May 27, 2012

Traveling Can Be a Mystery

We signed up for our first mystery trip this year, and liked it so much that we both agree we would do it again.  We had no idea where we were headed or what we would see when we boarded our bus on Monday morning.  Eventually, we figured out that we were going north and by elimination, it would be Michigan UP, Minnesota or Wisconsin because the tour was for just six days.

The first day we traveled as far as Chippewa Falls, WI and learned that we would be heading to Duluth and the North Shore!  We were excited because neither of us had been to Minnesota.

In Duluth, we had a lovely hotel - The Canal Park Lodge - and we all had rooms with views of Lake Superior.  We could watch the big freighters and ore boats coming in or the joggers/strollers on the walking path behind the hotel.  We had gusty winds and temperatures about in the fifties.
This aerial lift bridge in Duluth will raise and lower to allow ships into the harbor.  It is one of two like it in the world - the other in Rouen, France.  When a ship signals one long and two shorts on its horn, the center gate mechanism rises for the ship to pass through.  Too bad for the traffic trying to cross the bridge, as the wait could be as much as a half hour!

We had a bus tour of Duluth with a local guide, time for lunch and shopping, and then a dinner cruise in the evening on the Vista Star.  Our boat had to stay in the harbor, however, because of the choppy lake.  It was very smooth in the harbor. The photo below was taken along the boardwalk behind the hotel.  As you might notice, we had to purchase some University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) sweatshirts to keep warm!

The next day, our bus took us on a tour of the North Shore of Lake Superior, stopping at Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls State Park so see one of the falls there.  We had lunch at the Lutsen Resort, all local specialities - Minnesota wild rice soup, blueberry salad, and almond Swiss creme with lingenberries - and all delicious.

Wednesday evening ended with dinner in the revolving restaurant atop the Raddison building in Duluth - walleye and North Woods chicken.

Our last stop in Duluth was on Thursday morning when we visited the Glensheen Mansion, home of the Coughlin family, one of the richest families in Minnesota during the early times of ore mining.  We had a tour and a catered lunch there in the garden room.

On to Part 2...

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