Hey everyone – this is the weekend to head up to Duluth for the 35th Grandma’s Marathon! This race was started and sponsored back in 1977 by Grandma’s Bar and Restaurant which is located right in Canal Park by the famous Aerial Lift Bridge. The race actually starts just outside of Two Harbors and follows Lake Superior, by running along Highway 61, all the way back to Duluth with the finish line in Canal Park. While it is a beautiful scenic run, it is a difficult one as well. Running along the lake there are often heavy winds and many years the temperatures are very cold (below freezing at the start) but occasionally they are way too warm and there is not a lot of shade along the way. If the marathon is not for you there are plenty of other activities including shorter races and the Duluth Music and Maritime Festival.
Duluth is actually the 4th largest city in Minnesota and is located right on the world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior. By traveling through the great lakes, canals and passageways you can actually reach the Atlantic Ocean! Duluth’s port is the largest of the Great Lakes and is used mainly for shipping coal, grain and taconite. Many people may also be familiar with Lake Superior since the famous 1975 shipwreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – a large cargo ship full of Iron ore that sank during a big storm on the lake. Duluth is a popular weekend destination for people living in the Twin Cities as it is just a couple hours away by car and offers many activities.
Canal Park is the hub for tourism in Duluth. Here you can watch the Aerial Lift Bridge go up and down, see the large ships coming into port, see the world’s largest freshwater sandbar, do a little shopping and visit the numerous restaurants, cafes and bars. Duluth also has the Great Lakes Aquarium where you can learn all about life in the waters of the Great Lakes. Up on the cliffs along the lake shore you will find all the beautiful old mansions and homes. Some of the mansions, many of which are on the National Register for Historic Places, offer tours and some are still lived in so all you can do is view them from the outside.
If you prefer getting outdoors and hiking or biking, just outside of Duluth there are numerous trails and sites available to you. Many trails are free of charge but if you go into the state parks you will normally need to purchase a day pass. You can always spend the night in the city and head out from your hotel on wonderful day trips.
Whatever you decide to do in Duluth, do remember that the weather tends to be cooler than here in the cities so bring some warmer clothing and a jacket but it could also be one of those rare heat wave days so make sure and check the weather before you pack. Do keep in mind that the average temperature of Lake Superior is just 40°, so swimming is not a big activity unless you have a fur lined swimming suit and the so called beaches are made of rocks, not sand!
Enjoy your trip to Duluth!