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

#befromDuluth

Hansi Johnson

Purpose

Destination Duluth’s purpose is to educate and inspire people about the quality of place of Duluth, Minnesota, thereby shaping the city and region’s positive growth.

Adventures Await with Day Tripper of Duluth

Day Tripper of Duluth

Duluth and the surrounding region are chock-full of natural beauty. And each of our four distinct seasons offers different options when it comes to excursions. Whether by foot, kayak, canoe, bike, snowshoe, or ski, there are adventures to be had - and amazing sights to be seen - around every corner.

But sometimes there are adventures we haven’t tried, for one reason or another. Perhaps we don’t own a kayak or canoe. Or maybe we don’t know how to mountain bike safely. This is where Day Tripper of Duluth comes in. “Our goal is to continue to provide our customers with the safest and best outdoor experience possible,” co-owner Jake Boyce shared.

History

Day Tripper, which was founded in 2013, describes itself as an “outdoor guiding service,” offering safe, guided adventures of all kinds. All necessary equipment is provided with each package.

The business is owned and operated by two skilled guides, Jake Boyce and Matti Erpestad, who each possess a veritable alphabet of certifications and skills. Interestingly, the two are also brothers-in-law. Together with their team of five additional guides, the Day Tripper team can lead your next expedition or even teach you a specific new skill.

Head guide and co-owner, Matti Erpestad. –Photo submitted.

Day Tripper’s primary demographic is tourists who want to get out on Lake Superior. However, local residents who want to “show our area off” to visitors are another important part of their customer base.

Adventures are open to all ages and abilities, from beginner to advanced. “Our youngest kayaker was two years old, and our oldest was 91,” Boyce noted.

Offerings

Day Tripper does the majority of its business in the summer. However, they offer cold-weather adventures, too. “We operate by weather, not by the calendar,” Boyce said.

Guided options available through Day Tripper include hiking, private mountain bike lessons and clinics, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, fat-tire biking, and snowshoeing. Boyce explained some of the most popular choices.

“Our most popular, by far, is a kayaking trip on the North Shore by Split Rock. People can choose a 2 or 4-hour excursion, and we see the cliffs, the lighthouse, and a shipwreck as long as the conditions allow. We partner with Split Rock and the Minnesota Historical Society to obtain general admission passes for the museum and grounds.”

Kayaking near Split Rock Lighthouse is the most popular tour Day Tripper of Duluth Offers - Submitted Photo

Another popular choice is the Glensheen mansion paddle, taking place on Lake Superior, on the shores of Glensheen. At 90 minutes long, it’s a great option for beginners.

Private mountain biking lessons are another offering. Each lesson is tailored to the specific rider and the skills that the individual or group wants to learn. Whether you’re just starting out, or have been riding for many years, a lesson may be a great option to make you a happier rider.

Private Mountain Biking excursions for all skill levels are offered with Day Tripper of Duluth. –Submitted .

A voyageur canoe trip is another well-utilized offering. “The boat is a replica of canoes used by voyageurs in the region during the fur trade,” Boyce noted. “It can hold up to ten adults.”

Voyageur canoes can hold up to ten people. –Submitted photo

Day Tripper adventures take place at a variety of locations, but Boyce advised they are always subject to change. “We don’t have any truly set locations for any of our tours,” he noted. “It really depends on the day, since Lake Superior does what it wants.” Exact departure points are emailed at the time of a tour booking but may change based on weather.

Overnight excursions are also available upon request.

Safety

Guest safety is of primary concern. “We give our guides complete control of the final say on all tours,” Boyce explained. “They are very skilled and good judges of conditions, approaching weather, and group skill level. It is important to note that we try to see certain highlights on each tour, but sometimes, due to conditions, it may not be possible,” he added.
Customers are provided with PFDs (personal flotation devices) for each water-based excursion. Wetsuits are also provided, and on most kayak tours, required – at the guide’s discretion.

Personal Life

Jake Boyce is himself a native Duluthian. He attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he earned an undergraduate degree in German with a minor in business. He has always loved the outdoors. “I like to mountain bike, ski - uphill and downhill – and, when conditions allow, surf,” he noted. “I enjoy playing outside in general.”
Boyce and his wife, Laura Francis, have two children: Geoffrey (6), and Charlie (4). The family also has a Vizsla named Klaus.

Founder and co-owner, Jake Boyce. –Submitted Photo

Boyce juggles working more than full-time with Day Tripper, along with his other careers as a paramedic and working in sales and service at Ski Hut. “I decided I never wanted to sit behind a desk,” he noted with a chuckle, explaining his career choices.

Rewarding

Getting people into the outdoors is a fulfilling endeavor for Boyce and his team. Among other perks, Boyce enjoys watching mountain bikers’ skills progress throughout a lesson, providing employment in the area, and just being outside.
“The most fun thing for me is to be able to provide employment for our guides so they too can share their passion of playing outside,” he said. I’m also super proud of our customer reviews on social media, Trip Advisor, and Google.”

Day Tripper of Duluth's April 1 whale-watching post produces smiles as some are fooled into thinking Lake Superior has whales. –Submitted photo

Boyce enjoys keeping a keen sense of humor about his profession. Every year on April 1, they get inquiries about whale-watching on Lake Superior after posting the photo below.

Day Tripper is a home-based business with no public storefront. Therefore, all excursions are booked online. Please visit daytripperofduluth.com to learn more and book an adventure.

