It took me one visit to love Duluth. Even in February, when the winds hurl sub-zero winds from across the lake.
In February, we felt like we had the lake to ourselves. In the summers you have to share.
Last weekend we headed 2.5 hours north back to Duluth. A mere 2.5 hours north, I-35 takes you far away from the hustle and bustle of the Twin Cities. As the hills open up and you reach the port you’ll feel like you’ve different world.
There was a blues music festival down in the open park by the aquarium, bringing lots of visitors to the area. Canadian wildfires north cast a sort of sleepy haze over the lake.
Our visit to Chinese Dragon was completely unplanned. We had spent the evening at Vikre (again!) and Hoops Brewing where Jake met his nemesis.
Jake’s one of those people to whom strangers spontaneously share their life stories. I don’t know if it’s his energy or open face. On the other hand, strangers never unload their life’s stories on me I’m kind of OK with that. As a woman, I’ve had enough creepy encounters just trying to go about my day-to-day business. Therefore, I try to employ an effective “fork off face” running errands or walking through the skyways (expressed in the style of Eleanor Shellstrop).
All it takes is one moment of contentment to realize you never knew what content was. Let me explain how this relates to smoked trout.
After a leisurely day of enjoying breakfast At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe, touring the Glensheen Mansion, and napping, we headed to Northern Waters SmokeHaus for lunch.
The tiny deli storefront is located in an indoor mall of sorts. A big chalkboard menu sits above the register. There are so many types of sandwiches to order, from house-smoked meats and fishes to roasted lamb, house-cured meats, and liver pate.
It’s easy to turn any sandwich order into a boxed lunch; simply add $3.50 for a cookie, pickle, and chips. Or, add a side of homemade kimchi or deli salad.
We ordered fish baskets – a fish basket is simply an order of any smoked fish you want sold by the pound + $3 which adds a hefty portion of saltine crackers and container of some of the creamiest scallion cream cheese you’ll ever find. It reminds me of the really high quality cream cheeses from Ess-A-Bagel and Rise Bagel Company in Minneapolis.
“If you can read this sign you should take a tour!” “#BolderNorth,” boasts the banners lining the fence surrounding The Glensheen Mansion.
Built in 1908, the 39-room mansion which sits on 12 acres of Lake Superior shoreline property is shrouded in history and lore. Chester and Clara Congdon and then their family lived in the mansion into the 70’s. It’s now operated by the University of Minnesota.
The first thing I wondered was how on earth the Congdons made all of that money. Fortunately, it’s one of the first questions the tour guide answers. Chester Congdon, a self-taught lawyer invested in mining, steel, orchards, and banks. He and his wife Clara met in college. Clara was also an accomplished painter and one of a few number of women in her graduating class, as it wasn’t typical for women to attend college at that time.