If Duluth feels like home,
it's because it could be.

#befromDuluth

Hansi Johnson

Mission

Destination Duluth is a collaborative online resource dedicated to educating and inspiring the
public about the beauty of Duluth, Minnesota, thereby shaping the City's positive growth.

Destination Duluth: Accomplishing our mission

Dennis O'Hara

 

At Destination Duluth, our mission is simple:

We want to grow Duluth.

Many folks, “weekend warriors” if you will, travel to our fine city to escape long commutes, rush hour traffic, and suburban sprawl. They arrive as tourists, spending a weekend or two hiking our magnificent trails, catching a live musical performance, or sipping one of Duluth’s locally crafted beers or spirits.

Perhaps over the course of a single weekend they intuit what we locals have always known --- that Duluth is a treasure, a sparkling jewel in the crown of Minnesota’s Great Northwoods. From the deep azure mystery and inherent adventure found in Lake Superior to our world class arts and cultural scene, Duluth simply has it all.

Fully rested and rejuvenated, many visitors discover that their hearts belong in Duluth, and never want to leave this magical place. Have you had this feeling? Have you felt drawn to our city? Have you considered making Duluth your home?

Our goal is to help you do that.

Enter Destination Duluth

Co-founded in 2013 by resident Duluthians Branden Robinson, Christopher Swanson, and Tom Livingston, “Destination Duluth was created to fill the need of educating the public about the qualities of Duluth as a ‘destination for life,’” Livingston shares.

Robinson echoes this intent, adding, “We believe Duluth to be a world-class community, thanks to its natural, social and economic assets.”

Simply put, Destination Duluth is here to showcase all of the amazing things that make Duluth … well, Duluth. It's a phenomenal place to live, and we want to share it with the world. Through a wealth of stories written by local residents and accompanied by amazing photography, we hope to inspire you to become a Duluthian yourself.

How Destination Duluth Can Help You Come Home

With an abundance of great jobs, a healthy work-life balance, and natural beauty to spare, we are ready to achieve our mission of recruiting the next generation of Duluthians --- which could include you. Here are three ways we can help as you contemplate following your heart home to Duluth.

Step 1 Spend some time perusing this website and our Facebook pageDestination Duluth is chock full of stories such as “Why We Live Here,” along with insider information about Duluth’s parks and recreational opportunities, thriving arts scene, burgeoning reputation as a craft beer mecca, and more. Here, you’ll find many reasons why we love living here, and think you will, too.

We’ll also share event details, tips for navigating the city, and secrets only a local could tell you. And, there are photos, loads of spectacular photos, highlighting Duluth in all its glory.

Step 2 Wondering if a life-changing move is really viable? We share success stories, proving that it is definitely possible to take the plunge and relocate. We hope to inspire you through features like “Coming Home,” which highlight stories of people who have already taken the leap and relocated to Duluth, and are living a life they love.

Step 3 And when you are ready to make your move, you’ll find here at Destination Duluth great local resources. This is where you’ll find guidance on the nitty-gritty details of moving here, including job-hunting, home-buying, outdoor adventures, activities for kids, and plenty more.

Duluth’s Future and You

We at Destination Duluth truly believe that Duluth’s best and brightest days are ahead. And we want you to join us here while the rest of the world catches up.   

“Duluth has a wonderful history which must be remembered and celebrated,” Robinson shares. “But there is a new chapter unfolding before us, one that celebrates the past, yet embraces opportunities for the future. The first step is welcoming and encouraging people to plant their roots right here in the Zenith City.”

Duluth can definitely be a destination for life --- YOUR destination for life.

Are you ready to #befromDuluth?

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Make your move to #befromDuluth

Make your move to #befromDuluth

Video by Joe Fairbanks

If you’re in the market to buy a house, we have great news!

As of this writing, interest rates for home mortgages continue to hover near historic lows.[1] And, if you’re looking to relocate (hint: #befromduluth), in many cases you don’t even have to find a new job. More businesses than ever are offering work-from-home options.

So, in a nutshell, it’s a great time to:

  1. Buy a house, and
  2. Move to Duluth!

Sound overwhelming? We can help! Destination Duluth visited with two individuals who would love to help you achieve all of your Duluth dreams.

Real Estate Agents: One Local; One Transplant

Brok Hansmeyer with RE/MAX Results and Dana Morrison with Results Support Services are real estate agents from The Zenith City Group, based right here in Duluth. Interestingly, Hansmeyer has spent much of his life in Duluth, while Morrison moved here from the San Francisco bay area in 2015. Together, they provide unique perspectives on life in Duluth.

“I grew up in Esko, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth,” Hansmeyer said. “I’ve lived in Denver; I’ve lived in Dallas, but my family and I have always come back to Duluth. This is our home.”

Morrison explained that when she and her family were looking for a change, Duluth was at the top of their list. “My husband and I had recently started a family. We wanted to live somewhere we could afford to buy a house, and where we could be close to nature,” she said, adding, “We found Duluth! We purchased a home, and are making really deep roots here in the Duluth area.”

Amenities

While their paths home differed, both Hansmeyer and Morrison are obviously in agreement: Duluth is a pretty cool place. We asked them to provide some specifics, for those who are really thinking about relocating here.

“Duluth is an amazing community,” Morrison said. “Not only are there lots of people who are entrepreneurs, but there are so many things to enjoy with this city. One is the Lincoln Park Craft District – you can go to the Dovetail Café and learn a new folk trade. Or you can go have a beer across the street. Our family also enjoys seeing old films or plays done at the Duluth Playhouse. It’s really a spectacular place to be.” Morrison also noted that her family enjoys the plethora of outdoor activities Duluth has to offer, such as camping and the area’s beaches.