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Keefography Adventures on the North Shore

John Keefover

Destination Duluth
Photographer Profile Series

Landscape Photographer John Keefover 

Dazzling Northern Lights, crashing Lake Superior waves, tranquil waterfalls, dramatic lighting over a lonely lighthouse, ethereal winter sea smoke, and a veritable panorama of the best of the North Shore in all its splendor . . . Landscape photographer, ultralight backpacker, guide, teacher, and wilderness advocate, John Keefover (Keef) has taken awe-inspiring photos of all these vistas and more.

A fierce Lake Superior storm with hurricane-force gales generated waves that crashed more than 100 feet high. Photo by John Keefover

“I feel that Duluth and the surrounding area are the perfect locations for landscape photography, where I can combine my passion for photography and backpacking,” John said.

Growing up in a military family, they lived in North Carolina and Spain before moving to Hibbing. Keefover has loved taking pictures from the time he was in middle school, through his education at Hibbing High School, and with classes at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. After moving to Duluth in 2015, Keef started his small photography business in May of 2019.

A self-portrait of John Keefover

He most loves doing landscape photography, explaining, “No matter how many times you go to a location, it is always different. With all kinds of lighting to see—sunrise, sunset, cloud cover, rainbows, lightning, each photographer will view landscapes and take photos different from any other.”

Besides taking gorgeous photos, he loves writing trip reports and journal entries and even filming vlogs. He says that his blog writing really helps to capture those moments in time out on the trail to enhance people’s understanding of his experiences.

Through his social media, people can view his itineraries and follow along with him on extended trips or shorter adventures, including trips to the Porcupine Mountains, Isle Royale, and the BWCA

Keef is most known for his Night Sky Milky Way photographs and his waterfall photography, “I love shooting long exposures, especially at night. When I am out camping, my camera gear is more than a third of the weight of my bag, which is usually around 20 pounds,” he explained.

His biggest expedition was in June when he hiked all 310 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) from the Wisconsin border, through Duluth, and up the North Shore to the Canadian border.

This trip also helped to raise funds for the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center and their “Superior View Hike,” bringing 2,400 kids out on the SHT every year, teaching them stewardship, ecology, and outdoor education.

A once-in-6800-year photo

Describing one of his all-time favorite photos, he said one evening, he was at a friend’s cabin sitting around the campfire. “The photo is of the Comet NEOWISE inside of the Northern Lights and reflected in the waters of Lake Vermillion,” he said.

Comet NEOWISE inside of the Northern Lights. Photo by John Keefover

He blogged, “It didn’t last very long, but it was such a cool experience and a once-in-a-lifetime shot with the comet that comes around every 6,800 years! It’s also a shot that I didn’t plan at all; it was pure luck.”

Keef also does brand photography content for a variety of businesses, including Bent Paddle, Ursa Minor, Wild State Cider, Duluth Cider, and a variety of other products. He notes how important it is to have content and branding photographs that stand out in the rapidly growing online marketplaces,

Doing concert photos of musicians, bands, and venues is another genre of photography that captures John’s imagination. He also works for the Great Lakes Gear Exchange, selling used outdoor gear at a consignment shop. He joked that he gets a chance to scope out the equipment he might want to buy before it goes on sale at the shop.

He has had his work published in the Lake Superior Magazine, The Lake and Company, Northern Wilds and on the Destination Duluth Facebook and Instagram social media. He noted, “Destination Duluth is a great resource for photographers and artists, and gives me another way to interact with the community. I have also enjoyed the Destination Duluth photographers’ get-togethers.” Jerry Thoreson, Managing Director for Destination Duluth said, "John has quickly become one of our top five contributing photographers. Since 2020, his photos have been viewed a verified 2.8 million times on our Facebook page," Thoreson added,  "plus probably a million more impressions on our Instagram channel."

Lightning was captured on the north pier of the Duluth shipping canal. Photo by John Keefover

Another big venture for John is Arrowhead Expeditions, which he founded with his friend Justin Ridlon. They offer photography expeditions in the Arrowhead Region of Northern Minnesota. The trips are for all levels of photographers, including beginners looking for a fun experience and hoping to learn more about their cameras to experienced photographers looking to shoot new locations along the North Shore. Some of the locations will require a several-mile hike, and others are more easily accessible near a parking lot. The Arrowhead Expeditions website includes opportunities to subscribe to a newsletter for information about future expeditions.

Learn more about John Keefover at his website. To view his most popular photos and purchase prints, click here.

He is also on Instagram: instagram.com/keefography on Facebook: facebook.com/keefography, and on YouTube here.

 

 

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North Shore Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

The Wisconsin Point Lighthouse Tour. Submitted photo.  

North Shore Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
Connecting People to the Waterways since 2012

If you’re looking for a fresh perspective on Lake Superior, stand up paddleboarding provides an unbeatable experience. North Shore SUP – a full-service outfitter offering instruction, guided tours, and equipment rental – wants to help you get started. Their fitting slogan is, “Connecting people to the waterways, one paddle at a time.”

The Superior-based business is owned and operated by Heather Holmes and Garrett Russell, two Twin Ports “transplants” who have fallen in love with Lake Superior and the entire Twin Ports region. The couple’s 12-year-old son, Brecken, also loves the sport and regularly helps out with the family business.

