Duluth in a Day

I was on the edge, getting close and just chomping at the bit for a little exploring with my peeps.  Husband Jared was quite keen on the idea too so we set out early and made our way North.  I mean we are already living North, way North for us but we went even further.  A place we had heard so much about.  The fall colors, the water, the beauty, sold.  Fall is quickly coming to an end here and we are ushering in the bite of winter so the time had come to soak up as much fall goodness as we could.  And that my friends is how we ended up on the North Shore of Lake Superior, mouths gaped and hearts bursting with awe for the God who created all this.
That's just the view from my passenger window as we were driving.
We drove straight through Duluth on the way up and right to Split Rock Light House.  The sun was shining and the light house stood tall on top of a 130 foot cliff.  There we walked the old fog horn room, looked straight over to the jagged rocks below on the shore line and then walked up the stairs to see the only functioning mercury base light house left in the United States.  It was built in 1910 and began working that same year after deadly storms in 1905.  Knowledgeable and humorous historians filled us in on the details, explaining the glazed brick walls, the inner workings and all the fascinating behind the scene information that I love.
Look at that, the curves, the glaze, the variations in hue, ahhh. 
The inner workings

Looking up
As soon as we were told that there was a trail leading to the shore line we knew what was next on our agenda.  Only a walk through the light house keeper's house, the original, detoured us.  Thing 1 and were in our element.  Stopping in every room for pictures, taking in the old faucet, the baker's pantry, shiny, gold radiators, molding lining the ceiling and "antiqued" furniture.  Simple.  A different way of life so revealed through what was on display. 

This was in the "kitchen", a bit different than today's kitchen sink.
Thing 4 was over all this and waiting outside for us, halfway down the trail.  We passed the old incline track that was used to haul supplies up to the lighthouse.  All six of us walked down the steps and then stopped at this overlook. 
Love these four.

There it is, see the hint of gold on the trees, even more majestic in person.

We continued on after our photo opp and climbed over the rocks, hoping none of us would slip in to the icy water.  There were small pools of water that had collected from the night's rainfall and I had visions of a sopping wet Thing shivering from the cold and me watching it all, biting my lip so that those words didn't leave my mouth, "I told you so".  Thankfully that scenario did not play out, I call that a win.  The Things did climb and skip rocks and pretend to be mermaids, well at least one of them did.  I give you one guess?  One took pictures of a stranded dragonfly, the other was relentless with his questions about cliff diving and shipwrecks and still another stood there contemplating all that was before her.  As did her Mama. 
No words.  These are my Things. 
The walk back up the stairs was somewhat of a race.  Everyone was hungry, clouds were closing in that looked a bit threatening and nature was calling, if you know what I mean.  Husband Jared scored a parking place right next to a picnic table and we all sat together eating lunch and laughing.  Shocking, right?  That's just how we roll.  There was a trash can near the table.  One that is "critter" protected.  As in this Mama could not figure out how to open it and all the Things could not stop mocking me.  Once I overcame and joined them at the table we had a chuckle watching all the passersby attempt to conquer the bin as well.  It really is the little things.  Before you think we were being mean, Thing 4 always was the first one up to display his skills with the bin and offer assistance.  We are not cruel people. 
Next on the list was Gooseberry Falls, a short drive down from the lighthouse.  We were planning on a short hike to the falls and some more exploring of the Great Lake Superior.  Only when we arrived in the parking lot the heavens opened.  Not just with mere rain drops, no hail accompanied it and pelted the windshield.  A family vote was taken and with not even a change of socks with us we passed on the hike and drove into the town of Duluth.  Our drive had us winding through the most quaint of neighborhoods.  Historic homes on each side and breathtaking views of the lake peeking through, just what I had hoped for.  By the time we reached the "city" the rain had stopped, thankfully.  Into the port there is an aerial lift bridge and the boys in the family were so hoping to see "big" ships coming in.  As we pulled up to the light to cross the bridge, it turned red and we were first in line.  The excitement was almost uncontainable.  Then we saw the tip of a sail and realized it was not a cargo ship after all, only a sail boat.  Having seen the bridge work up close and personal was no disappointment though.  It is impressive watching the track and witnessing the timing of it all.  And on the other side the sail boat sailed away. 
Up it goes!
Betsy took us across the bridge, after the sail boat passing of course, and we continued our drive exploring.  More houses, looking like an artsy community complete with a Viking ship park and a harbor.  It was there that the boys were able to see the large ships they had been hoping for.  Thankfully.  Although they were in port and not moving it was good enough.  The girl Things were hankering to do some "city" discovering, aka shopping.  So we browsed antique shops and walked around Canal Park, down to another light house and a different view of the bridge.  From the canal we had a grand view of the city, complete with fall foliage and a rainbow of fall colors.  Thing 4 skipped rocks, climbed the boulders, and the girls helped in my hunt for drift wood.  For the record, as were looking and sifting through pebbles I looked up and whispered, "I have become my mother", to which the girls nodded and then we burst out in laughter.  Which I'm sure frightened all those around us.  Nonetheless there was a plentiful supply of drift wood on the shore, some of which came home to be added to my collection. 
Thing 2 gets photo credits for this one, I love the sky and the reflection in the puddles of rain water, basically I love everything about this picture.

From the canal, all those pointy roof tops, the sound of the water lapping against the rocks, leaves falling, just glorious I tell you.
Moments after taking this picture the wind began blowing and our stomachs growling.  I had been given a recommendation for a greasy spoon which we had planned on visiting for dinner.  It was time.  Everyone unbundled and climbed in for the last leg of our day trip.  With confidence and anticipation I entered the address into Lindsey, our GPS, and off we went, waving goodbye to Duluth.  Ahem.  I made a mistake.  The aforementioned diner was closed for the season.  Duh.  Another look at the website and I realized I had completely overlooked the tag line which read, "See you next season".  Oops.  So grateful my family is flexible and willing to go with the flow even when hungry.  Husband Jared found a family owned Mexican restaurant nearby and it was there we dined with plans to visit the diner's ice cream/coffee shop for dessert, that was in fact still open.  The mistake was redeemed.  I have no pictures unfortunately, of the milkshakes or ice cream scoops that the Things and I indulged in.  The coffee wasn't too bad either. 
Another sweet ending to a rather sweet day for these six. 
I leave you with this.  This, because these are my peeps and I do so love them.
Thank you Lake Superior for exceeding our expectations and
filling our hearts with joy!

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