A Little Getaway

First of all: get a load of Jesse’s beard. I think he looks like a completely different person with it. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when he shaves it off. If he ever shaves it off.

We took a family get away in October that I’ve been meaning to share but things get busy!!! This is the first vacation that we’ve taken that was 1) just the four of us and 2) not piggy backed on a work trip for Jesse. I can’t even believe that.

Location:
We rented a house just outside of Duluth. Our hosts were wonderful and the place was simple and cute – perfect for our little family of four. Outside there was plenty of land to hike, a fire pit with plenty of wood, and lawn games. Inside had a quirky and cute collection of art, a “cow pouf” that the kids fought to use, a cupboard full of games and another with movies. We played lots of games of Life and watched a movie every night before bed. (The 1970’s Benji was a hoot.)

Activities:
We hiked Gooseberry Falls. It was quite pretty, but they’d had a great deal of rain so it was wet and sloppy. Jesse left his hiking boots in the car thinking he wouldn’t need them and came home with wet feet (and very muddy shoes).

In Duluth, we visited the Great Lakes Aquarium. It was crowded due a trick or treat event going on but we did get to touch some jellies, an alligator (I don’t know how they relate to the Great Lakes, but still cool) and some different species of sturgeon. After viewing lots of Great Lakes fish, we headed to Vertical Endeavors where Abram did some rock climbing. I thought Violet would really enjoy it but after a crowded aquarium, she requested introvert time. She and I relaxed in the car with some books and then browsed a couple of art studios nearby. I made stop to the local yarn store and picked up a few skeins – one for a hat I want to make and a couple more for socks. (Of course.)

Eats:
If you happen to be in the area – Betty’s Pies was a big favorite. We waited 40 minutes on a Sunday morning for a table at Duluth Grill (should have made a reservation) and it was worth every second. Amazing service. We didn’t really plan for eats really well. Lots of times we just ended up eating PB&J at the house.

It felt good to get away for a long weekend and has me thinking about where we can next adventure. Snow has been falling so it might have to be skiing. (The kids have been going to a smaller local hill with Jesse for years but I haven’t been on a pair of skis in over a decade. I don’t know if I’ve got the stuff to do it again.)

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  • You went to Duluth!!! It looks like you had a great time 🙂 . When we lived in Minnesota, we lived just outside Duluth. One of our favourite spots was Gooseberry Falls, and that yarn store was MY local yarn store! (Although they’ve moved since we left, so the location isn’t the same—gosh, it looks like a nice store.) Did you walk down Lake Avenue and around Canal Park (by the aerial lift bridge)?
    That IS kind of crazy that this was the first four-of-you-only-non-work-related family vacation ever…!

    • We did have a very nice time. I told Jesse I could live there in an instant. I’m kind of jealous that yarn store was your local store!! Though I can’t complain because after years and years of there not being a yarn store (that wasn’t Joanne’s Fabrics) I actually have TWO places in town. Neither are stand alone yarn stores but both have really nice yarns which makes my heart happy. I’ll still always find a yarn store when we go somewhere though.

      We were down around Lake Avenue and Canal park but really didn’t walk around too much because the one really nice weather day we spent hiking. The remainder were pretty cold and wet.

      I couldn’t believe it either! We’ve definitely done a weekend away here or there for events and we’ve taken plenty with extended family but never an actual vacation just us! It was so good for us and I want to do more of it!

  • You’re the second person to mention Duluth as a great place to visit. What are the odds? Your photos are wonderful, the blue sky is amazing. My goodness, the beard in question is stunning. Will he shave it or not? Stay tuned to find out, eh?

    • It really is a very cool place. I was scoping out real estate listings before we left. (Jesse pointed out that I always do that when we go somewhere that I like which I didn’t realize before, but is completely true.)

      I passed along the compliment on the beard and he says thank you.

