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Nerdy Girl Guide to Duluth, MN

There are a lot of bloggers out there who are “cool” and heralded as “style-makers”.  I’m just a nerd who uses words like heralded and doff.  I say this because I don’t want you to expect recommendations for anything avante-garde.  This isn’t even a comprehensive guide.  Hubby & I just love to travel – anywhere – so I decided I want to start sharing tidbits about the places we visit.

Due to the proximity of my hometown to the American border (Thunder Bay even shares Lake Superior with Duluth) I have visited the city of Duluth, MN too many times to count and, as a result, have my favorite haunts:

Favorite Site:

Glensheen Mansion

Glensheen Mansion is a gorgeous mansion with an incredibly interesting, but also tragic, history.  The rooms (especially on the “women’s floor”) are awe-inspiring and the technology (like an intercom system and clothes “dryer”) was remarkably advanced for the time.  Definitely splurge and take the expanded tour.  The only problem is that there is no photography allowed inside.

Photo Source

Favorite Place to Shop:

Father Time Antiques

I love this antique store because it is spacious (9,600 square feet!), clean and always freshly stocked with great finds.  Also, because this city can be COLD in the winter, it is nice to ogle the wares of more than 70 antique vendors under one cozy roof.  No website for this shop, but here’s the info you need:

Father Time Antiques
395 S. Lake Ave
Duluth, MN  55802
[email protected]

Favorite Place to Dine:

Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar

With a fabulous location in the historic Dewitt-Seitz Marketplace in Canal Park, surrounded by inspiring galleries and fun shops (like Father Time Antiques), Lake Avenue Restaurant is definitely convenient.  But that’s just icing on the cake because the food is phenomenal – I recommend a pizza.

Photo Source

Favorite Place to Chill:

You already know I’m not a spa-gal so what do I do to relax?  I stare at Lake Superior.  No joke.  Even when I visit my hometown I like to grab a snack and park my car in a spot with a perfect view of the lake and just sit there.  Even if you don’t rent a spot with a view of the lake, go for a walk along the beach.  Can getting your toe nails clipped beat this?

Favorite Accommodations:

Rent a house or waterfront condo from VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner).  I’m planning a post on the ins & outs of renting from owners (for both Canadian & American rentals) but the bottom line is this: you get much more value for your dollar.

If you can’t find a nice rental or are only staying a few days, here is my recommendation for a clean hotel with lots of amenities: The Inn on Lake Superior.  We have stayed at this hotel many times because the view is amazing and the location couldn’t be more convenient.  Plus, the customer servive is great and the staff work hard to remedy any problems/issues.  But really, DIY waffles at the well-stocked breakfast bar & evening s’mores make the stay.

The view
Photo Source

P.S. As always, I haven’t been perked in any way for dithering on about my favorite places.



  1. Carol@TheDesignPages
    January 13, 2012 / 5:59 pm

    I think you're a style maker:) This looks like such a great place to visit. Would not have necessarily been on my list but thanks for introducing me! Have a great weekend!

  2. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication
    January 13, 2012 / 7:08 pm

    It looks beautiful! If I ever find myself in Duluth then I'll be sure to check these out!

  3. Laura (White Winters)
    January 13, 2012 / 10:10 pm

    That antiques store sounds amazing!

  4. Beatrice @
    January 13, 2012 / 11:50 pm

    Looks like a great destination spot. Love the views. Have a great weekend.

  5. Dana@Mid2Mod
    January 14, 2012 / 3:33 am

    Looks like a great place. I've only been as far north in Minnesota as Minneapolis/St. Paul. If I get up there again, I'll have to check out Duluth.

  6. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    January 14, 2012 / 5:13 pm

    Hmmm, sounds like Duluth isn't a fabulous getaway destination for most. Yay! That means I was able to share something new and different. I hope you do all get a chance to check out the city at some point. It really is a fun place.

  7. Joan
    January 15, 2012 / 2:09 pm

    Duluth was almost always the destination of my family vacations when I was a child. I remember the opening of the very first Target store (store #1) in Duluth. I loved going to the Pancake House and McDonald's–all pretty new then (50 years ago). My husband and I still consider Duluth one of our favorite destinations. So glad to read about your appreciation of the city and the lake, Tanya.

  8. SL
    January 16, 2012 / 2:41 pm

    Thanks for this! I live in the Twin Cities, and am going to Duluth with a bunch of girlfriends in February. Can't wait! We've already used one of your suggestions and are renting a house there.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 16, 2012 / 3:54 pm

      That's awesome! I hope you enjoy your trip. I recommend wandering around the Canal Park area – there are quite a few shops and restaurants with easy parking. The downtown core has some fabulous shops (including other antique stores) as well. Have a fabulous time 🙂

  9. cred
    May 29, 2012 / 8:06 pm

    love the photo of the lake, the one with the stony shore and the snow- fantastic shot!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 31, 2012 / 1:13 pm

      Thanks! It's not hard to take a good shot of such a gorgeous lake 🙂

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