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Guest Post: 8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

May 29, 2017
8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota
I am very excited by this guest post. When I ask for guest posts, most people suggest non-US locations and that is great, but I was excited to get one from a place in the US and from a place I haven’t been to myself.

Duluth, Minnesota is a picturesque city settled on the banks of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior. From foodies to adventurists, Duluth has an array of activities and things to do. Whether it be summer or winter, visitors never run out of ways to spend their time here but if you need a few ideas, here are 8 ways to spend your time around the city of Duluth, Minnesota.

1. Overlook Duluth at Enger Tower

Atop Enger hill overlooking the beautiful city of Duluth stands Enger Tower, an 80-foot, five-story observation tower built in 1939. Enger Tower was built in dedication to Bert Enger, a native of Norway who came here to be a furniture seller. When he died, over half of his estate was donated to the city of Duluth – this included the areas of Enger Park, the Tower, and golf course.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, MinnesotaThis picture is from Wikipedia

2. Wander Canal Park

Canal Park in Duluth is visitors’ one-stop shop for everything gifts, food, lodging, things to do, events, and more. The area sits upon the shore of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior, and used to be a warehouse district, which has been converted into a variety of restaurants, hotels, cafés, and shops.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

A few of Canal Park’s attractions include the Aerial Lift Bridge, a lighthouse pier, and a 4.2-mile-long lake walk. Additionally, visitors interested in boats can watch vessels from all over the world enter the bay near Duluth, going under the iconic lift bridge.

3. Check out the Aerial Lift Bridge

The most famous landmark in all of Duluth, the Aerial Lift Bridge was finished being built in 1905, making it over 100 years old and the oldest landmark in the city. The length of the bridge spans 386 feet, has a clearance of 180 feet, and weighs over 900 tons. There’s only one other bridge in the world similar to the Aerial Lift Bridge, which is located in Rouen, France. The bridge is operated 24 hours a day and during the busy season in spring or summer, the bridge lifts an average of 26 times per day.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

4. Waterfall Hunting in Congdon Park

Located in the middle of Duluth, burrowed between residential neighborhoods, Congdon Park can be explored by avid hikers, casual walkers, and families in search of fun. When descending into the park, it feels as though you’re entering a different world; surrounded by billion-year-old red volcanic rock, lush greens, thick mosses, and pulsing waterfalls – hiking in Congdon Park is anything but boring.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

“There is no combination of stream and hillsides, woodland, waterfall and canyon in or near any other American city that is capable of development for beauty and utility comparing with that lying on both sides of Tischer Creek,” wrote landscape engineer A.U. Morrell of New York City.

5. Explore Gooseberry Falls State Park

Known as the gateway to the North Shore and Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls State Park is an area filled with beautiful waterfalls, an array of hiking trails, flourishing wildlife, and stunning foliage. As visitors wander around the park, the thunderous rumble of the water plummeting into the rocky gorges from the three largest of the falls can be heard from all around.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

To make the most out of your visit, make sure to stop in the visitor’s center to read up on the history of the park, find park information, watch park videos, view interpretive displays, and more. Also, summer is the best time to visit – but head to the park early, as it gets extremely busy!

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

6. View Split Rock Lighthouse

Considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States, Split Rock Lighthouse was completed in 1910 and is a National Historic Landmark; a beacon in northern Minnesota. The wreckage of multiple ships spurred the building of the lighthouse, which explorers can read all about in the visitor’s center. And after reading about the history of the lighthouse, visitors can hike the trails throughout the state park and wander down to the shoreline of Lake Superior.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

7. Marvel the Views at Palisade Head

This remarkable area shouldn’t be passed up if you have a vehicle and some time while in Duluth, Minnesota. Palisade Head is filled with heart-stopping cliffs, jagged rocks, awe-inspiring sights of Lake Superior, and picture-worthy viewpoints. Just don’t get too excited taking pictures of Lake Superior – which looks like the ocean from up here – or you might lose your footing and go falling off the edge!