Stand up paddleboarding is appropriate for all ages, ranging from small children to senior citizens. Your dog can even join in the fun!

Heather Holmes and Garrett Russell and their son Brecken - Submitted photo.

Backgrounds

Despite their familiarity with our area, neither Holmes nor Russell is originally from the region. Russell was born and raised in Colorado. He worked as a ski instructor and river guide during high school and college and earned an undergraduate degree in outdoor education. In 2018, he earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and later, yet another degree (an adjunct to his master’s) - in administration - in 2021.

Holmes’ family of origin moved frequently, ultimately ending up in the Twin Cities area. As a teenager and young woman, Holmes became interested in yoga and alternative medicine. She is certified to teach yoga and also has a degree in nursing.

Interestingly, the couple met in Alaska. “I moved to Anchorage, and Heather was running the hostel where I was staying,” Russell said. After learning that they were expecting their son, the couple moved to Minnesota to be closer to Holmes’ family.

Why Paddleboarding?

When deciding to start their own business, stand up paddleboarding became a clear choice for this outdoorsy couple. “The versatility of the board was a huge draw,” Holmes said. “It’s just a really fun sport that you can do on all different waterways.”

“Paddleboarding is an incredibly fun and unique sport,” Russell added. “I had just graduated from UMD and we were somewhat familiar with the waterways up here. We realized we had the opportunity to move here, and, ultimately, we created the first paddleboard-specific business on Lake Superior.”

Beginnings

Upon relocating to the Twin Ports, the couple recognized that something was missing. “When we moved to the area, we noticed a huge lack of opportunity for the public to get out on the water,” Holmes said. “We really saw a big void.”

Holmes and Russell created North Shore SUP in 2012. Their initial home base was the bay side of Park Point, with … humble … accommodations. “During our first year in business, we hauled all our gear in a minivan,” Russell shared with a laugh. “We were literally the van down by the river.”

North Shore SUP later moved operations to Superior’s Barker’s Island in 2017. “Barker’s Island is more sheltered from the wind, with lots of protected inlets,” Russell explained. “And it’s right across from the highway, making it very accessible for our customers.”

The couple has added new equipment and inventory as the business grew. They transported their boards and paddles in an enclosed trailer for many years. They are pleased to announce that they recently added a permanent shop to their enterprise, featuring a front desk, changing area, and gear/merchandise sales.

Options

North Shore SUP offers a variety of adventures for its customers. A popular choice is to complete a full circumnavigation around Barker’s Island. Finishers have the privilege of signing their name on the inside of the front office door.

Other options include full moon and evening paddles, along with the Wisconsin Point lighthouse tour. North Shore SUP also offers “paddle parties” for birthdays and other special events. There are ice cream social paddles, and summer camps for kids.

Great views are always a part of SUP. Submitted photo.

Holmes also teaches paddleboard yoga, and has brought on another yoga instructor, Katie Swanson, owner of Swan Song Yoga, to assist. Here, the group paddles fifteen minutes to a special location on the eastern side of Barker’s Island, featuring a full sand bottom. The boards are then anchored, and participants practice yoga on these floating platforms.

But, for those adventurous clients who are up for a challenge, North Shore SUP is always willing to offer custom paddle trips. For instance, paddle adventures on the Brule River and Wisconsin’s South Shore are a few options that have been added over their ten years in business.

Gear

Paddleboards are quite different from surfboards. For example, they are ten to fifteen times more buoyant than a surfboard and longer and wider, making them specially designed for standing. Softer boards are also available, which are helpful for people with joint pain or injuries.

North Shore SUP offers a variety of equipment customers can use during a tutorial or rent for an independent excursion – from boards and paddles to floating toys, wet suits, booties, and dry bags. There are general recreational boards, as well as racing, touring, whitewater, and surf-specific boards. Children’s boards are among the shortest, at eight feet long. The longest board, intended for touring, is sixteen feet. Board width is typically between 28 and 38 inches.

Paddleboards are constructed of a few different materials. There are inflatable boards made of military-grade rubber; these are a great option for paddling the Brule River. Other boards are made of fiberglass epoxy, bio resins, and closed-cell recycled foam. Most of the boards weigh between 25 – 30 pounds.

Many of North Shore SUP’s boards were purchased from the Glide company out of Salt Lake City, Utah. “We seek out companies that stand by the values we believe in,” Russell said. “Glide’s components are made in the U.S, and everything is recycled.”

When it comes to paddles, the sizes and materials also vary. Each customer is fitted with a paddle appropriate for their size and type of adventure. Wooden paddles are good for efficiency and durability, while carbon paddles are good for touring. Fiberglass paddles are helpful for river paddling. Many of North Shore SUP’s paddles are sourced from Northwest River Supply, based in Moscow, Idaho.

Safety

Before a customer ever steps foot on a board, plenty of safety precautions and instructions are exercised. Safety is a top priority for Russell and Holmes.

Russell, who is certified to teach through the American Canoe Association, walks participants through the basics of the equipment, along with entering/exiting the board from the safety of the Barker’s Island dock. Both Holmes and Russell have first aid and CPR training, and Russell is also OEC-certified (outdoor emergency care), through his ski patrol.

Each paddleboarder is fitted with a PFD (personal flotation device) and a leash connecting their board to their ankle. And, dogs are fitted with a CFD – canine flotation device.