For Hansmeyer, nature - along with Duluth’s “small-town feel” - is a big part of what keeps him here. “When I think of Duluth, it’s a ‘big, small-town,’” he said. “It doesn’t take that long to get to know a lot of people, and I love the outdoors. I love living close to Lake Superior, and going for walks and skipping rocks with the kids. It makes my heart feel alive being right by Lake Superior.”

“With Duluth,” he added, “You’re never far from nature. When you look at the different neighborhoods – East, West, or on the Hill, you’re never very far from the woods or trails. We have a good quality of life. There’s a lack of traffic, plenty of job opportunities, and access to the outdoors, such as cross-country skiing, mountain biking, lake activities, hunting and fishing.”

Duluth also boasts some great opportunities when it comes to education. “People with kids have great options for schools, whether it’s public, private, or charter schools,” Hansmeyer said. “Duluth is a big enough city where there are lots of options for schooling.” Hansmeyer also mentioned the many post-secondary options here, including the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Lake Superior College, The College of Saint Scholastica, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Duluth is also known for being home to many large employers, and as a great place to receive top-notch health care. “We also have lots of big employers, such as Amsoil, Enbridge, or Cirrus,” Hansmeyer said. “And Duluth offers excellent health care with Essentia Health and St. Luke’s.”

Housing stock

Between its large range of unique neighborhoods and diversity of housing stock, Duluth has something for everyone. “When you’re looking at houses in Duluth, you really have a wide range of options,” Morrison shared. “You can start at $110,000 for a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom starter home, or you can look up to $1.5 million, where you have the 7,000 square foot home with all the bells and whistles. So, there are really options for any person looking to move to Duluth.”

“When you look at Duluth versus a bigger city, say Seattle, a $600,000 house in Seattle would be about half the price in Duluth,” Hansmeyer said. “So, it’s a little bit more cost-effective. Your income isn’t going to drop by half by moving to Duluth, but your housing is certainly going to be cheaper if you’re moving here from most big cities in the U.S.”

Neighborhoods

When considering neighborhoods, how could you possibly pick a favorite, when they’re ALL so amazing?! At Destination Duluth we love them all, but here are some specific enticements to keep in mind.

Duluth’s Far West neighborhoods (Norton Park, Gary, Smithville, and Fond du Lac) are attractive due to their accessibility to the St. Louis River, Jay Cooke State Park, and the Munger Trail. The Lake Superior Zoo is also found on the West side.

Lakeside, Lester Park and Congdon out East all provide super convenient access to the Lakewalk, Brighton Beach, Seven Bridges Road, Tischer Creek and Lester Park. Piedmont and the Heights are known for their amazing views of the hillside and the Big Lake. Think amazing sunrises and sunsets.

And on Park Point, life is literally a beach! Enough said.

All provide quick access to the excitement of downtown or a spin up the hill to run some errands.

For questions about Duluth or any of its unique neighborhoods, Hansmeyer and the rest of the Zenith City Group would be happy to share what they know. “Our team is knowledgeable about the different neighborhoods, and what’s happening in each one,” he said. “We know where home values are, versus where they were two years ago. This knowledge of the area we provide can be very helpful.”

No matter the neighborhood, Duluth has so much to offer, said Morrison, the recent Duluth “transplant.” “If you’re looking for a place to call home that has the small-town feel but all the big city amenities, along with health care and education, Duluth is your place,” she said.

Call the Pros

Well, there you have it: glowing testimonials from real estate professionals: one Duluth native, and one Duluth transplant. Are you ready to finally make the leap, and #befromDuluth? If so, Morrison, Hansmeyer, and the rest of their team would love to help.

“When you work with a member of our team, you’ll find that they’re friendly and want to be helpful, whether you’re in the process of buying or selling a home; whether you’re on day one, just thinking about it; or you’re on closing day and excited to buy a house,” Hansmeyer said.

“We pay attention to details and will help you make wise decisions through the process of buying or selling,” he added. “We’d love to help you find your place to call home in Duluth.”

For more information, please visit livinginduluth.com – a website run by the Re/Max Zenith City Group.

 

[1] Current Mortgage Rates: Compare today’s rates | NerdWallet

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Find a job using NORTHFORCE

Video by Joe Fairbanks

NORTHFORCE – Your Talent Community

In Duluth and the Surrounding Region

In a world where social media is king, many look to well-established websites like Indeed or Monster to recruit talent or search for their next job. But these conglomerates simply can’t – and don’t - offer that personal touch.

But this is Duluth. We are “Minnesota nice,” after all. Things are done a little differently here.

Enter NORTHFORCE. According to Cara Overland, the group’s Twin Ports and Northwestern Wisconsin Strategy & Development Consultant, NORTHFORCE is “A community-supported program that helps retain and recruit talent in the Northland. This includes a ten-county area including the Twin Ports, Iron Range, and Northwestern Wisconsin.”

The organization was founded in 2014, and is based in Duluth. It is a program of Northspan, an economic development organization.

Highly Personal Service

Each person who reaches out to NORTHFORCE, whether a human resources professional, business owner, or job-seeker, will receive a personal e-mail from Overland. She will ask personal, individualized questions about the person’s goals, including a friendly offer to help.

Overland is no doubt an expert in her field. After all, she is a success story herself. “I found this very position on NORTHFORCE,” she shared. “So, I’m a case study and a testimonial myself.”