  • This looks wonderful! (And I, who am generally not a beard fan, vote for the beard.) So glad you were all able to get away together. Now I’m wishing that I’d done that on one of the glorious fall weekends we had. Apparently we’re at the beginning of what will be 6 weeks of rain. I like it when the rain comes, but…I already miss the fall sun. I always feel so pulled about traveling. I love seeing new places (especially charming ones), but I’m such a homebody that I never want to leave. And leaving usually tires me out. Like you, I always check out the real estate listings, too! I never really like being a tourist, but I love the idea of living in other places. I need a few more lifetimes so I can fit them all in. 🙂

    • Yes!! You said it exactly. I like the idea of reincarnation simply because I have SO many lives I wish I could live and in so many places!! (And I dislike feeling like a tourist too!)

      Oh my!! Six weeks of rain?!! I don’t think I could handle it! I’ve been using my SAD lamp since the end of daylight saving time!

  • I loved the pictures of your family vacation, Kate! As I went walking through them, I kept wondering where this might be. I had no idea! I have never been in that area of the US, but I have seen similar landscapes. Ugh that you only had one good day to hike and the others were mud and rain! Ugh! But mudding it together as a family will be one vacation not forgotten!!
    When I got to the photo of your Jesse, I thought SANTA!! Must be some childhood vision I had of Santa… the beard, the glasses, and that gaze. I love that photo.

    As far as the Sun lamp, I used one when I lived in Colorado of all places that gets sunshine on almost all days. I had bought a condo with north facing windows which never had sunshine into the home and worked in an office in the interior area. I found the lamp helpful.

    I finally moved ,selling the condo to buy a patio home that was like a window terrarium with sun east, south and west so I could spend weekends sunning myself inside during the cold long winter months! And our office moved across the street where I was lucky and received a cubicle with a wall of south windows. Sunshine is a must for those of us who deal with depression!!!

    I now live in the coast bend area of Texas. No snow and the weather is warm all year. But the short days light is tough! I sleep a lot in winter as my body seems to move with the sun and stars!!

    Thanks for sharing your vacay with me!

    • It was a really lovely vacation, even with the rain. It allowed for plenty of board games and other adventures and honestly, I was just so glad to have that time with my family.

      I love your comment about Santa!! It made me smile and I can’t wait to tell him about it when I see him later; he’ll get the biggest kick out of it!

      I understand what you are saying about low light days because I’m definitely ruled by light too. For a long time I tried to ignore that and pack my days, but now I’m learning to just appreciate it for what it is and slow down when I can. (Pajamas at 5:30, yes please!) Summer will be here again and I can embrace the long days of that time.

      I don’t know if I could live somewhere where the weather is warm and there is no snow. I LOVE winter and I love snow. It’s either my first or second favorite season. Maybe. Honestly, I love them all which is why I continue to live somewhere where we have such drastic changes. Have you ever lived somewhere with snow and cold?

      • Yes, I have lived in snow and cold. When I was 36-50 years old, I lived in the Colorado (Denver area) which has four seasons. I would vacation to beach locations! I’m a nature, water and sun lover… Aquarius. It is absolutely gorgeous stunning weather here today. My Yorkie and I walked the sea wall then strolled the beach where the low tide was gently washing ashore. Lovely 😊

        • We finally have sun today though it’s cold. We usually take a sunny vacation during the winter each year. Maybe that’s why I like it!!

          • The tv news reports snow from the west coast all the way across to the east coast! Wild!! I’m very glad to have moved out of the snow. I do not miss it at all. It’s in the 60-70 degrees with the gloomy clouds for a few days. I’m glad to hear that the sun came out even for just a bit, Kate!

            I’m settling in with my Yorkie to read in peaceful quiet, simple life in between my internal hibernation of winter. Today I started reading The Long Call; it’s a new series written by Ann Cleeves. I have never read anything from her, but you might have. So far it is very good!

            I also purchased at my local bookstore the new book by Ruth Ware, The Turn of the Key. For audiobooks I selected Kate Morton, The Secret Keeper and Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See.