In addition to learning techniques, boarders learn navigation, including how shipping lanes operate. Intro lessons also teach participants how to climb back on the board if they fall off. And while adults can choose to paddle without a guide, children are never left alone.

Training on technique and safety is provided. Submitted photo

Season + Off-Season

North Shore SUP’s season is very short – they are open from June 1st – the end of August. The off-season marks a return to Ogden, Utah for Holmes and Russell. In the non-paddleboard season, Holmes works part-time as a substitute teacher and barista. Russell works as a ski coach, behavior coach, and adventure coordinator for children.

Despite splitting their time between locations, Holmes and Russell absolutely love the Northland. “Not being originally from here, it’s just so unique,” Russell said. “Until you’ve seen what Lake Superior actually looks like, it’s just a picture on a map. It’s truly like an ocean. The community is great here, too. People embrace being outside year-round, and it’s a good place for a healthy, active lifestyle.”

“Duluth and Superior have a very nice, small-town feel,” said Holmes. “There are community activities happening year-round, and we have a very high quality of life here.”

For more information, please visit duluthsup.com. Potential paddlers are also encouraged to call or text North Shore SUP at (218) 343-1308.

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Duluth’s biking trails rank in the top six with the help of COGGS

Hansi Johnson

NORTHWOODS ADVENTURE SERIES

Mountain biking at Enger Tower Park - Photo by Hansi Johnson. Used with permission.

Duluth’s biking trails rank in the top six with the help of COGGS

Duluth has become well known in the international biking scene and was awarded the designation of a “Gold Level Ride Center” by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) – a distinction given to only 6 in the world.

“The IMBA Gold-Level evaluation criteria is comprised of key aspects that make for an amazing mountain bike destination and include a variety of trail types, overall trail mileage, quality of trail experiences, destination best practices, and local services,” according to the IMBA site.

Showcasing the glacial bedrock that creates Lake Superior's short but steep shoreline, the Duluth Traverse Mountain Bike Trail threads along the entire city of Duluth, MN. About 40 miles of spine trail connects the five main trail centers and neighborhood routes. The Duluth Traverse trails include Hartley, Lester, Mission Creek, Piedmont/Brewster, Stone Age, Craft Connector, Downer Park, and Spirit Mountain.

With over 90 total miles of trail, there is something for everyone: from smooth flow lines in Mission Creek; lift-serviced, downhill runs at Spirit Mountain Bike Park; technical, rocky descents in Piedmont; to old school, rooty XC trail in Hartley, and everything in between. The trails are designed and built for mountain biking, but all users (non-motorized) are welcome to explore them.

COGGS - the backbone of Duluth's mountain biking trail system

Whether a beginning mountain biker leisurely riding on a forested and peaceful trail or an advanced rider barreling down an extreme hill over moguls, rocks, and steep corners, cyclists of all skill levels will find that the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) is a valuable resource for them.

According to their website at coggs.com, “COGGS is the leading non-profit mountain bike advocacy organization in the Duluth/Superior Twin Ports Area of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Established in 1994 as a nonprofit 501-c3 organization, they are committed to sustainable trail development, equitable trail access across the Twin Ports, and developing a welcoming outdoor recreational culture by promoting opportunities, education, programming, partnerships, and healthy outdoor fun.’ “The trail system is free to use and open to all trail users. Runners. Hikers. Bikers. Dog walkers. Bird watchers. Kids on a hike. Everyone can use these trails.”

Photo by Hansi Johnson. Used with permission.

Justin Martin, COGGS Executive Director, started with the organization as a volunteer and quickly realized the importance of helping to build and groom trails.  Along with the membership fees, donations and sponsors, Martin explained that they do grant writing and work closely with the City of Duluth Parks and Recreation Department to help design, build and maintain the mountain biking trails. Truly the dedication of COGGS to Duluth’s biking system is a key factor in becoming world-renown.

Photo by Hansi Johnson. Used with permission.

Martin is excited about races and events COGGS sponsors such as a fun enduro-style ride series for COGGS members taking place every summer and showcasing the amazing trails across Duluth. He said, “Spectators love the excitement of watching the speed and excitement the participants create.”

Martin’s favorite trail is Piedmont. “I am an aggressive rider and like to go fast over very large rocks. Newer riders can build a progressive skill set that allows them to build up to faster speeds and more challenging trails. You can even take lessons to learn how to develop your skills even more.”

They also invite everyone who appreciates these multi-purpose trails to consider supporting COGGS with a contribution in any amount since every dollar counts.  They also appreciate corporate and business sponsors.

COGGS offers a membership program with perks including discounts at Galleria Bicycles, Twin Ports Cyclery, Continental Bike, Stewart’s Bikes, and Ski Hut.

Close-to-home trails

Anywhere you live in Duluth you are just blocks away from a mountain biking adventure. "In Duluth you ride to your ride, hike to your hike and run to your run," states Hansi Johnson, a COGGS volunteer and contributing photographer.

Dave Antonson, COGGS Board Chair, moved to Duluth in 2000. “I have been riding bikes for as long as I remember. At age five, I had the training wheels on my bike for about 30 minutes. We took them off, and I have been off on a bike ever since.”

“I like the Hartley trail the best for my own riding. It is close to my home, so that makes it easy for me to access,” Antonson said. “It has everything from beginning to challenging trails. I consider myself an intermediate biker, and Hartley is great for me.”