Options for Job Seekers and Employers Alike

Overland gave a bit more insight into what NORTHFORCE has to offer. “NORTHFORCE helps employers post positions on our job board, and also helps candidates register and create a profile, upload their resume, and get connected with available positions in our area,” she said. “We bridge the gap between employers and candidates.”

Each of the consultants on the NORTHFORCE team are highly familiar with the region and all it has to offer. As such, NORTHFORCE consultants are some of the area’s biggest cheerleaders.

“One of the unique things about NORTHFORCE and our consultants is that we are from the communities we represent,” Overland, who is from Duluth, said. “Duluth is magical,” she added. “It’s a fantastic-sized city. We have incredible employers here, along with our green spaces and natural landscape. People come here on vacation and fall in love with it, and I’m here to help them move here if that’s what they want to do.”

Any Job; Any Company Size

NORTHFORCE can assist people who are seeking any sort of work, whether full-time, part-time, seasonal work, an internship, or freelance gigs. All fields and business segments are represented, too; including health care, hospitality, manufacturing, and many more.

“Whether you’re a big, small, or mid-size business, you get the same attention from me as a consultant, and NORTHFORCE as an organization,” Overland said, adding, “Whether you need a line-level employee or a CEO, we can help you find those people.”

Key Partnerships

One of the ways NORTHFORCE makes successful employer-employee “matches” is through their partnerships with local colleges, universities, and technical schools – in what they call their “Student Connect” program.

For instance, Andrea Chartier is a Career Counselor at the College of St. Scholastica (CSS), and regularly relies on NORTHFORCE services to help her students find employment or internships. “Our partnership with NORTHFORCE has allowed us to really be intentional in supporting the students who want Duluth to be their home, or who want Duluth to be their next step, and need some help building those bridges and connections to employers,” she said.

Chartier also works with CSS alumni, too; many of whom have moved away and are looking to return.

Coming Home

Along with Overland, Chartier is also a huge cheerleader for living – and working – in Duluth and the surrounding region. “I call myself a ‘boomerang Duluthian,’” she said with a laugh. “I grew up in Duluth, and have lived in California, Utah, and Minneapolis, but ultimately decided to come back.”

“It’s an ideal place to raise kids,” she said. “You can be at a park, beach, or forest every day, and you’re not surrounded by hordes of people.”

“You can be a big fish in a small pond here in Duluth,” she added. “I felt I could really make some magic happen here in a way I never felt I could in a big city. It’s such a special, magical place in so many ways. There are a lot of opportunities, a lot of internships, and amazing possibilities.”

Whether you are a job-seeker, or need to find the perfect candidate to fill a role at your business, NORTHFORCE can help. Please visit northforce.org to learn more.

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The DSSO - 91 Years of Symphony

Steve Mattson

The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra

Sharing the Power of Music and Musicians’ Artistry for Over Ninety Years

According to Hans Christian Andersen, “Where words fail, music speaks.” The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO)  has been “speaking” to area audiences for over ninety years.

The Duluth Civic Orchestra was first organized in 1931 and practiced in the carriage house of Alphin Flaaten, a professional music teacher. Their early concerts were held in the Duluth Armory, but in 1966 the Civic Orchestra moved to the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center Auditorium.

By 1975, the name of the musical organization was changed to the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. They are renowned for their professional level of performance of symphonic music, both classic and new works, and the guest artists they host from around the world.

The DSSO’s symphony orchestra blends a magnificent collection of up to 100 musicians who play instruments from four basic families: strings, woodwind, brass and percussion. Each season they feature 6-7 masterwork concerts and 2-3 pops concerts.

They also perform “casual” afternoon concerts in various locales throughout the area where they encourage families to bring even young children to enjoy the music.

German conductor, Dirk Meyer, joined the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra as the Music Director in 2013. Meyer is also Music Director of the Augusta Symphony in Georgia and locally, the Lyric Opera of the North.

Dirk Meyer, the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Music Director

He has also been a guest conductor for orchestras throughout the United States and many orchestras in Europe and abroad. His engaging and entertaining conducting style has made him an audience favorite.

“Standing on the podium and working with our great musicians is the most rewarding for me. I am also really proud of the level of cultural offerings in theater, ballet, and opera, as well as from our colleges in our community,” said Meyer.

He added, “We enjoy our community outreach with ensembles in events like our ‘Beerthoven’ appearances in bars and breweries, playing Huskies’ games and for the 4th of July at Bayfront. We love getting music out to more people in different venues.”

Erin Aldridge is the DSSO’s Concertmaster. She also serves as Professor of Violin and Director of Orchestras at UWS.

DSSO’s Concertmaster Erin Aldridge

“The Symphony is not an elitist thing. We want our music to be open and accessible to everyone. I am very passionate about what we do at the DSSO, and I enjoy sharing that passion with our audiences,” Aldridge said.

Like Aldridge many of the DSSO musicians have educational connections in one of the area college or high schools. She said, “I love making music and I love teaching. I think I have the best of both worlds.”

Brandon VanWaeyenberghe was named the DSSO’s Executive Director in September of 2019. Before coming to Duluth, he served as the director of finance for the Charlotte Symphony.

Director Dirk Meyer and Executive Director Brandon VanWaeyenberghe

“I take great joy in my job with the DSSO. This is an exciting place to work, with wonderful musicians and a great conductor. We will always be looking for ways to build our audience and to have active conversations about how we fit in as an inspirational form of entertainment in the community,” VanWaeyenberghe said.

