It took ten minutes in Duluth to know I loved Duluth.
The beautiful thing about Duluth is that it’s only 2.5 hours from the Twin Cities. In just two and a half hours, you move from the bright lights of downtown Minneapolis to land doted with lake cabin lakes and trees which become thicker and taller until you reach the western-most tip of Lake Superior upon which sits Duluth.
People asked us, “Why would you want to go to Duluth in February?”
Duluth is beautiful. The food is good. Lake Superior is so vast it feels like an ocean. As you stare at the waves of blue-green water crashing against jagged sheets of ice piled up against the coast, you will feel so small. The cold lake breeze whips your hair around your face and make your eyes water. Lake Superior will humble you and it will feel so good to be humbled even if you didn’t know you wanted to be.
The view from our hotel room at Pier B. They offer a free shuttle service around town. This works out really well depending on how busy the hotel is what your time frame. Lyft also operates here.
Vikre Distillery, located in Canal Park, sounds too good to true.
Vodka, whiskey, gin, and aquavit crafted with lake superior water and foraged northwoods botanicals. It’s true, though, all of it, and you can taste the spruce and the cardamom and the charred white oak barrels.
The $8 flight gives you the choice of four spirits, plus club soda, house-made tonic water and a lime wedge. Of course you can order any of the spirits on their own or in a cocktail. Vikre also offers a thoughtful menu of about five non-alcoholic cocktails. I enjoyed one made with beet shrub that tasted like clove and citrus. It tasted complex and wonderful.
The food menu is limited to spiced candied nuts and the snack plate. You should definitely order the snack plate. At $12 it’s a steal.
Smoked salmon from Northern Waters Smokehaus, salami, crisp pickled beet slices, sweet spiced nuts, a tiny blue cheese ball punctuated with a caraway brittle chip, dill butter, a slice of goat cheese, and plenty of rye crackers. Jake loved the pickled beet slices so much, he ordered a serving of them on our return visit.
Free distillery tours are offered every day at 5:30 p.m. You get to see an overview of the process from the giant sacks of grain to bottling machine.
There’s also a basket of board games to play as you linger over drinks and snacks; Battleship, Scrabble, Candyland. . .
The games may become increasingly more easy or difficult depending on what you drink. Having forgotten how to play Sorry, I couldn’t figure it out by reading the instructions before or after a cocktail.
The snacks and drinks are so good you won’t really care if you can’t remember how to play Sorry, anyway. I think this is what they call hygge?