He added, “I am proud that COGGS is such a strong advocate for new trails and for our trail maintenance with our volunteers. I have been with COGGS for ten years, first as a volunteer and now as a board member and an active user of the trails. I appreciate how important the organization is to tourists and some locals who use the trails often.”

“Every park is different. I tell people coming to Duluth the ride that they should start with is Spirit Mountain and then venture out to other trails. The trails are color coded for easy understanding of difficulty level—green for beginner, blue for intermediate, and black for advanced. Some have all three levels,” Antonson noted.

COGGS website also includes descriptions, levels, locations and more about the major bike trails in the area. The website gives current trail conditions, especially following rainy weather when some trails are periodically closed. The site also posts volunteer opportunities for a variety of tasks including help with grooming and maintaining trails.

Joining the area mountain biking community is another way to enjoy the great outdoors and to meet those along the trail who also love biking for recreation, exercise, excitement, and camaraderie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer is a Festival in Duluth

Summer is a Festival in Duluth!

Photo courtesy of the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center

During these precious, gorgeous days and nights of summer in Duluth and the surrounding area, tourists and residents alike can enjoy annual events to suit every taste and interest, with many geared towards families. Early summer events like the “Park Point Art Fair,’ the “Fourth Fest,” the Rhubarb Festival and the marquee Duluth event, Grandma’s Marathon, kick off a summer of celebrations and outdoor activities that make Duluth a festival of fun.

By the Bay

A must-stop venue for summer activity is Bayfront Festival Park, home to everything from rock concerts to fireworks, from art fairs to yoga classes. Enjoying events in the Park, with invigorating breezes off of the Bay and the beautiful Aerial Lift Bridge in the background, make Bayfront an important summer destination.

According to Lucie Amundsen, DECC Communications Director, "It's great to see people enjoying this beautiful location right by the water; Bayfront is special. Adding a second Bayfront Park gate on the Lakewalk near the Great Lakes Aquarium will only make it easier to enjoy."

Annual Bayfront events in July include the “Reggae and World Music Festival” (July 16), a celebration of world music whose artists spread the message of love, hope, and equality. “Festival By the Lake” (July 23) celebrates the rich history of Duluth and its surrounding areas with culture and cuisine. All Points North Summer Brewfest (July 30) serves up samples from 100+ Minnesota breweries and brew pubs.

Hairball at Bayfront Festival Park. Photo by Steve Mattson

Bayfront Festival Park is home to several August events as well. “City on the Hill Music Fest”(August 5-6) features top-tier Christian artists and fellowship. For over twenty-five years, the “Bayfront Blues Festival” (August 12-14) has been a world leader showcasing a veritable who’s who in the blues and blues/rock music genre.

Over 100 artists show their wares at “Art in Bayfront Park” (August 20-21) with jewelry, painting, photography, ceramics, metalwork, glass and more. The Tribute Fest (August 25-27) was set up to raise awareness and funds for homeless veterans in the state of Minnesota through music.

Yoga at Bayfront - Submitted photo

Yoga enthusiasts can even enjoy “Bayfront Flow” with Kyle Leia Heyesen at Bayfront (Tuesdays, from 5:15-6:15  June-October). Heyesen said, “It is such a great gift and a treasure to be able to be outside and practice yoga in such a beautiful place.” Sign-up for the yoga classes here.

For more info on other DECC and Bayfront events, click here.

On the Street, In the Park, and By the Water

Street fairs are always popular for shopping bargains, food, and entertainment.

“Sidewalk Days” (July 13-15) is a city festival that takes place right in the heart of beautiful downtown Duluth. It encompasses three blocks of the newly reconstructed Superior Street. Sidewalk sales, kids’ obstacle courses, car shows, food, street dances, and more are all part of the activities for the entire family.

Celebrating West Duluth, “Spirit Valley Days” (August 4-5) features the Northland’s largest classic car show, a street dance, parade, book sale, craft and rummage sale, 5K run/walk, Ms. West Duluth Pageant, garden tour, kids games, pancake breakfast, fish fry, food and artisan vendors, live entertainment, and more.

The Greater Downtown Council offers free outdoor movies every Friday night at sunset during the summer, starting July 8th. The movies are shown on a giant outdoor screen in Leif Erikson Park overlooking the shores of Lake Superior. For a complete listing of movies, visit downtownduluth.com

Glensheen Mansion holds Duluth’s premier summer concert series on the water, “Concerts on the Pier” in July and August. The concerts are free and open to the public from 5 to 8 pm, with music starting at 7 pm.

Refreshment options at the Mansion include craft beers and non-alcohol drinks, Love Creamery ice cream, and a variety of food from local food trucks.

Guests are encouraged to enjoy a lakeside campfire, paddle or boat in to view the concert from the water, or to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the show from the shore. For a concert lineup, go here.

 

In the Skies

The Duluth Air and Aviation Expo, held at the Duluth International Airport, (July 16-17) is the largest spectator event north of the Twin Cities, bringing in approximately 50,000 spectators over the weekend. The Duluth Air Show showcases the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and also features many other aircraft fly-overs, demos, and displays.