Melanie Sever, the administrator for the Duluth Superior Symphony Youth Orchestras (DSSYO), is also a freelance musician, plays with the DSSO, and is a flute instructor at UWS and CSS.

The DSSYO is one of the oldest youth orchestra programs in the country. For more than 80 years, thousands of young musicians throughout the Northland have found inspiration in this program.

The DSSYO gives young musicians the chance to sharpen their music skills through a variety of experiences with DSSO conductors and musicians in rehearsals, sectionals and side-by-side performances with the DSSO.

“I recall my positive experience playing with the DSSYO myself when I was in high school,” says Sever. “It is what propelled me to go into music. This is such a rewarding program for the students and for the music professionals who work with them.”

Competitive auditions are held annually to find new DSSYO members. Membership is open to students aged 10 through high school in their Youth Symphony, Concert Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble and Sinfonia.

“The Youth Orchestra is one of the most important things we do. I especially enjoy working with these young talented musicians,” said Meyer.

The DSSO Symphony Chorus has a long history of performances, going back to its founding in 1959. This chorus of dedicated volunteers appears regularly with the DSSO in presentations of choral-orchestral masterworks, operas and pops concerts.

Christabel Grant is a past member of the DSSO Chorus and is a current member of the Board of Directors. Her adult children were part of the DSSYO growing up.

“The DSSO has been an important part of our family for many years. It is a legacy of the love of music that we have been proud to pass down to our children, Grant said.

“Music restores my soul, and the DSSO has been an important part of that,” she said.

When asked why people who may have never been to the Symphony should attend, VanWaeyenberghe said, “It is wonderful to support local artists and support the local economy. The DSSO concerts are not stuffy or formal. You will see people dressed in jeans and t-shirts and people in tuxedos and fancy dresses, all coming together to enjoy music together.”

The communal experience of going to a DSSO concert is summed up in a quote from their website. “Music has the power to transport us in time, space and emotion. Poignant pieces of music can bring us to tears or make us dance with joy. It makes us remember moments we might have forgotten. Music shapes our experiences and brings us together. It moves our hearts and shakes out the cobwebs. Join us at a DSSO concert this season, and share in the joy.”

For more information about the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestra, Concert Series, and tickets, visit dsso.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Living at Split Rock Lighthouse

Dennis O'Hara

Split Rock Lighthouse - Come for the View, Stay for the Story

Video by joefairbanks.com

 

For Hayes Scriven, Split Rock Lighthouse isn’t just where he reports for work. It is also his home.

Scriven, a self-professed “history geek,” considers his job as site manager to be a dream job. It blends his love of history with his other passion – the enjoyment and appreciation of nature.

“My family loves kayaking, canoeing, fishing and hunting, and now we live in a place where we can do that all the time,” Scriven said. “Tie that in with the history aspect, and add the aura and status of Split Rock, and it’s the perfect dream location.”

In an interesting “full circle” turn of events, Split Rock is also the place where Scriven proposed to his wife, Jenny - years before they would make the site their home. Last year, Scriven moved his family, which now includes Jenny and their two children, Aneliese (12), and Devin (9), directly on-site.

The move has been a good one; highly enjoyable for the entire Scriven family, and a great fit for the management and care of Split Rock Lighthouse.

Previous experience

Prior to his new position, Scriven, who grew up in Nerstrand, Minnesota (just outside of Northfield), served as Executive Director for the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center (BVHC) in Superior. And before that, he was the executive director of the Northfield Historical Society, a job he began at just 22 years old.

But Minnesota’s North Shore has always beckoned. “My wife and I are big outdoor people,” he said. “We’d come up the Shore, and it always had a spot in our hearts.” And, when speaking about Lake Superior, he noted, “There’s this magic behind it. It has this pull you can’t get away from.”

Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse, perched on a ruggedly beautiful 160-foot cliff, is a huge tourist draw, bringing in a whopping 150,000 visitors in a typical year. In addition to the actual lighthouse, the property also includes Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, featuring a lakeshore picnic area, trail center, tent camping, and 14 miles of hiking, biking, snowshoe, and cross-country ski trails.

The history of the lighthouse itself is rich and intriguing, indeed. On November 28, 1905, a single storm-damaged 29 ships on Lake Superior. Soon after, a delegation descended upon Washington, D.C. to lobby for a lighthouse.

Originally known as Stony Point, the name Split Rock was first used by the lobbyists when describing the location, and, ultimately, the name stuck. In early 1907, Congress appropriated $75,000 for a lighthouse and fog signal at Split Rock. The U.S. Lighthouse Service completed the construction of the 7.6-acre facility in 1910.

The lighthouse remained operational for many years. But, as new navigational technology, including GPS, began to emerge, the use of the lighthouse as a navigational tool declined. Split Rock Light Station was closed in 1969.

The State of Minnesota obtained the site in 1971 and transferred administrative responsibility to the Minnesota Historical Society in 1976. The Historical Society continues to manage the site, and is also Scriven’s employer.

Family decision

The Scriven family loves their life at Split Rock, where they can experience wildlife, including eagles and bears, and outdoor activities, like kayaking and canoeing. For them, living on-site was the best choice.

“We had the option on whether or not to live on-site,” Scriven said. “I talked to the previous site manager, Lee Radzak, who raised his family here, and he said I’d never regret doing it. So, I talked to my wife about privacy, and the different type of life we’d have. We decided that if we wanted to do this job right, we needed to live on-site.”

“Our kids thought it was so cool,” Scriven added. “My son said, ‘Can we move there right now?’” Ultimately, the family moved in the day before young Devin’s ninth birthday, and the entire family got to celebrate with a beautiful new view.

