Tag Archives: Duluth

Last stop – Minnesota

After careful consultation of our old-skool maps and the Google maps on our electronica, we decided to head from Marquette, Michigan, across the narrow top bit of Wisconsin then on to Duluth, Minnesota.

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Having never been to Duluth we had no pre-conceived notions. We liked it immediately though. The sun was shining when we arrived and the residents and visitors were all taking advantage of the outdoor cafes, parks, walkways and bike paths.

Since the Aerial Lift Bridge was a key destination for us, we decided to stay night next to it. The bridge’s roadway lifts up to let large ships and sailing vessels through the canal that divides a long spit of land that protects the Duluth Harbor from Lake Superior.

It is a fabulous sight to watch the ships come and go and the harbormaster’s office announces many of the ships, giving details of the ship’s history and country of origin. The next morning we drove to Enger Park to get a view of Duluth and Superior Wisconsin as well as the great expanse of the lake. The gardens in the park were beautifully manicured and the park was completed by an observation tower dedicated by King Olaf of Norway to the industriousness of the Norwegian settlers (Enger was a migrant who did well and became a pillar of the community).

The rain began to fall when we were leaving Duluth and it appears we got out of town just in time; by the next morning there were floods and road closures.

Our destination was Minneapolis to visit my sister Ann and her family as well as nephew Owen. Over the next few days we ate, both in and out. Gram and Roo mannned the BBQ and everyone pitched in with bits of meals, setting up or cleaning up. We hit all the Minneapolis hot-spots, the Weinery, the Farmer’s Market, Target, Caribou Coffee, Byerly’s, Wholefoods…Hmmm, I see a pattern emerging here! We even managed to go to new friend Joy’s to celebrate the 2nd birthday of her sourdough starter and a concert at the zoo. Sleep did not figure prominently in our 5 day visit.

I am writing from the airport in LA as this is the first chance I have had to blog in a week. It was a packed few days and here is some photographic evidence.

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If you’re going north…

My cousin in Michigan said that north of Saginaw was like a whole other world. And she was so right.

We had roughly sketched out a few days on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the bit above the mitten-shaped main part of Michigan. Having read about it in a Bill Bryson book years ago and having the transportation to do it on the way to Minnesota, the time was right.

So we headed north from Linden and got to Mackinaw City with plenty of daylight to spare. The bridge to the Upper Peninsula, or the UP (locals are referred to as ‘youppers’), is an impressive engineering feat that sounds like it was built to create employment and relieve the car ferry traffic during the hunting season. The UP is very ‘north-woodsy’ and the human population sparse.

Before crossing the bridge to the UP though, we took the passenger ferry to Mackinaw Island where no cars are allowed, and bikes and horses rule. There are plenty of tourist shops and signs to warn you to be aware of the so-called ‘island apples’, or horsey droppings!

On the peninsula we stayed a night in the charming small town of Marquette where we dined on the top floor of the Landmark Hotel with a view of Lake Superior, then drove out to Presqisle Park to see an exquisite sunset.

Roo has agreed to let me use his favorite Mackinaw Island photo of a horse drawn tourist trolley in the morning mist. Here are some images of the island and the peninsula…

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So if you’re going up north, I recommend that you take your time, enjoy the scenery and watch out for deer!

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