Last spring (in 2018) my best friend Mary and I drove up to Duluth for a girl’s weekend with our friend Lisa. A girl’s weekend with Lisa’s boyfriend (now husband!) … but this was the first time we met him and it was great to get to know him.
I’ll be honest and say the night we left I didn’t want to go. Right before Mary was supposed to stop by the house to pick me up I discovered some flooding in one of the bedrooms, so I sent her a quick message to delay our departure so that I could help clear out the room. I knew it was in good hands over the weekend, but it was such a stressful thing to have happen right before we were supposed to leave and I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy our trip. (Totally wasn’t an issue. I had a blast!)
Because I had to push back our departure a bit we got to Duluth pretty late. We chatted with Lisa for a few minutes after we arrived and then we went to bed.
On Saturday we woke up and Lisa made us a delicious breakfast. After that it was time to venture out to the Glensheen Mansion. Glensheen is a historic estate on Lake Superior, owned by the University of Minnesota, Duluth. It’s known for a double-murder that took place in the 70’s; the owner and her night nurse were killed by her daughter’s husband. There was a candlestick involved, so it was a very Clue-like murder, and I think that part of its history is one of the reasons so many people go. However, they don’t talk about the murders during the tour. I believe that was one of the stipulations when the family willed the mansion to the university.
I thought the mansion was absolutely beautiful and I enjoyed the tour, however, I thought it was a pricey place to visit. Even if you don’t tour the mansion, it’s worth a visit just to see the grounds. I enjoyed our time outside even more than our tour of the mansion. Lisa used to live close to Glensheen, so she’d spend a lot of time there taking photos. I’d do the same thing if I lived there!
CASTLE DANGER BREWERY
After the mansion we drove to Two Harbors, which 30 minutes north of Duluth, and still on Lake Superior. Our first stop was Castle Danger Brewery. I’m not a big fan of beer, however I enjoy visiting breweries and Castle Danger has a cream ale that’s delicious. For lunch we took an array of snacks to the taproom and hung out. It was really cool to see the different people that were in and out.
SPLIT ROCK LIGHTHOUSE
After lunch, we left Lisa’s boyfriend at the brewery and went to Split Rock Lighthouse. I was planning a story that partly takes place in a lighthouse and Lisa and Mary were nice enough to go with me for research. (Which literally involved me taking a video at one point in order to capture the sound…all writers need friends as patient as these two.)
I’ve loved lighthouses since I was a little girl, so even without the book this would have been a fun outing. (For me, at least. Thanks for tagging along, Mary and Lisa!)
AERIAL LIFT BRIDGE
After we left Two Harbors we went back to Lisa’s apartment. Everyone else took a nap and I took advantage of the quiet time to get some work done. When we were ready to head out again we went to the Aerial Lift Bridge and saw this beautiful rainbow. (I took the second photo from the bridge.)
The lift bridge is near the Vikre Distillery so this was our next step. I loved the atmosphere at the distillery and their drinks were a lot of fun. (And delicious!) Mary doesn’t drink and they had some great non-alcoholic beverages for her.
After gong to Vikre we did some window shopping, grabbed dinner, an then made our way back to Lisa’s apartment for the night.
On Sunday we woke up and decided to go out for brunch. J.J. Astor’s is one the 14th floor of a hotel. The dining room spins (not fast) so that you can get a great view of Duluth and Lake Superior while you eat.
After brunch, it was time for us to head out. It was a short little trip, but we were totally able to see a lot in one full day.
I may be biased since I live here, but I think Minnesota is worth a visit and a trip up to Duluth for a day (or two — next week I’ll share another day in Duluth) is the perfect addition to any Minnesota vacation.