An amazing journey

Not everyone gets to say that they have their dream job. Hayes Scriven is well aware of his good fortune and relishes every moment.

“Every day is so different,” Scriven said. “I get to meet so many different people, and the kids love the North Shore. Having that freedom and enjoying nature is so important. Every day is an amazing journey.”

“I feel so fortunate and humbled,” he added. “I’m awestruck all the time. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and not many people get to have this experience.”

 

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Play, Explore, and Discover At the New Duluth Children’s Museum

Play, Explore, and Discover At the New Duluth Children’s Museum

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Duluth Children’s Museum, the fifth oldest children’s museum in the nation, was established in 1930 and has been a valuable resource for area children, their parents/care-givers, and educators ever since.

Over their 90-plus years, the Museum has been housed in a variety of spaces including the Salter School, the Duluth Depot, Clyde Iron, and, most recently, in popup spaces downtown, while they were waiting to move into their new location in Lincoln Park at 2125 W. Superior Street, site of the long-time Randy’s Cafe.

For now, they have remodeled and done their installations on the first floor of the building. Brightly colored walls and displays, interactive play areas, and engaging exhibits all provide children (ages 0-10) with a place to learn new things about themselves and the world around them.

Cameron Kruger, President of the Duluth Children’s Museum, said the Museum’s former location at Clyde Iron had 13,500 square feet. He explained, “The new building will be 12,000 square feet once we are able to open up the additional floors. One of the biggest differences in location related to size is that there was no way for us to safely provide space outside for programming. With our new courtyard and greenhouse, we have a lot of outdoor activity space now.”

“Our team, including our staff, members, and volunteers, have all worked hard to make the opening of the new space a reality. We are very excited to again offer this quality place for children to learn and play,” added Kruger.

“We love this area, owning our own building for the first time, and being on the DTA bus line for more people to get to us. We have a parking lot behind the building as well. We look forward to completing our phase and three projects and offering more space and exhibits for our visitors,” said Katie Frank, President of the Duluth Children’s Museum Board.

Littlest Explorers

The Museum’s youngest visitors have a nature-themed Infant and Toddlers’ room designed just for them where they can practice gross and fine motor skills while climbing, sliding, “wobbly” walking, and having other interactions with the space. An adjacent “Nurture Room” gives a quiet environment for caregiver nursing, pumping, and child calming needs,

Jeff Brown, owner of BrownKnows (www.brownknowsdesign.com) is the designer and fabricator for the Infant and Toddlers’ Room at the new Museum building.

Brown noted, “I love collaborating with other artists and energetic people to bring their visions to life. This project for the Children’s Museum has been fun, and I am looking forward to seeing the kids having a great time in the space.”

Exciting New Spaces

The Manoomin space lets the children explore the St. Louis River Estuary from inside a canoe. They learn how wild rice is an important species to the ecology of waters within the Great Lakes region, providing food and habitat to endemic and migratory species.

Loose Parts is the area where kids learn STEM concepts by manipulating ramps and balls on the giant magnet wall, building on magnet and construction tables, and practicing concepts with daily programs.

The Learning Lab doubles as a science lab for children to learn how plants grow and as a kitchen space for them to prepare snacks with fresh produce from the Museum’s greenhouse and garden.

Aviation Exploration gets kids behind the throttle of a real Cirrus airplane to explore concepts of flight and aviation learning stations with airplane launchers

The Adventure Treehouse and indoor playground offer a safe environment for climbing and sliding. A reception area and a gift shop are also on the main floor.

Future Plans

The second phase of the project will include the construction of an elevator, a modern HVAC system for the second floor, a two-story climber with a surrounding staircase, additional exhibits, a classroom, and a dedicated birthday party space.

The basement level will include another classroom and collection storage. The Museum has a collection of more than 10,000 cultural and historic objects that have long served as teaching and research tools.

Phase three will include a rooftop garden, peaceful spaces to enjoy the outdoors, and a solar panel that will provide children with the opportunity to learn about sustainable energy.

For more information, hours, admission costs, and membership options visit their website at duluthchildrensmuseum.org, their Facebook page, or call 218-733-7543.

 

 

 

 

 

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The DECC is a Jewel of Duluth

The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC)

Year-Round Fun for Tourists and Residents

The Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center

Located on the waterfront with panoramic views of the Aerial Lift Bridge and Duluth Harbor, steps away from Canal Park, Downtown Duluth, restaurants, hotels, and shopping, the publicly-owned multi-use facility, the DECC is truly at the epicenter of entertainment in the Twin Ports. Since they first opened their doors in 1966, the DECC has been a mecca for tourists and local residents alike.

Cover of the Grand Opening Program in August, 1966

Dignitaries at the Grand Opening of the Duluth Arena included Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

The banquet at the opening of the Duluth Arena - August 1966

Pioneer Hall was added in 1976, introducing a hockey rink with a smaller seating capability that uses foldout bleacher seating. Pioneer Hall is now the home of the Duluth Curling Club, with an upstairs lounge and eight curling rinks, which can be expanded to provide up to thirteen curling sheets for major events. It has hosted two World Championships, the U.S. Olympic Trials and numerous other national events.

Over the years since then, the complex has added convention and meeting space, and the Amsoil Arena in 2010. Built at a cost of $6.5 million, the Arena portion of the complex houses a 190-by-85 foot hockey rink with 5,333 seats and six locker rooms.

Amsoil Arena

The Amsoil rink can be converted to host concerts, dinners, conventions and shows. The DECC was the selected site of the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championships in both 1968 and 1981. And, they hosted the 2003, 2008 and 2012 Women’s NCAA Division I Frozen Four.

