Girlfriend Getaway—Weekend in Duluth

by Teri E. Popp, Tastemaker in Residence

As Minnesotans, we know the North Shore in summer is a great vacation destination. And our own family has spent many a long weekend exploring the fall colors while hiking its many trails and miles of shoreline. But Duluth, and our northern environs, offer so much to do once the leaves have fallen, too.

W3 Book Club (short for Wine, Women and Words!) convened for a late autumn get together in Duluth—a haven for activities and adult fun of all sorts and variety. Our host, Mary Niemeyer, President of Townsquare Media Duluth—whose stations include MIX108, B105, Kool101.7, and Sasquatch106.5–started our adventure at Pier B Resort and Silo’s Restaurant, a lovely hotel where you can watch the Lift Bridge and all matters regarding shipping in action. She feted us with gift bags and champagne upon our arrival!

The next morning, we started off with a fantastic glass blowing class offered by Lake Superior Art Glass. The ladies truly enjoyed learning how to make pendants and ornaments in this 2 hour session.

Working up a thirst at our class, we then moved on to the Boat Club Restaurant and Bar. Opened in 2017, this light and airy venue features a Lobster Bloody Mary that served as lunch for many in our group! The drinks were as yummy as the view was spectacular!

From there, our host arranged a private tour of Glensheen Mansion. Designed by Clarence H. Johnston, Sr., and built by Chester and Clara Congdon, this incredible home boasts more than 27,000 square feet of prime real estate on one of the finest of the Great Lakes.

We had a few moments before dinner to enjoy some shopping in downtown Duluth. Fitger’s Brewery Complex offers the best in apparel and kitchenware! We found we easily whiled-a-way 2 hours while power shopping in this indoor shopping center located right above the lake.

We found we did not even have enough time to change clothes—due to our fun excursion at Fitger’s—as we needed to go to dinner at Belissio’s Italian Restaurant. There, we toasted our host in honor of her birthday while enjoying a nice assortment of Italian wines!

Of course, no night out is done until you’ve sampled the night life. And we can vouch that Duluth offers night life to spare! We chose to tour the SS William A. Irvin lake freighter, an ore ship museum permanently docked in Duluth at night. When we visited in late October, it was outfitted as a haunted house. Scary and fun!!

We decided that a nightcap (or two) was then in order!! No visit to Duluth should be complete unless you visit the Rathskeller. Located in the basement of the old jail, the stone pillars and walls of the original holding cell offer a very unique view of Duluth. Their specialty, a Smoked Manhattan, was very much worth the visit! I rate this as a 10 out of 10 on bar drinks!

We ended the evening at the Black Water Lounge, named the Best Martini Bar in Minnesota for some very good reasons. We all sampled various varieties of their signature drinks, but the highlight of the evening was June in January—a green concoction that bubbled and boiled before you gleefully enjoyed the delicacy. Yum!

All in all, it was a day and a half very well spent and enjoyed in Duluth! As a final note, I should add that I accidentally left my wallet at the Rathskeller and, lo and behold, when I returned 1 hour later and very late at night, the bartender pleasantly returned it intact and untouched when I frantically showed up to claim it. Now that’s a nice taste of Minnesotan honesty with your Smoked Manhattan!!!