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

8. Tour the Glensheen Mansion

Operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth as a museum, the 39-room Glensheen Mansion and the 7.6-acre estate was built by Chester Congdon on the banks of Lake Superior between 1905 and 1908. The mansion is perhaps most known for the “incident” that happened in 1977; Glensheen was the site of the murders of Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, on June 27. For many years, tour guides were forbidden from talking about and answering questions related to the murders, but now they will answer questions at the end of the tour and there’s a book about the murders available for purchase in the gift shop.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

So, there you have it: 8 things to do around Duluth, Minnesota. Let me know – have you ever heard of Duluth? Or have you ever been here?

This is a guest blog post written by Sophie Anderson, founder of The Wanderful Me travel blog. She’s a clumsy traveler tripping her way around the world in search of mouthwatering vegan food and wild adventures. If you want to see what she’s up to, check out her blog or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter

Texas, Travel, United States

My Favorite Things In Fort Worth, Texas

May 18, 2015

Favorite Things About Fort Worth

The last place I lived in Texas was Fort Worth. It is about 35 miles west of Dallas. Not in a million years did I ever think I would end up living in Fort Worth after growing up outside of Dallas. Fort Worth was the place for cowboys, rodeo’s and Billy Bob’s. And definitely not a city girl who loved living in New York City for seven years.  However, I got a job there and fell in love with Fort Worth. Recently, I went back for a conference, and it reminded me of all my favorite places there. I thought I would share them with you in case you are visiting or maybe to entice you to visit.

The food! Fort Worth has some amazing food venues.  From holes in the walls to food trucks to fine dining, Fort Worth has it all. The sign pictured above is the sign above my favorite place for a great breakfast, the Montgomery Street Cafe. It serves country home style and cooking. I usually get egg, hashbrowns, bacon and biscuits and gravy. You can sit either at a table or the old-fashioned countertop. The waitresses are the most friendly people you will find anywhere. It is a small place, so you might have to wait outside for a few minutes while the tables open up and get cleaned, but it is worth the wait.  Montgomery Street Cafe is also open for lunch and usually has a homemade dessert to finish it off with, but get there early because once they are out of dessert, it’s gone for the day!

If you are looking for Tex-mex/Mexican, then I suggest several places in town. First is El Asadero Mexican Steakhouse. Another small restaurant, but excellent food. I usually get the Enchiladas Suizas, but my friends who are fans of mole sauce say this is the place! Next, if you want to true Fort Worth experience, then head down the street to Joe T. Garcias. It is a bit of a tourist attraction but is worth going to sit outside in their beautiful garden. At lunch, they only serve enchilada’s and fajitas. The portion size of fajitas is enough for two very hungry people! Make sure to bring cash as they don’t take credit cards. There is an ATM inside, though. Next, is Salsa Limon for Mexican street tacos. They have two permanent locations, but they also have a food truck that moves around the city. Excellent street tacos and I recommend the Pastor or the Chorizo. Of course, there are many more Mexican places to eat in Fort Worth, and I encourage you to explore them all and see which ones strike your fancy.

Fort Worth also has a Food Truck Park! They have all kinds of trucks on a daily basis and is open for lunch. You can check their website for the truck schedule. Sometimes Salsa Limon is there as well.  Since I haven’t lived there for almost two years, I am not familiar with their line up of trucks, but I have never been disappointed. Some nights they also have live music.  Another great place for live music is Fred’s Texas Cafe. The one I like to go to is the original on Currie Street. It is mostly outdoor seating, but with a roof. The burgers are amazing, but the best thing is the Crispy Bacon Cheese Fries! They are to die for! Ask them to put blue cheese on them and you will be addicted, although suffering high cholesterol.

Beer is also an important part of your experience in Fort Worth. Fort Worth has their own brewery called Rahr. On Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons you can take a tour of the brewery for $10. With that comes a pint glass and three pints of beer! They also usually have food trucks out back, and you can spend the afternoon there eating and drinking. This is also another venue for live music in Fort Worth. My other favorite place for beer in Fort Worth is The Ginger Man. There is a Dallas location, but this is the one I know and love. I spent many an after work happy hour at this bar. They have an amazing selection of beer, and much of it is on tap. They also have many local breweries represented. The food is better than your average pub fair as well. When the weather isn’t too hot, I suggest sitting outside in the garden. Also another place for live local music! See a theme here? I like food, beer, and live music!