A spacious lobby separates the Arena from Symphony Hall, with a central location for the ticket booths. Symphony Hall seats 2,221 and is home to both the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Ballet. Symphony Hall also plays host to concerts, touring shows, operas, dance recitals, high school graduations and a variety of other activities.

Symphony Hall

The DECC also offers two ballrooms, 30 meeting rooms and over 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space to host conventions, trade shows and community events. Spaces can also be reserved for parties, weddings, and receptions.

The Lake Superior Ballroom

In 2008, the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center received the Governor’s “Minnesota Great Award.” This recognition honors excellence in businesses that preserve the environment through innovative practices preventing pollution and waste and improving resource efficiency leading to sustainability. The DECC has become one of the area’s significant environmental stewards.

On May 14, 2021, Daniel Hartman was named as the new DECC Executive Director replacing interim director Roger Reinert. Hartman had a successful tenure as the director of Glensheen for eight years prior to taking on this new position. He led Glensheen’s team as they rebranded the museum, increasing its visitorship and community relevance.

“We had a very impressive applicant pool, which I believe demonstrates the interest in both the DECC and Duluth,” said board member and search committee chair Don Ness. “Dan’s successful track record and leadership at Glensheen, his passion for Duluth and his creativity combined to confidently bring him forward as our finalist.”

Hartman noted that he learned from his position at Glensheen about a wide variety of marketing strategies, and about how to work on projects a facility needs to remain maintained and updated. “Some of the DECC’s technology needs upgrading. The Amsoil, however, has amazing technology,” Hartman noted.

He said he has also gained an appreciation for the historical buildings in Duluth working at both Glensheen and the DECC. “The DECC has a mid-century modern style that is still beautiful, with things like the three-tiered chandelier system,” he said.

Hartman, as a UMD senior in 2006, led the student campaign to build the DECC’s AMSOIL Arena. He also served on Duluth’s city council from 2010 to 2014.

“It is an honor to serve now in this role at the DECC, and my hope is to build on the good work of the past leadership and staff. In the immediate future, I will support the DECC’s great health and safety record so guests feel welcome and confident as we return to more events,” said Hartman.

“I also want to showcase and further leverage the DECC’s proximity to the greatest lake there is — Lake Superior,” he added. “We are this great combo of a versatile indoor facility located in an outstanding outdoor city.”

Sue Ellen Moore has worked at the DECC for nearly 20 years and is now the Director of Sales. “We are so excited to have the doors back open and to be scheduling events. We have aways booked events years in advance, but incredibly, we have some events already booked through 2038,” she said.

Moore added, “Customer service is at the heart of what we do. And we are very proud to be such an important part of the cultural fabric of Duluth.”

“Visitors love that they can walk out the doors and be right on the waterfront. They can board the Vista for a boat ride or go across the parking lot to board the North Shore Railroad for a ride up the shore. The nearby Great Lakes Aquarium is another fun tourist attraction,” said Hartman.

During the pandemic, the DECC also served as both a site for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. “We want to keep the DECC on the path of community collaboration as they have done throughout their history. We are here when the community needs us,” Hartman added.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and see brighter days ahead, we are very excited about what Dan, his leadership, and his vision will bring to the DECC team,” said board chair Pat Mullen. “The board is ready to support Dan as he takes on this new role and is confident that he will bring new energy and innovative ideas for a successful future.”

Commenting on his vision for his new position, Hartman said, “I am still in the early stages of my new job, but I know I want to want to continue the wonderful legacy of the DECC. We want the facility to continue to adapt to meet the needs of the community, and we want to continue to grow. It has been important for me to meet with as many people as I can who have held past leadership roles and worked at the DECC, to learn from them about what the future should be, while also building on the past.”

Moore added, “Stay tuned for big things ahead and good days to come. We will be keeping people up-to-date, on social media and elsewhere, with what is going on at the DECC and sharing our story. You can already feel the refreshing changes in the air ahead.”

“I have already found that the care and love for the DECC is real,” said Hartman. “It takes passion to care for a special facility like Glensheen and the DECC. The people who work here now and those who have worked here in the past carry on that passion for this jewel of the community.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Pike Lake Golf & Beach Club

Pike Lake Golf & Beach Club - Exciting Multi-Use Development for the Community

What if there was an idyllic place on a lake, just outside of Duluth, where people could play golf, have a delicious meal, go to the beach, get married, hold a reception or a party, and even buy a beautiful new townhome to live year-round?

Pike Lake Golf & Beach Club fits the bill for all that and much more. Located on East Pike Lake Road at the intersection of Martin Road on the eastern edge of Pike Lake is this multi-use site with a storied history.

It was a stagecoach stop in the 1890s, with the recreation area first developed in 1917 as the site of a hotel, water slides and a Ferris wheel. It was often referred to as the “Atlantic City of the North.”

It later became known as the Duluth Auto Club, with the American Automobile Association of Minnesota (AAA) operating it as a golf course from 1931 until 2016. After three years of legal wrangling, the AAA was finally okayed to sell 68 acres on this site to Roger Anderson, a long-time Pike Lake resident, and his family— wife Dianne and sons Travis and Anthony.

The Andersons have an exciting long-term vision of all that the Club can offer with golf, beach, family recreation and special events. In March of 2020, they began work on the renovation which included the Clubhouse with a new fully loaded kitchen, and improvements to the course. They were able to open in the early summer of 2020, and things have been hopping ever since.