The USAF Thunderbirds headline the 2022 Duluth Airshow. Photo by Ken Palmer

Airshow tickets can be purchased online at www.duluthairshow.com, at all Minnesota Menards locations, and at the gate on the days of the event. Lindsay Kern, Expo Special Events Director, said, “We are proud of the patriotic message of the Air and Aviation Expo. There is nothing like the power of the aircraft, the skills of the pilots, and their incredible teamwork.”

Destination Events Locale

Many more summer events are added every year and annual events continue to grow and thrive.The area has become a destination locale for both its incredible natural beauty and the exciting activities that showcase fun with family and friends, establishing Duluth as “Festival Northland.”

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Hike Paddle Ride Adventure Company

Alannah Michalski

Hike Paddle Ride Adventure Company
Exciting Ways to Explore the Grandeur of Duluth and the North Shore

Hike, Paddle, Ride Adventure Co owners Jake and Maria Miller and their daughter Lynnea (4yr) and son Finley (7yr).  - Photo by Alannah Michalski

New Duluth residents Jake and Maria Miller were looking for ways that they and their two young children could enjoy and explore the beautiful great outdoors in the Northland.

The couple, who met in college, married in 2008 and moved to Duluth in 2018. He works for Cirrus and she is a teacher’s aide at Lakeview Christian Academy.

Maria is originally from Silver Bay, and she recalls enjoying the beauty of the Northwoods and the Lake with her family as a child. Jake is from Idaho and was more accustomed to the mountains and the wide open, sparse desert spaces out West.

Their move to Duluth was a trip down memory lane for Maria, and a new densely- wooded green terrain to discover for Jake. The family started exploring places they could hike, bike, paddle and camp on their own and with friends.

Lynnea Miller and her ride. Photo by Alannah Michalski.

The couple began talking about setting up a website to help others have the information they needed to explore Duluth and the North Shore. Before long they started selecting, mapping, photographing and taking videos of places to include.

“We started with ones that we wanted to try ourselves,” explained Jake. Their first adventure was kayaking on Fish Lake, and the list just kept growing from there. “We love doing all three and often go to locales where there is access to hiking, biking, and paddling,” said Jake.

Their project was the beginning of Hike Paddle Ride Adventure Company. Its mission is to help those searching for paths to hike, trails to bike, or places to kayak near Duluth and on the North Shore. The website offers users a wide variety of "package-ready" places to Hike, Paddle and Ride in Duluth and on the North Shore with very specific maps, and information

Breathtaking photos and videos add to the site’s plethora of information. “Doing this website, we get to see, document and explore a lot of exciting spaces,” said Jake. “We work on finding places that are super accessible, not requiring hours to get to.”

Hike Paddle Ride Adventure Co. - Website Photo.

Maria added, “We offer choices for seasoned outdoors people and beginners, and we are loving the feedback from everyone. We are proud of the helpful information offered at what we think is a much-needed site.”

“This is truly a family venture. Since it is so time-consuming, I don’t want to be out in the field on my own. We always look for ways to make it fun for the whole family,” noted Jake.

“Our son even likes to bring a sketchbook when we go out to draw what he sees,” added Maria.

Whether for hiking, paddling, or riding, their ready-made, self-guided excursions are designed to give people the confidence to know where they are going and what they will find when they get there.

Their website offers users “a stress-free, easy to plan, outdoor experience. People just need to select an adventure, view the data, get the directions and go!”

Their current “Hike Duluth” guides include Ely Peak, Skyline, Carlton Trail, Congdon Trail, Kingsbury and Keene, White Pine Trail and Lone Pine Trail.

“We especially love Ely Peak,” noted Maria. “It is an easy trail to get to and the 360-degree view is incredible.”

Gorgeous “Hike North Shore” sites include Oberg Mountain, Day Hill Trail, Lookout Mountain, High Falls, Humpback Trail, Kadunce River, Carlton Peak and Mount Baldy.

For those paddling in either kayak or on stand-up paddle boards, the “Paddle Duluth” section guides visitors to specific put-in and take-out locations. Duluth area bodies of water to paddle include Fish Lake West, Chambers Grove, Grand Portage, Cloquet River, Boyscout Landing and Fish Lake South.

“Paddle North Shore” spots on the site so far are Crooked Lake, Cascade Lake, Timber Frear, Crescent Lake, Toohey and Four-Mile.

Maria Miller and daughter Lynnea. Photo by Alannah Michalski

“Ride Duluth” sites with a variety of difficulty levels featured are Mission Creek, Munger Trail, Keene Creek, Park Point, Antenna Farm, Waabizheshikana Trail, and Skyline.

“Ride North Shore” trails also provide varying degrees of difficulty and include High Climber, Split Rock, Britton Peak, Gooseberry, Jackpot, Cutface Creek and Pincushion.

Each hike or ride adventure comes with driving directions to the trailheads, distance data, an elevation graph, and downloadable turn-by-turn picture directions to guide visitors along the trails.

The site even has links to gas, hotels, rest stops, campgrounds, restaurants, coffee, fast food, groceries, attractions, events, parks, museums, EV charging, banks and more.

The great outdoors doesn't always come with great cell phone coverage. Site users can plan ahead for losing cell service by saving driving directions, turn-by-turn photos, and other information to their phones.

The Millers are enjoying helping people find their perfect adventures. Tourists and residents alike are selecting a multitude of wonderful places to visit, engaging in activities to help stay fit, and creating unforgettable family memories along the way.

