This week I did a quick overnight trip with my son Dante (28) up north to Duluth, Minnesota, a less-than 3-hour drive from Minneapolis. I’d been wanting to take him there since he doesn’t remember Duluth at all, even though we’d been there as a family when he was growing up. I had some hotel points to use up, we could just leave the cat easily overnight, and a quick trip fit my still-unemployed budget. So, throw some items in a bag and off to Duluth!
One cool thing about Duluth is that you can drive 150 miles and really feel like you are Someplace Else. Its main feature is that it is a port city on Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. Duluth is bordered by bluffs with the lake and port below, so there are many spots to get breathtaking and expansive scenic views. The lake is a powerful presence of nature that permeates the city. Duluth is dramatic and peaceful at the same time, which makes it a favorite destination of many.
We set off on Wednesday afternoon. I’d been telling Dante all about the spectacular view when you drive into Duluth– you crest a hill and then there it is, looking down on the ocean-like lake, the port, the town. It’s stunning. But of course, it started raining about half-way there, and then we drove straight into a deep fog that made it hard to see anything. No views as we came into town. You couldn’t even tell there was a lake there, much less a Superior one. We had a good laugh and drove to our hotel. I hoped that the fog would clear overnight so I’d be able to show Dante what I’d been promising. (It did!)
We stopped for some pizza at Vita Pizza (very good) and drove around a bit, but it was pretty much rainy and foggy, so there wasn’t much to see. We relaxed at the hotel and got to bed early-ish so we could do more on Thursday.
After breakfast at the hotel, we began the day’s adventures, grateful for the sun and clearness. We went to Canal Park and walked along the pier to the lighthouse. It was fun to see a tour boat make its way under the Aerial Lift Bridge, and then, even more exciting, we got to see one of the huge “lakers” go through the channel (and hear its very loud horn). It’s amazing how long these vessels are up close.
After Canal Park, we went off to get coffee with our niece/cousin Kylee at the Duluth Coffee Company. Kylee is a student at the University of Minnesota – Duluth and is staying to work over the summer. It was great that we could catch her when she wasn’t busy and have a nice chat with her!
After coffee, we spent a few hours driving along the Skyline Parkway / Scenic Byway on the bluffs of Duluth and seeing more of the city and its natural beauty. I’ve only driven the parkway once before and so far I’m two-for-two in getting lost trying to follow the road — it seems easy to lose the trail as you are meandering through city streets. Ah well, we got to see some pretty views. And the lupines were in bloom!
We returned to Canal Park to have a very late lunch at Northern Waters Smokehaus, a delicious sandwich place where I’ve eaten before. Then it was time to start driving home. We took our time and made a few pitstops on the way, and were home by early evening. It always seems like a short trip out of town ends up feeling like we were gone longer than 1 day.
I was so glad to have this little jaunt and a one-on-one trip with Dante. He’s so much of a homebody, but he had a good time and enjoyed getting reacquainted with Duluth. He took several of the photos in this post. He’s a fun travel buddy.
If you’re interested in seeing a bit of Duluth for yourself, I found a website that has several livestreaming cameras set up so you can see what’s currently happening at the canal, liftbridge, and beach areas. Take a peek at here.
Thanks for following along!