Featuring beautiful views and well-groomed fairways and greens, their executive length, par 32 nine-hole golf course offers challenging play for all levels of golfers. They have a Junior Golf League for kids ages 5 to 17 for lessons to help kids learn the basics of golf and develop their skills. The Clubhouse has a small shopping area with golfing and Club attire and other golfing needs.

Their beautiful beach area is family-friendly, with a kids’ play area, picnic tables, and wonderful spots to put down a blanket or a beach towel to catch some rays. People are invited to relax in the sun or shade on the patio.

The daily beach rate is $3 per person or a $25 beach punch card good for 10 visits. They also offer kayak rentals for two hours, three hours, or a full day. The beach and outdoor patio area are also pet-friendly. Guests are asked to leash their dogs and clean up after them.

The Beach Club includes indoor seating, bar seating and a large patio for outdoor seating overlooking the lake. Inside the Clubhouse are big-screen TVs, speakers and new lighting.

Offering a Friday night fish fry and other drink and food specials, they have a varied menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner selections.

Their large breakfast menu, served from 7 to 11 am, includes eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, french toast, pancakes, omelets, breakfast burritos, and breakfast sandwiches. Breakfast also includes their full bar menu with Bloody Marys, screwdrivers and mimosas.

Lunch and dinner, served from 11 am to 8 pm., offers a great selection of “pub-style” fare with appetizers/quick bites, including wings, battered crispy green beans, chicken tenders, cheese curds, fries and onion rings. A fresh selection of salads, a variety of baskets including chicken sandwiches, a BLT, nine choices for a variety of 1/2 pound burgers with assorted toppings, and a kids’ menu, give guests something to fit every appetite.

One recent dinner patron said, “This was my first visit to the Golf Club since the new owners upgraded the former Auto Club. The restaurant, bar and patio are a welcome addition to the Pike Lake/Caribou Lake community as a whole. I look forward to other improvements or amenities the new owners will bring to the Club.”

Other fun things to do onsite include playing Bocce Ball and Corn Hole. The Club has held car shows, rummage sales and skating parties in the winter. Anderson notes they also plan on having live music.

Hosting a wedding and a reception with the space and the flexibility for 200+ guests or intimate small groups for just family and friends gives couples the chance to create their own magical one-of-a-kind, unforgettable day.

The event planner at Pike Lake will work with couples to decide where on the property they want the wedding set up. The Club provides two bartenders, tables and a tent for bar service. Couples are free to supply their own rentals, a caterer, DJ, band, lighting, tent, tables and chairs.

Planning a private party is made easy with a variety of options with a package of a private room and a bartender to take care of drinks and food. Parties for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, baby showers, retirements, and corporate groups, are just some of the options for special events that the site can accommodate. They are also building a 250-300 person event center for larger parties and events year-round.

Anderson has received approval to build twin homes and other housing on the property for purchase, rent or as coops. “The land is the most valuable thing we have here, and we are excited to provide options for lake living. We want to have a model home ready as soon as we can.”

He said he wants this Club to be a family legacy to be handed down for generations. “We want this to stay a golf course here forever.”

He added, “My family and I are so proud that the community is taking advantage of all that we have to offer. It is a country club for everyone, without the fees.”

Visit their website at www.pikelakemn.com for more information, to book tee times, and to find out about upcoming special events. People can join their E-Club at the website to stay up to date on specials and news.

 

 

 

 

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Ride a train!

Experience the Golden Age of Railroading  with the North Shore Scenic Railroad

Video by Joe Fairbanks - joefairbanks.com

 

If you’re game to experience Duluth from a totally unique vantage point, consider a ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad (NSSR).

“A train ride is good for everybody,” said Ken Buehler, Executive Director for the Lake Superior Railroad Museum (LSRM), and General Manager for the NSSR. “Something happens when you’re on the train, relaxing with family and friends, and looking out the window. You can feel the stress just wash away.”

“The anticipation of boarding the train is part of the fun,” he added. “Then, the engine pulls up, the bell is ringing, the horn blasts and people start boarding.”

“It’s a narrated excursion that moves through town,” added Josh Miller, NSSR’s Station Manager. "The NSSR provides a great option for making memories. You’re not going to forget your train ride in Duluth.”

History

The NSSR and its partner business, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum (LSRM), are housed in Duluth’s Depot; a beautiful structure that was originally constructed by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1892. Visitors can start by taking a tour of the Museum - to see and learn about a variety of local railroad artifacts - and follow it up with an actual experience riding a train.

Buehler provided some historical context. “We had the opportunity to take archival material of the railroad, meaning its classic, vintage railway passenger coaches, along with private cars and dining cars, and put those to use for the purpose they were designed and built: which is to provide transportation, good times, and memories out on a real working railroad,” he said.

“So, the NSSR became an operating arm of LSRM. Here, people can ride the cars, see the scenery, and experience the golden age of railroading.”

Excursions

When it comes to choosing the excursion that’s right for you, there is something for everyone. There are elegant dinner trains; beer and wine tasting trains; and even a first-class experience under a beautiful glass dome, in a car known as the Duluth Zephyr. A concession car selling snacks and beverages is available on every excursion.

And, for the youngsters in your group, there is a pizza train; “The Great Pumpkin Train;” and even “A Day Out with Thomas,” featuring the much-loved children’s character, Thomas the Tank Engine.

Route choices include ample variety, too. “Our route goes between Duluth and Two Harbors, which is 30 miles,” Miller said. “There are full-day excursions, but many are much shorter. We’re geographically located in a unique spot – our train track runs right along the shore of Lake Superior, between Duluth and Two Harbors.”

