Self-made millionaire Chester Congdon spared no expense in building his opulent estate on Lake Superior, and little has changed inside the 39-room Jacobean-style Glensheen (3300 London Rd., 218/726-8910 or 888/454-4536, www.glensheen.org, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily May–Oct., 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun. rest of year, $13 adults standard tour, $5 grounds pass) mansion since it was completed in 1908. A variety of tours take you past the wealth of custom-designed furniture, hand-carved woodwork, leaded art-glass windows, and the formal gardens in the surrounding 7.5-acre grounds.
The modern University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) campus is home to the best art museum in the northland, the Tweed Museum of Art (1201 Ordean Ct., 218/726-8222, www.d.umn.edu/tma, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues., 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Wed.–Fri., 1–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun., free admission), with works from around the globe in the permanent collection.
The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium (1023 University Dr., 218/726-7129, www.d.umn.edu/planet, 7–8 p.m. Wed., free admission) has free public shows each week.
On your way out of town on Scenic Highway 61 is Kitchi-Gammi Park, an excellent place to enjoy the cooling breezes off the lake, with picnic areas, grills, a swing set, and a WPA-built fire shelter.
A few minutes up the road, you’ll hit the DNR’s French River Fish Hatchery (5357 North Shore Dr., 218/525-0867, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., free admission), where trout are raised. There is a small visitors center with a video explaining the operation and a glass viewing window—best time to look is April and early May just before the yearlings are ready for release.
Next is Tom’s Logging Camp (5797 North Shore Dr., 218/525-4120, www.tomsloggingcamp.com, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily May–Oct., $4 adults, $3 children.), with the ultimate kitschy gift shop, replica buildings from the heyday of lumbering, such as a blacksmith shop, and bunkhouse. Kids love feeding the goats and llamas. Right across from Tom’s is the Stoney Point wayside, a noted storm-watching site.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition