DULUTH, MN (WTAP) — The first full day of the Holiday Vacations trip to Lake Superior has come to an end, with several attractions visited. This is Kirk Greenfield’s personal blog of his impressions and memories, and does not represent the opinion of the television network or Holiday Vacations.
The first day was all about travel, getting into position to enjoy the attractions the first stop has to offer. Now that we’re in Duluth, settled into the Hampton Inn, our journey begins in earnest.
Our first destination was the Glensheen Mansion and Grounds, home of the turn-of-the-century Congdon family, and now controlled by the University of Minnesota. The estate is similar to the Henry Ford estate in priority and stature in this region. The three-story mansion is only a short distance from the shore of Lake Superior and features a boathouse, carriage house, gardens, back porch, nature trails, stone bridge and lots of other features. other attractions. It’s like stepping back in time to see how people used to live and how a mining millionaire built his mansion.
The second stop is the Leif Erickson Rose Garden halfway between the hotel and the tourist hub, the Canal Park District. The rose garden began in 1967 and grew for almost two decades before falling into oblivion. However, when an extension of I-35 was proposed through the area, it was decided to create an overpass, which we would call a wildlife overpass in the MOV. Ten feet of sand above the I-35 tunnel is covered in good topsoil, and the Rose Garden has been recreated, complete with an open-topped gazebo, a bronze statue of Leif Erickson, and an antique water fountain. Many varieties of roses are grown here and are still in bloom late in the season. The bronze statue of Leif Erickson, America’s founder in the year 1000, was cast in 1956 and provides insight into the Scandinavian heritage of this region.
After lunch, we reunite for the trip to the adjacent Great Lakes Aquarium. We pass through the hands-on Exploratorium-style children’s education center filled with two floors of water reservoirs, environmental exhibits, aquariums, exhibits on waterfowl and the Great Lakes ecosystem and the cycle of the water. It’s a fun stop and those of all ages can learn a bit. We also get a great view of another laker ore ship passing under the overhead lift and out of the harbor.
After a few hours of free time to shop and explore, we reconvene for an evening dinner cruise on the Vista Queen tour boat. A catered meal from the local Italian restaurant delights us as we sail into the harbor at sunset. A crew member points out several historic “lakers” now born and retired along the way, as well as the active Coast Guard, area iron ore loading docks and more.
At the end of the meal, we all get up and introduce ourselves. The majority of us are returning holiday guests, and most are from MOV. When asked which attraction we look forward to the most during the trip, most answer “Mackinaw Island”, but there are several others who mention the Shipwreck Museum, the Henry Ford Museum or Greenfield Village. It’s the end of a busy and productive day in Duluth as we prepare to travel to the Apostille Islands tomorrow. We’ll be packing up to get our bags out at 7am once I’m done writing today’s highlights.
And the added highlight today was the arrival of the two missing bags at Duluth airport. Our Tour Director pulled the strings and arranged Delta’s express flight to catch up with us, and our two guests are very happy to see them again. So all is well and our trip through the Upper Peninsula will start again tomorrow, early and early.
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