This means that, whichever excursion is chosen, passengers enjoy a front-row seat to many of Duluth’s most well-loved treasures. For instance, “The train goes by the Great Lakes Aquarium, and Lake Superior is right there outside your window,” Buehler said.

“Along the Lakewalk, passengers can wave to people, which is part of the fun,” he added. “We go through the Lakeside/Lester Park neighborhood, and the Northwoods, up into Two Harbors. It’s never-ending panoramic scenery, with all those different backdrops out your window - all in a single train ride.”

Success and Accolades

A train ride on the NSSR has simply become a “must do” for visitors to Duluth. “Just in the past ten years, we’ve seen a huge boom of tourism here in Duluth,” Miller said. “Along with that, we’ve seen an increased number of riders on the NSSR. We’ve watched our ridership essentially double over the past 10 years. It’s been pretty exciting for us and for tourism as a whole.”

“We see about 100,000 passengers a year,” Buehler added. “We’re one of the major tourist attractions in Duluth, and we take that very seriously.”

Beyond Duluth, the word has also spread; both far and wide. Over the years, the NSSR has received many appreciative nods from a variety of local, regional, and even national publications and websites.

“Better Homes & Gardens said we were one of the best family-friendly scenic train rides in North America,” Buehler noted. “And, CNN listed our fall colors train as one of the top five in the nation.”

Joy for all Ages

Buehler, Miller, and the rest of their hard-working team of staff and volunteers take great pride in providing a memorable “train story” experience for all of their passengers, including tourists and local residents alike.

“I like to sit on a park bench and watch people get off the train,” Buehler said. “I love seeing the smiles on kids’ faces; tiny tykes that fell asleep peacefully to the rocking motion of the train; and excited parents and grandparents talking about their train experiences. After a train ride, our guest passengers are in a completely better place.”

To view itineraries, reserve tickets, and more, please visit Duluthtrains.com.

 

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Enjoy a Bird’s Eye View of Duluth

Video by Joe Fairbanks - joefairbanks.com

Enjoy a Bird’s Eye View of Duluth With Lake Superior Helicopters

Whether you’re a tourist or a “lifer,” there are so many unique and versatile ways to explore Duluth. Traveling via snowboard; fat tire bike; ski; hiking boot; and even snowshoe are just a few of our many options, depending on the season.

But we can also add another transportation modality you may not have considered: helicopter.

That’s right, helicopter. Lake Superior Helicopters (LSH), established in 2009, operates out of Duluth International Airport. LSH patrons can choose from 15-, 30-, and 60-mile tours, where passengers can view the Twin Ports from up above. One thousand feet above, to be exact.

LSH customers can choose the first-class treatment, which includes champagne, chocolates, and even a full red-carpet experience. Or, they can opt for the adrenaline-pumping, “doors off” option. The experience is so immersive that passengers can literally hear conversations between their pilot and air traffic control. Morning, afternoon, and sunset flights are available.

No matter which tour is chosen, all LSH passengers are promised a safe and unforgettable helicopter excursion. “It’s a very fun experience,” said LSH founder, Eric Monson. “It’s liberating. The best way I’ve heard it described is that it’s like a magic carpet ride.”

The Experience

Even if you’ve lived in Duluth all your life, an aerial tour with LSH will no doubt give you a completely fresh perspective of the area. And, while you’re seeing the area from a bird’s eye view, the flying altitude is still low enough to see everything in great detail.

“Most of our tours fly only 1,000 feet off the ground, compared to commercial airlines, which fly at about 30,000 feet,” Monson noted. “So, you get a really nice perspective, especially with a helicopter. There is a lot of good visibility out of the front, but every single seat is a window seat.”

LSH tours hit many of the “high points” of Duluth’s most interesting attractions. “We fly out over many different sites in Duluth,” Monson said, “Including Glensheen Mansion, the St. Louis River, over the coal docks and ore docks in Duluth and Superior, Park Point, the Aerial Lift Bridge, and Canal Park, to name a few. And of course, we fly over the shores of Lake Superior.”

In addition to being a visual delight, LSH tours are educational, too. “Our tour guides and pilots go through extensive training on the local area,” Monson added. “They are able to give a history of the different structures and sites in Duluth; they can give you information about activity in the port; and they can also provide info about nature and industry in the Duluth area.”

Safety is Key

“Safety is paramount in everything we do,” Monson said. “If we don’t have well-maintained, safe helicopters, well-trained and professional pilots, and a well-trained ground crew, then we aren’t doing our job. We do as much as we can to mitigate risk. We want you to have a safe, reliable, and fun experience.”

Prior to their flight, passengers are instructed on how to safely enter, fly in, and exit the craft. LSH pilots receive extensive training, so they are equipped to handle any issues that may come up during the excursion. And, two full-time mechanics work right here, on-site in Duluth, to maintain LSH’s fleet of aircraft.

Great Option for Everyone

Whether you are seeing Duluth for the first time, or have lived here for 30 years, a tour with LSH has something for everyone. “We’ve had several customers fly on a tour, come back, and say they’ve been coming to Duluth for 10 or 15 years, and they learned more about Duluth on that tour than in all their visits prior,” Monson noted.

“That is a really positive thing for us. We work really hard to make sure that, not only do you get that experience in a helicopter, but the tour’s going to have a lot of information, and you enjoy it.”

“Our goal is to have a safe, positive experience, and just return with that ‘wow factor’ after you get back that makes you want to come and do it again.”

For more information, please visit lakesuperiorhelicopters.com.

 

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