A day in Duluth

Duluth is a major port in the state of Minnesota, US and up north of the city of Minneapolis. Situated on the northern shore of Lake Superior, Duluth offers a few interesting places to explore. When I was visiting Minneapolis for work, my friend and colleague CK offered to drive SH and me to Duluth on a Sunday. It was an offer that we couldn’t refuse.

A day trip to explore Duluth qualifies as my first road trip in the United States. Sounds exciting, isn’t it? CK drove us to Duluth and we were able to visit a few historical and well-known attractions of the city. If you ever get a chance to explore Duluth, below are a few spots you should not miss.

Drive from Minneapolis:  Duluth is ~155 miles from Minneapolis and a day drive takes about two and half hours. The drive is comfortable and safe. If you can hit the road by 8 am, you can have breakfast in Duluth at around 10:30 am. This was exactly what we did.

drive to Duluth

The bright sky and the perfect drive

Breakfast at JJ Astor:  JJ Astor is a revolving restaurant at the Radisson. Located at the 16th floor, the restaurant offers 360 degree views  of the downtown and scenic view of the Aerial bridge. All this while you have a scrumptious breakfast.

View from JJ Astor

Aerial Lift Bridge: After a good breakfast, we drove to the Aerial Lift Bridge. The bridge is on the bank of Lake Superior. By this time, it wasn’t hot and was drizzling. To me, it was perfect for a walk around the lake.

 Constructed in 1905, the bridge is a major landmark of the city. It was also the United States’ first transporter bridge. In 1929-30, this was converted to a vertical lift bridge giving way for the ships to pass through. We spotted as the bridge lifted and made way for a cargo ship. We saw many tourists and families enjoying the summer day around the bridge.

Landmark of Duluth – Aerial Lift Bridge

A tour of the Glensheen Mansion: After a good walk around the aerial bridge, we headed to the Glensheen Mansion.  The University of Minnesota, Duluth runs this mansion as a historic house museum. Sitting on a 12 acre waterfront property, the mansion has 39 rooms. The estate has a separate carriage house, gardener’s cottage, and a boathouse on the Lake Superior. After the death of the last heir, the mansion opened to the public. The University students conduct small tours for the public. The grand estate is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Glensheen Mansion has a history of murders of Elisabeth Congdon, the last living child of Chester Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila. The case remains a mystery even now after 40 years since the murders.  As CK narrated the tale, our interest had piqued. If you would like to know what happened, read this latest piece of news

The tour showed the lavish estate and the many artifacts housed in it. The old bath tub, fireplaces, animal skins, a spooky doll by Elisabeth’s bed and many other unique collectibles.

Enger Tower: After this architectural tour, we drove towards the Enger Tower. This was our last place to visit for the day before heading back to Minneapolis.  The Enger tower is 80 feet tall and situated on top of Enger Hill. There are five levels in the tower and each level provides a window to the panoramic views of the twin ports of city. The tower provides beautiful photo opportunities from various angles.

A happy me at the foot of Enger tower

After a lovely day, we closed our day with an all-American dinner at CK’s parents place. A day that ends with smores has to be memorable. Won’t you agree?

Tips to keep in mind when you travel to Duluth: 

  • A drive is the best way to head up North from Minneapolis. You can also take a bus.
  • Leave on time to have a full day to explore. Summers are ideal as winters get very cold and the Sun sets early.
  • Make reservations if you plan to eat at the JJ Astor. The place is very popular and weekends get busy.
  • When visiting the Glensheen Mansion, you can choose to not enter and see the property on the outside. If you are willing to take a tour, you will have to buy the tickets.
  • Carry a jacket and check the weather before you head out. The city gets slightly windy and cold.
  • Don’t sleep on your way back. You never know when you will visit again.



Writing this travel tale for Day 8 of Write Tribe Problogger Challenge.

14 Responses

  1. Obsessivemom says:

    I love road trips. Unfortunately I din’t know how to drive and the Husband doesn’t like to so we don’t do them too often. But I love having the freedom to stop wherever one wants and also to load up whatever we want. Love your pictures. That tower looks so quaint.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…In search of an exercise routineMy Profile

  2. Esha says:

    Lovely account of Duluth in your post, Parul! I’d keep the tips in mind if I ever happen to have the good fortune to visit Minnesota and Duluth, in particular. Glad you shared the pics here for the rest of us.

  3. Rashmi says:

    This looks like a wonderful place to visit.. loved the 360 degree view you have partly captured and the Enger Tower 🙂 I am heading now to read about the mysterious killings you mentioned!
    Rashmi recently posted…When the world goes black!My Profile

  4. So glad you had chance to visit Duluth while you were here in Minnesota. I travel to the North Shore (the shore of Lake Superior from Duluth up to Canada) at least once a year. It feels like a second home to me. If you come back again, please, please, please continue up the North Shore. The sights are absolutely stunning. I wrote a post with many pictures from the North Shore if you want to check it out. Thanks for sharing your trip to Duluth. Oh, and for as many times as I’ve been up to Duluth, I’ve never visited the Glensheen Mansion. I know, horrible! It’s on my list. 😉

  5. April Munday says:

    That looks like an interesting place to visit, especially that bridge.

  6. Angela Noel says:

    I live in Minnesota, and until very recently worked for a big company in Minneapolis. I’ve travelled to Duluth a few times and enjoyed several of the sites you mentioned. The Glensheen Mansion is a wonderful journey back in time. The family seemed very loving. I read the book on the murder and it’s a sordid and very sad tale. Duluth, in fact all of Minnesota, has many wonders. I hope you get the chance to visit again!
    Angela Noel recently posted…Two Mathematics Concepts You Should be Thinking AboutMy Profile

  7. sulekha says:

    Awesome pictures to go with your interesting post, wow. I am curious to know about the murders at the Glensheen mansion, and will read the link you have shared. The restaurant with a lovely view sounds great. You look so happy at the Enger Tower 🙂 Lovely post.

  8. Shilpa Gupte says:

    Wow! Revolving restaurant offering a 360 degrees view of the place…and the mansion with its history…such a lovely, intriguing place it must be!

  9. Vinitha says:

    Wow, revolving restaurant. That must have been a lovely breakfast with fabulous views! I’m curious to know more about the murder mysteries. What a gorgeous looking tower is Enger tower! Beautiful pictures, Parul and fantastic description. I loved this virtual tour. 🙂
    Vinitha recently posted…What doesn’t kill you.. #writebravely #WritetribeprobloggerMy Profile

  10. vineeta says:

    Your last line “tips to keep in mind….
    Don’t sleep on your way back you never know when will you visit again ” this is suitable for all the beautiful places you visit.
    Nice post

  11. Wow! This looks like a wonderful place to visit!

  12. Loved the travelogue. I loved the bridge and mansion. The tower also looks great and it seems like a drizzling day makes the bridge look more beautiful.

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