A year or some ago, I was made well aware (by Kevin) that Duluth had won some contest for "Best Outdoor Town in America." It was so strange to hear since, ya know, being on the East coast, I had never heard of Duluth until meeting Kevin (sorry!). And now being here, I see that these people really do love their region and all the activities it allows for. There is an abundance of trails & parks, and my understanding is that these are all-year venues (including freezing snow time!).
Since we've been here, despite our crazy schedules and trying to accomplish what seems like a million things, we've also gotten to explore a bit. And I, at least, am very thankful for that because I still know so little about this area. I have only actually driven myself on a couple occasions and I've been terrified out of my mind because of all the pre-winter construction. (I know...it's Minnesota, it's not like driving in Boston, but I still have to get acquainted!)
So where have we gone and is it really as beautiful as the Minnesotans claim?
Two Harbors. This town is about 40 minutes up the coast on the "North Shore" as they call it (makes me think of Beverly & Rockport in Massachusetts, but I'm sure I'll adjust). Along Lake Superior is absolutely stunning - the coastline really is spectacular. It is filled with all different kinds of trees, giving it a woodsy feel, but also great rocks & beach and cliff-like areas. We stopped at a local joint and got some fresh, smoked salmon with cheese, which Kevin kept saying was a MUST DO. We sat along the coast as we ate and it really was a great time. This was also in September when it was in the 70's...so, not freezing.
Chester Creek. This is one of those trails that's in Duluth proper and just kind of hides down in the middle somewhere (if I'm getting my geography correct). It's only a couple miles, but there are trails along both sides of the creek which are really cozy and beautiful, at least in the fall. At the end there seems to be some playgrounds for the kids.
Jay Cooke State Park. This park is about 20 minutes south of Duluth and by golly it's beautiful. The rocks in the water are a very unique formation and make for an interesting landscape. The trails are quite nice too! We came a bit too late to see peak foliage, but there was still a great deal to be appreciated.
East Duluth. This isn't exactly trails and such, but I am a sucker for beautiful homes & neighborhoods and here is where Duluth delivers. East Duluth is a bit more well-off I guess, and while there is still some classic Minnesota architecture (that leaves a lot to be desired - and I could be generalizing), there are some really stunning homes. The streets are clean and beautiful, with the full tree's arching over both sides. These types of scenes bring me real joy.
The Lake Walk. Canal Park is probably the most well-known of Duluth's sites (says the girl who really knows nothing...so I could be wrong). It is connected up the shore to the Rose Garden by the lake walk - a lovely place to stroll along the coast seeing a lot of nice city sites from a unique perspective.