these beautiful windows.
Meadow just wanted to go down by the creek and fish. Unfortunately I forgot the fishing poles, but Blake had some buckets to play with.
She thought this was the best. She may not like to swim, but she loves the water.
One of many times this weekend where Meadow couldn't have been happier to be in nature.
We also snacked on wild raspberries by the creek.
Blake ditched us and we debated whether to stay in the forest or go to town.
We chose to head back to the city for a night at the movies.
Blake said they have movies in the park on Friday's. The weather looked like rain, but then it didn't.
The concession stand had cheap popcorn, candy and drinks.
We noshed on most of the snacks before the movie had even started.
The movie was The Secret Life of Pets. The screen was inflatable and when the movie started it started to blow over. People from the audience ran over to save it from blowing into the lake.
We brought the tiny tent and setup camp on his old yurt platform. We were squished, but we all slept ok.
With everything overgrown and not completely cleaned up from last summers storm we really didn't have any other option to pitch the tent.
I had to go to the creek to get water for our oatmeal in the morning.
Brooke kept watch over the oatmeal bowls while Meadow chillaxed on Blake's cot.
Blake had put in a temporary shed last fall to keep things in over the winter. In the spring he decided it was actually a good place to sleep in. He had a bed and moved his kitchen inside. It's not completely bug free, but better than being outside.
It was getting late by Brooke's standards so we hiked out and headed on up to Split Rock.
When we went back in March they weren't doing any tours or opening the buildings. We decided to come back for that. And we weren't the only ones interested in seeing the lighthouse that day. Uff da.
This tour was super quick and didn't add much to our understanding of the light house.
Before the tour guide pointed it out, Meadow knew the exact spot where a ship had crashed. I asked how she knew that and she said from the video. We watched the video back in March. I guess she does pay attention at the places we take her.
It was chilly up on the cliff.
We finally got to go inside.
When we got to the top, both Meadow and I were disappointed that we couldn't see out of the big glass windows.
After we had left she kept asking if we could go see the light beam. Sorry Meadow no one is allowed at the very top.
But Teddy was here.
Oh, a not-mansion house we can tour!
We really liked the light keepers house. We both said, we could live here.
Next we followed the old tramway to the bottom of the cliff.
Meadow was excited to be by rocks and water again. Her two favorite things.
The best part of Split Rock is viewing it from the beach down below.
Meadow claimed she didn't notice the light house and thought we were here to just play on the rocks.
We stayed for awhile so Meadow could play hockey scotch.
We were all starving, but didn't want to get lunch on the road or in Two Harbors. Instead we got two pints of Culver's for the road. Later we would regret this decision.
We were going to stop and leave the rest for Blake, but then went ahead and finished it anyway.
We took a little break at Brighton Beach so Meadow could burn off her sugar high.
At this point Blake would almost be done with work. So, we thought we would wait to see what his plans were anyway.
Meadow would hop one way along the rocks and then back. Over and over again.
Once again she was in her happy place.
We finally got to hang out at Blake's new apartment. After all these years he'd finally left his West Duluth digs.
Scott thought that Blake was hiding his new apartment since we didn't see it last time. The new place was so much better. No random clutter, no gross kitchen, no stinky smoke from the neighbors.
The guys had cleaned it up well and had it decorated nice.
We were all getting a bit loopy from never eating lunch. Thankfully Blake made us a feast.
One of the bedrooms they turned into a dining room.
Blake even taught Meadow to shoot the squirrels that try to eat his bird feeder.
We then went for a walk around Blake's new neighborhood. We had to choose between mansions and the lake. I chose the Lake and won out.
But we already saw it twice today!
Meadow was very happy with my choice.
We walked along the shore searching for sea glass.
These three could've dug around for sea glass all night.
We passed the Congdon's first house before moving into Glensheen. I really hope this doesn't get torn down.
It's actually getting rehabbed.
It's actually getting rehabbed.
Brooke went straight to bed when we got back to the forest. Meadow and I spent some time in Blake's makeshift tent and read books under the mosquito net.
Meadow also organized her newest collection.
We were thinking about sleeping in here. Meadow even told me, "It's OK, Papa. I'll keep you safe." I knew that to be true, but we decided that Brooke wouldn't want to sleep alone on the other side of camp.
You gussed it, in the morning we had oatmeal again.
On the way out I had Meadow in the ergo in front, the backpack on my back and my camera around my wrist. I got this cool new camera strap only to fall along the trail to the car. Whoops, my camera was used to brace the fall and got dipped in one of the of the marsh puddles. Oops.
We got back to town and had a bit of time before we were going to tour Glensheen. Meadow wanted tacos, so we went to Burrito Union. Only, she ordered mac and cheese once we were there. Enjoy the iPhone pics. My apologies for being a klutz.
Blake had to work again, but said family can take a tour for free.
While the tours are self-guided, they do have a cool new scavenger hunt for the kiddos.
It was a book with a photos of something from each room that kids had to find. Meadow did a pretty good job finding everything.
I'm not sure I like the self-guided tours. I feel like you miss out on a lot of the history and a lot of the rooms of the home.
We explored the gardens afterwards.
We'd never seen Glensheen from this perspective before.