Friday, September 21, 2012

Looking back: Duluth trip 2008

While on the subject of Duluth, Minnesota, I thought I would share a few pictures from our 2008 trip. Parker was just 8 months old when we took our first trip up to these Northern parts of the state. (Seeing these pictures of my baby make me smile!) Two of Clay's sisters were in town when the weekend trip was planned. Not having lived in Minnesota very long, we wanted to explore and do something fresh and new! Many recommendations were made by Minnesotan friends for Duluth, so off we went! I remember it being quite chilly for early August...quite chillier than our current climate just 3 hours south.

We had such a great time though. Our trip started Friday when we left the cities for Duluth. We actually had dinner at Top of the Harbor that evening (we ate like kings!! Thanks Nana and Poppie for that delicious dinner! ;))

Saturday we enjoyed breakfast out on the patio of the Canal Park Lodge and then left for the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad Tour. One of my favorite memories from this trip was watching Parker's sweet expression throughout the whole ride. He was all smiles with his chubby little hands and face pressed to the window in total curiousity and excitement. Besides taking pictures of our little man, we were able to get a few breathtaking shots of the landscape.
Fun Information on the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad History:

The original Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad was the first railroad into Duluth. After several years of surveying, preparation and laying track, the first train traveling from St Paul arrived in Duluth 11:30 PM, August 1, 1870.

The advent of this rail link was considered the most important event in the history of the state of Minnesota as well as in the railroad development of the country. The 154 miles of track connected the head of navigation on Lake Superior with the head of navigation on the Mississippi River. This opened up a viable means to transport goods to Lake Superior for shipping to Eastern markets.

The section of track from Thomson to Fond du Lac, known as the skally line followed the St Louis River through Jay Cooke Park. This portion of the original track had uneven terrain, a steep and long (nine mile) grade and high wooden trestles. These trestles were difficult to maintain and posed a fire threat due to the wood burning locomotives of the day. The Duluth Short Line Railway built an alternate route into Duluth in 1888 largely following the current Munger Trail eliminating the dangers if the skally line.

The LS&M became the St Paul & Duluth Railway and later a part of the Northern Pacific Railway which constructed railroad to the West bringing transcontinental shipment of goods to Duluth.

The present Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad was originated in 1980 by a group of volunteers from the Lake Superior Transportation Club, taking the name of Duluth’s first railroad and using a portion of the original track along the St Louis River for the current tourist excursion train.

Text from website.

Following the Railroad tour and lunch, we skipped over to Glensheen Manshion for an afternoon tour. I did not get many pictures from this venture, but we found the tour quite fascinating and worth the time! It has amazing history behind it.

The Historic Congdon Estate was built during the years 1905 through 1908 for Chester and Clara Congdon. It is a 39 room mansion, 7.6 acre estate that includes a museum shop, a carriage house, a boat house, formal gardens and a lakeview terrace. If you are feeling a need for a cup of coffee and some reading, I would encourage you to take some time to peruse the family site.

While in the area, we also toured the Canal Park Pier and Boardwalk each day. It was so calming to sit on the benches and watch the ships come in. There is something theraputic about lighthouses too; I think I could stare at them for hours and be quite happy.
Our last day, Sunday, we opted for a Vista Fleet Cruise, which everyone enjoyed. If one is interested in seeing the spectacular activity and scenery of this busy harbor, I do not believe there is a better way to do it than through one of the Vista Fleet Cruises. They offer a variety of cruises that you can be sure will leave you knowing more about this hard-working town when you depart than you could ever imagine.

Before leaving for the cities, we had to do some quick boardwalk shopping and stop for an ice cream treat! Oh, and we rode across the bridge; within minutes we could say hello to Wisconsin...and then goodbye again! Such a fun excursion! So....I guess what I am saying here is if you get the chance, GO TO DULUTH!!! Rest assured we will be going again and everyone will get to see pictures and hear of our trip, so why not tag along with us?! It could be a fun adventure! :)

To see the quick mini album I put together about the trip, click here.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the residents and workers of Duluth with the recent flooding that occurred. (It was hard to fathom that literally days after our most recent departure, the entire town was flooded.) Duluth has stood the test of time and I know that the hard-working residents will overcome this and restore it to its infamous nature as once before.

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