Consider spending extra time in Duluth and using it as a base of residence to see much of northern Minnesota. It's the commercial hub of an area stretching over 100 miles (160 km) to the north and northwest. You can choose between a leisurely drive for 2+ hours to your destination and then spending the night, or returning to Duluth for a different trip the next day. In the summer, days are long. You can be up and out before 7 a.m. and not have to worry about dark until after 9:00 p.m. (2100 hrs).
A wonderful day trip is the North Shore Drive. Take a 50 mile (80 km) drive up or 160 mile (256 km) drive one way or anything in between. Check out the 'Off the Beaten Path' tips for things to do and see.
Favorite thing: The Chalet Motel is at 1801 London Road, a block off I-35 at Exit 258---thats up past Duluth on the lakeshore. The Chalet is an old highway motel, very casual, and popular with sportsmen who are looking for a place to take their boots off after a day in the woods. Very well managed by a friendly staff, and much much cheaper than any of the mainline motels. It's in a tight location, and hard to see from a distance. Probably around $30. Phone 218-728-4238
Favorite thing: If you're coming from the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) on I-35, you'll see signs for Skyline Parkway before you reach Duluth. This is the much more scenic way to arrive in Duluth from the West. You'll drive over the city and pass beneth the Engen Tower, which affords great views over the city. There are multiple viewpoints where you can pull over and take photos.
Favorite thing: Well, I was born in the big city of Minneapolis, but my mom was born right here in Duluth and since she still lives in Minnesota, she comes up here often to revisit the places of her youth. It's a great town to get away and relax and to enjoy some fresh air and nice people.
This shop was an Incredibly romantic experience during our visit in Dec, 2004.
There are tables & chairs in the front section of this Christmas shop.
We ordered individual Belgian truffles (Neuhaus) and champagne-by-the-glass (Veuve Clicquot Brut !). Live piano music made the mood fun.
Next time, we'll try one of the pastries.
Fondest memory: We were in a fun shopping area of Duluth (Art Galleries and antiques) and ready for a break. This shop was a pleasant surprise... highly recommended.
Torke Weihnachten Christmas Store and Cafe
- Address: 37 E. Superior St, Duluth
- Web: www.torkechristmas.com
Favorite thing: Jay Cooke was the Gilded Age financier who was the main financial backer of Duluth in the late 19th century. He understood the geographic destiny of Duluth to become a key transportation center, and for a while he even believed that it might rival Chicago in its ultimate significance in American economic development. His contributions are also recognized at the nearby Jay Cooke State Park (see my VT page) which was named in his honor.
Leif Erikson never made it quite as far as Duluth, but in 1926 a half-sized replica of his Viking ship left from this point and sailed all the way from here to Norway.
On behalf of Scandinavians everywhere, the statue proudly proclaims that Erikson was "Discoverer of America" in 1000 A.D.
Yes, but. . . .
Favorite thing: If you want to sell your plasma, downtown Duluth is the place to do it. (The white-clad building on the right is home to Plasma Services of Duluth. It's an easy way for a poor college student to supplement income - if you don't mind feeling woozy for a while.)
Favorite thing: Dominated by the ridge that rises behind it, Duluth's skyline is not especially grand. After all, this is a town of about 90,000 people. But it's interesting, which isn't surprising when you remember that Duluth is the place that gave the world Bob.
I've mentioned on other pages that Lake Superior is like a vast inland ocean. Duluth sits on the far southwesternern corner of Lake Superior and is visited by large grain and ore ships. The city of Duluth is 22 miles long as it hugs the coast and is only two miles wide.
As for swimming in the lake--forget about it. The water temperature on this August day was probably about 36 F.
The first place I would take someone upon visiting Duluth would be Canal Park and the Ariel Lift Bridge. We could sit down there and watch the big ocean and lakes freighters come and go under the bridge; have an ice cold lemonade or beer on Grandma's deck; take the lakewalk; enjoy an ice cream cone; shop in Canal Park and have lunch or dinner too!
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Duluth is the big lake and watching the ships come and go. I miss the fog horns of the ships when they enter and and leave the harbor! We go to the visitduluth.com site in the winter just to hear the fog horns and look at pictures of the ships! If you haven't been to Duluth yet, you are missing out. Plan a summer trip first though!
I would take someone to The Depot. The Depot has a panting museum, a children museum, and the favorite part, the train museum, which is about trains, has old shops from 50 years ago and you can also buy a train ticket, and ride up the North Shore.
Fondest memory: Golfing
Favorite thing: If you're visiting the city, I highly recommend going down to the Canal Park area (where most tourists hang out) or somewhere where tourists are welcome on the lakeside. It's an interesting experience watching the ships come in and out. The advertised-as-scenic Skyline Pkwy. up on the hill is a good spot to watch things from a bit of a perspective, bicycle, or drive.
Swim or wade in, walk along the shores of, gaze at, and generally commune with Lake Superior.
Fondest memory: Swimming in Lake Superior! As I said, this was the best thing I did all summer. Some how, after spending ten or fifteen minutes in Lake Superior, all the bad stuff that had been going on with me was gone and I just felt incredible. It may be cold, but it's worth it :)
Favorite thing: You can swim in Lake Superior if you are really brave or really stupid. No matter how warm the air temperature, the water temperature will definitely let you know what George Costanza on 'Seinfeld' was talking about when he suffered a case of 'shrinkage'.