Plan your next Duluth or North Shore adventure at www.hikepaddleride.com

 

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Great Lakes Aquarium – Connecting with Water, Wildlife +

Fish, shipwrecks, raptors, mammals, and more. These are just a few of the species and special interests to be explored at Duluth’s Great Lakes Aquarium (GLA).

Featuring fifteen exhibit galleries, GLA guests of all ages can observe animals and habitats native to the Great Lakes, the Amazon River, and other bodies of water around the world. GLA’s mission is to “Connect all people to the water and wildlife of Lake Superior and beyond.”

While there is plenty of programming geared for kids and families, there are several adult-themed events at GLA, too. This includes a summer beer garden, featuring a lovely auditory backdrop courtesy of a Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO) quartet. Beer Gardens are Thursday evenings in July and August from 5-8 p.m

Great Lakes Aquarium Beer Garden Thursdays. - GLA Facebook page.

Exhibits and Programming

The GLA’s Executive Director, Jay Walker, explained more about the Aquarium’s wide array of exhibits. “Our Isle Royale exhibit is dedicated to the Great Lakes, so it is filled with native species, including lake trout, brown trout, brook trout, and lake sturgeon. The St. Louis River Gallery features walleye, muskies, northern pike, sunfish, and crappies,” he noted. “It also has ducks.”

“Our ‘Shipwrecks Alive’ gallery showcases shipwrecks in the Great Lakes and other parts of the world,” he added. “We have touch pools, featuring corals, anemones, jellyfish, and sturgeon. We also have a possum, skunk, two river otters, and an exhibit called Raptor Ridge, featuring Bogey the bald eagle and Horus the turkey vulture.”

Additionally, GLA guests can observe a special dive team hand-feeding the sturgeon; watch the frisky otters (named Agate and Ore) play; and interact with GLA staff, who often walk around the Aquarium with a variety of critters.

Great Lakes Aquarium submitted photo.

Many of the animals at GLA aren’t able to live independently in the wild. Bogey the eagle and Horus the vulture, for instance, have been deemed “non-releasable” due to flight issues, and wouldn’t survive on their own. So, they will live the entirety of their lives as educational ambassadors, safe and comfortable at GLA. Each animal’s habitat and other needs, including diet and enrichment, are well-researched so they all receive the best care.

The Great Lakes Aquarium is also a huge proponent of teachers and education. There are a complimentary teacher (and home-schooling) resource kits available, and plenty of early childhood programs and day camps for kids.

More About the Leader

Jay Walker, the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Aquarium.

Walker is originally from Alexandria, Minnesota. He had planned to pursue a career in music until one momentous day when he visited an aquarium with his then-girlfriend, now wife.

“I was a music major originally,” Walker explained. “My girlfriend Michelle had family on the east coast. I traveled to meet her family in Baltimore and visited the National Aquarium there, and I was absolutely floored. I loved the exhibits; I loved what we learned. Ultimately, I switched my major.”

Walker has an associate’s degree in aquaculture from Alexandria Technical & Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in fisheries from the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS). He began his career in 1996 working for Underwater World at the Mall of America.

While his official title was aquarist, Walker prefers the tongue-in-cheek industry term, ‘fish janitor.’ “We cared for the fish, prepped their food, monitored water quality, did record-keeping, and dove in to clean the tanks,” he explained.

When Denny Krenner, a consultant in the industry, told Walker about a new aquarium opening in Duluth, Walker jumped at the opportunity. He was hired in 1999 as GLA’s curator, a role he held from 1999-2007. He was promoted to Director of Operations in 2007 and promoted again to Executive Director in 2019.

Duluth Transplants

As “Duluth transplants,” Walker and his family have ultimately made Duluth their permanent home. “When thinking about Duluth as a place to live, initially it was just about my career,” he noted. “We had considered only staying here for about five years. But it was such a perfect place, and the longer we lived here, the more we loved it.”

Walker and his wife, Michelle, have two children: Cassidy (22), and Ian (20). The Walker family also includes a cat, dog, African Grey Parrot, Cockatiel, and a milk snake. “I love my job, but you will never find an aquarium in my house,” Walker said with a laugh. “It’s kind of like a chef who doesn’t want to go home and cook.” The family lives in the Observation Hill neighborhood.

When he isn’t working, Walker enjoys music, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and fly fishing. “Duluth is so great,” he emphasized. “Just last weekend, I was at the DSSO. Then, we went out to eat, and within minutes, I could be out in the woods. That is one of the absolute charms of Duluth: there are plenty of cultural amenities, but you can also get away from it all.”

Walker maintains plenty of other professional affiliations, too: he is the finance chair for the Visit Duluth Board; a Board member for the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association and is also an Eco-Rotarian.

Memberships at the Aquarium

The Great Lakes Aquarium, a non-profit organization employs over 50 staff members and receives most of its funding (approximately 80%) from guest visits and memberships. Members can visit the Aquarium an unlimited number of times, and also receive invitations to new exhibit openings and other special events. The GLA receives the rest of its funding (about 20%) through donations, grants, and tourism tax.

The Aquarium is open 364 days per year (every day but Christmas) from 10 am – 6 pm. In addition to regular visits, GLA is available for private parties and weddings, too.

Great Lakes Aquarium submitted photo.

Transformative Experience Possible

Walker is mindful of the transformative experience that a visit to an aquarium can provide. And this knowledge helps him plan future exhibits, events, and the total guest experience. “I always keep in mind that someone could walk through the doors and have the same experience I did,” he said.

