Destinations · US Travel

Duluth, Minnesota: Part 2

The marina at sunset

Once my husband and I started a family, we tried hard to come to Duluth at least every 18 months. One year we’d come in the summer, another year we’d come after Christmas. In between all the family visiting, we found things to see and do. The snow was a novelty in the winter, since we did not receive much snow at home in Missouri. We would snowmobile and tramp around Canal Park in negative temperatures with a cold wind blowing. Ships would come in with layers of ice piled up on them and dripping down the sides. There would be light displays and we would put on layers of clothing to go see them. In 2013 we came up after Thanksgiving for a family celebration, and got snowed in with an epic storm. Well, it was epic for us but typical for Duluth. It had never happened to us before, and we have never been Up North since, in the winter.

Duluth also has the Great Lakes Aquarium, the aforementioned Maritime Museum, a railroad museum and various rail excursions, a zoo, the William A. Irvin ore boat and the mysterious Glensheen mansion to tour, plus sightseeing cruises of the harbor and the lake, just to name a few. We’ve done all of these over the years, plus hiked and biked on various trails. We’re always on the lookout for something new. We found two new places to hike. Cal probably ran through these woods when he was a boy, although he doesn’t remember.

Trails converging in Chester Park

For our Chester park hike, it was getting ready to storm and hardly anyone was out. The woods were hushed, verdant, and damp. We had no idea where we were going, so that added to the feeling of mystery. We turned around and retraced our steps as soon as we felt the first drops hit!

Chester Park trail
The trail followed Chester creek though some pretty waterfalls, although the water was low from an unusual summer drought.

We also hiked Chester’s twin, Lester Park, with its aptly named Lester Creek:

All things are possible! Climbing this rock was my little challenge for the day.

Seeing the Lester Creek bridge did trigger a memory for Cal: one night he was in the same parking lot where we parked the truck, drinking with his buddies. A cop came by and didn’t make trouble for them, but they all had to pour out all their beer. He was really mad about the wasted beer!

In both Lester and Chester parks, we really felt away from it all. You would never know you were in the middle of Duluth. They were substantial walks and we never saw any houses.

Near Lester Creek is Seven Bridges Parkway, which really does have seven pretty little one-lane bridges. It dates back to the days when people enjoyed getting out in the horse and buggy for a Sunday afternoon ride.

At the end of the road from Seven Bridges , someone’s yard was lined with these beautiful flowers:

We also took a drive along Superior’s North Shore to the town of Two Harbors. I can’t remember ever having been to Two Harbors when it wasn’t foggy and cold. For this visit we had a beautiful day, and a picnic over looking the breakwater. We had almost finished when the Edwin Gott came into view.

Of course we had to watch it park! We sat for awhile and admired the captain’s expertise in parking such a huge ship along the ore dock. The great hopper on the left of the dock will come down and deliver the load of iron ore.

It was such a nice day, we walked on the breakwater:

From there, we could see the Two Harbors Lighthouse, which is the oldest working lighthouse in Minnesota. A pilot house from an ore ship sits in front of it.

What a day for a daydream…

We had seen the Edna G tugboat on the evening news, so we went to look for it. She was sitting on the other side of the ore docks. The Edna G is celebrating her 125th birthday and is now a museum ship.

Of course, it was time for some pie, and Betty’s Pies delivered. Mine was strawberry-rhubarb, and Cal’s was apple. Delicious, and too good to share just one piece! This will be a new favorite place to go.

There are a number of places for dining and treats that we always like to visit while in Duluth. Sammy’s Pizza is one, as well as Bridgeman’s for ice cream. Grandma’s down in Canal Park is good but we didn’t eat there this time. A trip to Coney Island cannot be missed.

The problem with Coney’s is that one Coney is not enough. So I tried two, and forgot that it comes with this huge plate of fries! Waaaaaay too much food, but oh so good. It’s the only place and time where I ever eat hot dogs.

Cal’s sister Jane and her husband Dan gave us the royal treatment. They showed up with breakfast in hand for our first morning at the marina. They invited us to their cabin on a lake for lunch another day. It is fun spending time with them now that all four of us are retired.

Enjoying a ride on the lake in their pontoon boat
The lake level was low due to the drought, but the lakeshore was beautiful
What a lovely, idyllic place to come and relax. Dan is always fixing or improving things at the cabin.

We also visited our niece Sarah, at her store – DLH Clothing – in the up and coming Lincoln Park area of Duluth, and were able to have some private shopping time even though the store was not yet open for the day. We just happened to run in to her and her husband, Mike, on the boardwalk while we were riding bikes. They were trying out some e-bikes. They let Cal give it a try, which he thought was pretty cool. I wasn’t brave enough.

Of course, here is the reason for our trip – Cal’s Mom! We had lots of time to visit, and I really appreciated the fact that now that I’m retired, we don’t have to squeeze a trip to Duluth in just a handful of days.

This blog has been longer than I would have wished, but there was so much to pack in. So many pictures, and plenty that I had to leave out. For multiple reasons, we truly are looking forward to the next visit.

Next time – Anyone’s guess…