Last week sometime Josh asked if I would like to go to Duluth, a small city along the edge of Lake Superior, for the long weekend. Pleasantly surprised, I replied in the affirmative (YESSSS!). And so it was decided. While there are many difficult parts about being in the military, one awesome thing is that you get to go to places you wouldn’t normally think of (or even hear of!). Josh, being the wonderful husband that he is, wants me to experience this aspect of military life so that we enjoy our adventure together (and I can stay [semi] sane!)
We’d heard really wonderful things about Duluth, and our high expectations were not dashed. Driving in, the weather was foggy and rainy, and since I’m always craving a little Pacific Northwest weather, I found this quite satisfactory. Recommended by Tom and Molly May, we stayed at a gorgeous bed and breakfast called Cotton Mansion, and we could not have been happier. Our room was beyond lovely, the place quiet, the food delicious and the hosts kind. At one point Josh looked at me and said, “So, can we move in here?”
In addition to our beloved b&b, Duluth was fun! We went to Mass at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. The church has an great view of the lake, but the Catholic school across the street had an even better view. Literally the playground overlooked the lake. And for those of you who have never seen a Great Lake (it was my first time!) Lake Superior is GIGANTIC. It really does look like an ocean.
After Mass we took a tour of the Glensheen Mansion. And you’re probably wondering, what’s up with all these mansions? Back in the day, many people struck it rich through the mining business in the region. When I say many people, I mean 1 in 30 were millionaires. And the architecture reflects that abundance of wealth. Anyways, the last daughters of the Congdon family gave Glensheen Mansion to UMD in their will, so now it is well preserved by the university and they offer tours. The hour we spent in Glensheen was, by far, Josh’s most favorite part of the trip. Every room – decor and engineering – was so extremely detailed. The Congdon’s certainly went to the extreme to make sure that their home was both impressive and comfortable for all who stayed there. But I just wish we could have gone inside the Gardner’s cottage! It was so precious from the outside
Afterwards we got some food at the Brew House – a local micro brewery. They had the most delicious beer-battered fries and I ate way too many of them. The Brew House is located in the Fitger’s building, a place with lots of little shops, so we walked around and did some shopping. Still full from lunch (beeeeeer friesssss were a baaad choice [no they weren’t]), we decided to head back to the mansion and skip dinner for the night. Plus Ken and Kim (the owners) always put snacks and wine out in the evening, which kept us full and happy.
And before I bore you too much, I’ll quickly sum up the rest – we had a delicious breakfast of stuffed french toast, packed our bags, blew kisses to the Mansion (swearing to return) and hit up Canal Park before we left. It’s a neat area with shops and restaurants, but I think it’s a bit more lively in the summer. Anyhow, then we went to Va Bene, an endearing little Italian cafe with a picture of Pope Benedict hanging up on the wall by the entrance door. We knew were in the right place. After Caprese, Italian sausage soup and a bistecca panini, we hit the road and came back to good old North Dakota.
Long story short, it was a very blessed weekend.
and next time you’re in Duluth, stay at the Cotton Mansion.