Working at GLA continues to be a personally fulfilling career for Walker. “It’s so rewarding to see the people who work for me achieve their goals,” he said. “It gives me such joy.”

“And, I love knowing what we do to promote place-based education, and help people learn about our own backyard,” he added. “Here, you can see it, feel it, and touch it – and these experiences help you understand the world.”

For more information, please visit glaquarium.org.

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Love Creamery - Lovingly Churned & Joyfully Scooped

CeCe Boyle

Lovingly Churned and Joyfully Scooped Ice Cream
From Love Creamery and Nicole Wilde

Nicole Wilde, owner of Love Creamery. Photo by Wolfskull Creative

Eating ice cream is one of life’s great pleasures. Nicole Wilde, the owner of Love Creamery, gets to see the joy her handmade ice cream brings to people, young and old, at both of her “scoop shops” in Lincoln Park and Canal Park.

Wilde was born in Milwaukee and moved to Bayfield in 1998 to be Big Top Chautauqua’s marketing manager. Later, she moved to Duluth to take a position in marketing with Cirrus and a teaching job in marketing and business with UMD.

“I have always wanted to own a business. I decided I wanted to choose a product that people liked and that I could be creative with myself,” she explained.

Working with a fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, various economic development organizations and her own idea for a Main Street kind of revitalization project, she set her sights on a location in Lincoln Park.

In 2018, when she first moved into the space next to Frost River, OMC restaurant was just opening, but there were many empty storefronts and buildings up and down the street. Since then, the Lincoln Park business district has grown by leaps and bounds.

Love Creamery Lincoln Park location - Photo by CeCe Boyle

“I love to see how much that Main Street feeling has come to Lincoln Park. There is wonderful energy with several young entrepreneurs and a real sense of community spirit and mentorship.”

Her new Love Creamery shop opened in Canal Park in June of last year. Wilde says that it too is a vibrant community with businesses working cooperatively together.

Love Creamery Canal Park location - Photo by CeCe Boyle

“We make all of our own ice cream every day in both locations, with small batches, ten quarts per batch. We like to vary our flavors seasonally,” she said.

They have four flavors all the time, dark chocolate, buttermilk vanilla, salted caramel, and Nicole’s personal favorite, mint chocolate chip. They also feature dairy-free and vegan choices at both locations, and they make their own gluten-free waffle cones daily. With their four “default” flavors, they have room for many creative flavors seasonally and throughout the year in their 16 dipping cases.

You can mix your favorite ice cream flavors - Photo by CeCe Boyle

Love Creamery has its own ice cream wagon that they station on Park Point at Sky Harbor, and they use the wagon to cater weddings, graduation and other parties. Their ice cream is also sold at a number of local retailers.

On their website, Wilde noted, “Ice cream and sustainable farming are two of our driving passions. So, we went on a quest to find local farms, businesses and people who share our great passions for community, food and the environment as partners to craft scoops that we believe are responsibly sourced,”

Since she wanted to do a “farm-to-cone model” for their farm fresh ingredients, they have partnered with Autumnwood Family Dairy, Northwind Organic Farm, Duluth Coffee Company, Zenith Tea Works, Glensheen Mansion Gardens, Farm Lola, Northern Soda, Bar Bell Bee Ranch, Positively Third Street Bakery, Saltless Sea Urban Farm, David Rogotske Family Sugarbush and more.

Love Creamery’s creative selections vary frequently, with Wilde, her employees, and even customers coming up with new flavor ideas. Some present and past favorites include salted caramel, chai tea, salted peanut butter Newman O’s cookies, whiskey pecan (with Vikre honor brand whiskey), toasted coconut fudge, goat cheese with brandied cherries, roasted banana chip, vegan maple walnut, vegan lavender, salted honey, honeycomb, milk chocolate and assorted sorbets.

Also on the menu are ice cream flights with tray space for small scoops of six flavors of the customer’s choosing, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream bars, ice cream puffs, floats, shakes and malts. They also serve espressos and affogatos, an Italian coffee-based dessert with a scoop of ice cream and a shot of hot espresso.

Flight of six flavors of Love Creamery ice cream. - Photo by CeCe Boyle

Both of Wilde’s scoop locations and her popups treat their customers, tourists and locals, to an experience in the world of ice cream that is unlike any other place. “We have had tourists who say they come up here from the Twin Cities, just to have our ice cream, and visit some other places while they are here,” she said with a laugh.

On her website, she noted, “At Love Creamery, our goal is to make Duluth’s best ice cream, and we are focused on making every ice cream flavor as delicious as possible. We know ice cream is just better when made from real ingredients. That is why we thoughtfully select every ingredient and lovingly prepare every flavor, every scoop.”

Wilde’s tremendous success was recently acknowledged with Love Creamery being recognized as the 2022 Best Ice Cream Parlor in the Midwest by Midwest Living Magazine.

Of her future plans, Wilde said, ”We are looking at potential spots for other locations, nothing to give specifics about yet.” Wherever Wilde next shares her passion for ice cream, she is sure to have the “inside scoop” on knowing what makes a wonderful treat.

This unattributed quote sums up the essence of the magic of ice cream. “You can't buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream, and that is pretty much the same thing."

For more on Love Creamery, visit their website at lovecreamery.com

 

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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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