September 22, 2019

A Weekend in Duluth, Minnesota

A Weekend in Duluth, Minnesota
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 22, 2019

It was time for a weekend getaway with our good friends, Sue & Ron Korkowski.  We thought it would be cool to drive up to Duluth, Minnesota to do some sight seeing and hiking and have some fun together.

Our hotel bar had live music so we thought we'd go check it out.  It wasn't very crowded, but the singer Hannah Rey was phenomenal.  She sang a bunch of classic favorites and finished the evening with my request, White Rabbit.  She had the place Rocking!

We woke up bright and early on Saturday and had breakfast at a local favorite called Betty's Pies.  We don't normally have pie for breakfast, but Hey....When in Rome...

The weather forecast wasn't on our side to start the day, so we loaded up the umbrellas and headed to our first adventure of the day, Glensheen Mansion.  It's a 20,000 square foot house set on 12 acres of waterfront property on Lake Superior.  It was built in 1908 and has 39 rooms.  It's old, but still pretty dang impressive.

The house was built by Chester and Clara Congdon.  Chester built his fortune in the Iron Range of Minnesota.  The house cost $854,000 to build in 1908 which is equivalent to about $22 million in today's dollars.  Chester died in 1916 but his children lived in the house until the last one of them was tragically murdered by her adopted daughter's husband in 1977.  The house was given to the University of Minnesota Duluth who opened it up for tours in 1979.  The family's story is pretty interesting and touring the house gives you a unique glimpse into their lives.

The house was named after this bridge and the water that flows underneath it.  Apparently this kind of bridge is called a Glen and the sheen of the river brightly illuminated the house so they called it the Glensheen Mansion.  At least that's what they tried to tell us.  They might have just been kidding.

I loved the boat house.  Just a cool old building where they used to keep their boats.  They recently opened it up for a different tour, but the tickets for that one were sold out already.  Maybe next time we'll get to see inside.

Apparently this old diving bell had been stored in the boat house until it was recently pulled out and put on the land.  I guess someone in the family used to go down in the water in this thing which seems like a pretty stupid idea to me.  If that cable were to break I doubt getting out of it would have been very easy.  Probably why we don't see a lot of diving bells being sold any more.

  There's many rumors that the mansion is haunted, but I can't confirm that.  I didn't see any ghosts anywhere and I was looking pretty hard.  I even called out to them a few times, but didn't get any responses.  

After lunch we walked around downtown Duluth for awhile.  I was surprised when I saw a store selling furs and even more surprised when we went inside to check it out that most of the products included the animal heads still attached.  I can't imaging business is all that good because I've certainly never seen someone walking around in one of these things.  Although I kind of wanted to buy one just to wear it home to see how my dog would react to it.

During the afternoon, we went hiking at Congdon Park.  It's a beautiful set of trails that take you alongside a bunch of waterfalls and a creek.  It's located right in the center of town, but you'd never even know it was there which probably makes it even more unique.  Fun stuff.

On Sunday, we went on a bigger hike to scale to the top of Ely's peak.  Sue and Ron's son, Mason, is on the Iowa State Rock Climbing team and comes here quite a bit to climb stuff. He was kind enough to come with us to show us around.

We had the opportunity to watch Mason as he climbed up and down some of the bigger walls in the area which was nerve-racking and exhilarating at the same time.  

I was a little worried that I was going to have a tough time getting my fat butt to the top of Ely's Peak.  But 3 miles of hiking and 1133 feet of climbing later, we found ourselves looking down at the world around us.  It was a pretty neat feeling being up there.  Until I realized I had to climb down again and that was just about as challenging as climbing up was.

It was beautiful to be able to look around and see the color of the trees as they are just starting to turn into the hues of autumn. Pretty soon they will drop their leaves and fricking winter will come again.  On second thought, it wasn't that beautiful.  

No comments:

Post a Comment