I defy you, double-dare, pinky-swear defy you to stand on the shore of Lake Superior and watch a big freighter slip out of the bay and not start humming “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Never mind that the ship went down at the other end of the lake, over 400 miles away. She left from somewhere around here, and July weather and placid winds be damned, watching those enormous boats slide out into open water you almost want to yell out and warn them.
As I mentioned yesterday, we’d decided to stop in Duluth on the way to Appleton. Because, as everyone told us, Duluth, you know? People kept warning us not to expect too much, but always followed that caution up with an exhortation of Oh, oh and you’ve got to go see…!
Duluth did not disappoint.
We strolled out the lake walk and skipped rocks and watched the aerial lift bridge actually go up to let a freighter through. And sauntered through the woods out towards the lighthouse while watching Oshkosh-bound antiques (a flock of half a dozen Howard DGA’s, for my aviation-oriented friends) line up for landing at the bayside airport. There was an obligatory stop at the flagship Duluth Trading Company store, dinner at a sidewalk café and an affogato on the lawn afterwards from the adorable Italian trattoria a little further up the way. There was, if you can believe it, a Celtic session on at the pub across the street, but I didn’t stay – it kind of seemed like that would have been pushing the ol’ serendipity flux capacitor a little too far.
In brief: it was delightful.
Mind you, this is Duluth in the full flowering of summer. In winter, well…remember the Edmund Fitzgerald? And that was just November. And mindful that I caution friends not to fall in love with the Northwest until they’ve spent a winter of rain there, I Googled around for photos of this town in the throes of February. And well, I understand why, after Alaska, northern Minnesota seems to be prime sourcing territory for the US Antarctic Program’s recruiters.
But that’s all months and months away, long after I’ll be gone back to my own beloved rainy corner of the world. In the meantime, who’s to say we can’t have a lovely summer fling with Duluth?