Not to be forgotten are the great cultural attractions in Fort Worth. Fort Worth has five museums within walking distance of each other in the cultural district. There are three art museums, the Amon Carter Museum, which features American Art with a heavy western slant, the Kimball Art Museum, which just underwent a major expansion and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Down the street is the National Cowgirl Museum and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. I used to work at the Science and History museum, and it is a great place for kids, and they have an Imax theater! Nestled in all of these is the Will Rogers Memorial Center, which is home to the Fort Worth Stock Show and rodeo that is held in February every year.  The stock show has been going since 1896. You can go to the fairgrounds for rides, eat great BBQ and see animals auctioned off.  Every day there is, at least, one rodeo show. However, get your tickets early as they sell out fast! In years past admission to the Stock Show also got you into the Science and History Museum, so plan accordingly.

Well, I could go on about Forth Worth forever, but will leave you to explore more on your own. Drop me a line if you have a specific question.  I would be happy to offer some recommendations based your tastes including a vegan option and coffee shops!

Driving, Museums, United States

My First Solo Trip Experience

March 10, 2015
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The Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI – Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz, Flickr

I was telling a story to a friend the other day about my trip to Rhode Island and I realized half way through the telling, that this was my first entirely solo trip. Of course, I had been on planes by myself and done road trips home from college, but this trip I had planned entirely by myself.

In the Fall of 1999, I moved to New York City to do an internship at Saks Fifth Avenue. Much of my free time was spent exploring New York City, but for my birthday, I wanted to do something different. I looked at weekend trips from the city and discovered Newport, Rhode Island and the “summer homes” of New York’s rich. Of course, I am talking old rich. These are the homes of the Astor’s, the Vanderbilt’s and the like. Unfortunately, my fellow fashion friends didn’t want to go or could get time off work. I decided I wasn’t going to let that stop me and I went by myself. Not only did I go on my first solo trip, I also spent my birthday alone for the first time.

I rented a car. This was an entirely new process to me as well.  I had the internet, so I was able to book it online. I had decided that renting a hybrid was most cost efficient as it cost more up front, but fuel would be less. The only thing was I had never been in a hybrid at this point. When I picked up the Toyota Prius, I had no idea how to start it! It was one of the first push button cars. I had to get the rental company to show me how!

The drive up to Rhode Island was great! It was late October and the leaves had changed. I also love to take long drives. I did this frequently in Texas as college was 6 hours away from my parents house.  I also hadn’t driven since I moved to New York City in September and was glad to be in a car.

When I was planning the trip, I knew I wanted to stay in a bed and breakfast not a hotel. My Mom has instilled a love of bed and breakfasts in me from a young age. Thanks Mom! I chose a historic home on the outskirts of Newport. It had lovely views of the water and I had a beautiful room with an attached bath.  To be honest, I don’t remember if the food was good, it was too long ago. However, I do remember the owners being there and telling great stories about the house and rooms.

I love historic homes and going to see massive historic homes was right up my alley.  The mansions were stunning. Looking back, I they remind me of the house in Downton Abbey although more gilded. I saw as many as I could in the two days I was there. I had lovely weather and you could walk from mansion to mansion.

Since it was my birthday, I wanted to go somewhere nice for dinner.  This was my rookie mistake, although I still tend to make this mistake. I didn’t have a reservation anywhere and when I did get one it was for 9pm! I never eat this late, but this time I didn’t care. The waiter was surprised I was by myself and even more surprised when I told him it was my birthday. I had ordered dessert and knowing that I wouldn’t want the whole restaurant to know it was my birthday and I was alone, they didn’t come out and sing but wrote Happy Birthday in chocolate on the plate!

While I didn’t give it much thought at the time, I did pretty good for my first solo trip. Not only did I pick a great place to visit and got there and back with no issues, I also learned I liked traveling by myself and that I could do it and that was probably the most important thing!

 Link to original photo – I usually like to use my own photos in posts, but all these photos are in print format back in Texas!
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