Highway 61 Revisited & Other Adventures in Duluth

Duluth

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Seaport City of Duluth

Approaching Duluth one has a clear view onto Lake Superior. We curved along the ramp downhill oward a thin strip of land jutting out into the water. The rest of the city is set on a steep hill. The long, thin road into Canal Park was dotted with old factories cum boutiques, breweries and restaurants.

Our hotel was the Park Point Marina Inn.  Historical maps and photos of ships from the great Midwest seaport covered the walls. The outside of our bedroom window looked right onto a marina.

The walls at Grandma’s Saloon & Grill were covered in vintage adverts along with the heads of some large animals. We grabbed a quick bite and joined locals on Canal Park to watch Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge lift for outgoing vessels. A massive cargo ship headed across Lake Superior to Eerie Canal and down the Hudson river to New York.

The Interlake under the Aerial Lift Bridge

The tip of the stretch of Canal Park is sandy smooth beach with quick, fresh water waves.

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Shores of Lake Superior

Duluth’s Fine Exports, Fine Dining and the tunes of Bob Dylan

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Camp gear that could easily be sold alongside baby alpaca hats on Atlantic Ave

Duluth Pack

The Duluth Pack was borne as a portage pack for canoes, a key mode of transport and modern day state hobby in the Boundary Waters. These are beautifully crafted satchels that would make any hipster drool.

Duluth Trading Company.

Duluth Trading Company deserves an ode to their adventure pants as Andrew and I call them. The sturdy, flexible well crafted denim, perfect for the continued northbound journey. The shop on Superior Street also has a fantastic cabin building book selection.

Superior Street, Duluth along Lake Superior leads right into Bob Dylan Way, a.k.a. Highway 61. I loved old albums growing up and a framed copy of Highway 61 was prominently displayed in my Amagansett bedroom.

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You can’t go very far in Minnesota without being reminded of it’s strong Nordic and Scandinavian heritage.

Pictured here: a statue of Lief Ericson, an Icelandic explorer, known as the first Norse explorer to reach America. The only other place I have seen a tall statue of Lief next to a Lutheran church and a body of water is in Reykjavík.

Behind him is a vibrant and fragrant rose garden.

 

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We took the County State Aid Hwy 61, a route along the water so scenic, it seemed a Robert Moses inspired PCH right in northern Minnesota. Across from lake the stood a one level building with large windows, wild gardens and several Adirondack chairs. We had arrived at the New Scenic Café. Before leaving town for the next leg of our journey, we stumbled onto the café’s beautiful cookbook and declared it our lunch spot.

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Jazz that I like to call Woody Allen jazz – the kind of sound played at a fabulous cocktail party in a sophisticated city in his films – gently filled the restaurant. I sat next to a window overlooking a succulent garden and Lake Superior. The walls were of pine wainscoting and decorated with a local artist’s depictions of horses. I sipped vetliner grüner and the meal that proceeded was one of the most splendid I can recall. Pistachio crusted goat cheese salad. Grilled walleye sandwich on crisp slices of homemade cranberry walnut bread. Tuna and avocado wantons with freshly made wasabi. A marzipan tart with chunks of rhubard sided with a local brew.

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Air stream in the parking lot of the New Scenic Café

Every course was delicately prepared yet welcoming and unpretentious. Each flavor was simple and fresh, and designed with intention. It was so good that we bought the cookbook right there. Plus, it has a forward written by none other than Garrison Keillor.

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Our Traditional Go at Album Cover Inspired Photos. #LookFierce

And off we went from the cool seaport city and into the Boundary Waters.