Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Accompanied Jaunt

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday.  This year when we found out our son, Nathan, wouldn't be able to make it home for the festivities because of a new job, we were faced with a choice--go to him or go to our family celebration without him.  As a mother, all I could picture was our boy accompanied by his girlfriend, Kelly, sitting in Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner.  It didn't end up being a choice at all. 

I knew from past experiences of my own that young people often embrace the weird new holiday things you do when you can't go home.  (My husband and I recall several Christmas Eve's we spent at McDonalds when we were first married and he was in the army.)  But even though I knew he would be okay without me, I was reluctant to be without him. 

Our son goes to the University of Minnesota-Duluth so it wasn't really a hardship to think of visiting him there.  Duluth is a beautiful city nestled on the shores of Lake Superior.  We stayed in the quaint Canal Park.

As we arrived I noted with joy the Caribou Coffee across the street from our location.  As coffee is one of the reasons I pull myself out of bed, this was a neon sign of good things to come.  (pun intended)  We checked in and went up to our room.  The room was lovely and the view was better than I even expected looking out over the lake.   We opened the window to hear the water lapping at the rocks on the shore. 

Planning to incorporate a romantic getaway with our visit we pulled out a bottle of red wine and had an elegant glass before heading out to explore our surroundings.  Oops, next time we'd better pack glasses. 


We took the boardwalk down to the Maritime Museum (US Army Corps of Engineers).  It was a cool day but the lighthouses and lift bridge were worth the walk.   Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful state. 

We wandered along the pier and then headed in toward the shops.  Quaint boutiques, an antique store, the waterfront sculptures, and art galleries were all worth seeing.   Strolling along the sidewalks hand in hand is a relaxing beginning of a holiday weekend.  (hint, hint--guys this would be a wonderful surprise getaway)

We strolled through old warehouses made into interesting galleries and stores.   Everywhere we go I try to find some local art.  If possible I purchase a piece.  While walking through some of the shops we came to a studio of local award winning artist Kate Whittaker.  I fell in love with her work.  Her pieces truly spoke to me--the textures, colors, themes and images.  Although I was unable to take home any of her pieces, I met the talented lady.  Warm and gracious, she told us about her work.   Her compositions of acrylic on panels are haunting.  A few look as if they are viking ghost ships.  Although that may not be her intent, that is why I loved them.  Soon, some of her pieces will be accompanying a book of poetry by poet Kyle Elven.  (I will update you when their website is up.)  Her work is worth a visit if you ever get to Duluth.  See her studio online at   (Thank you Kate for allowing me to post your calling card)  Now--to start saving for a special piece of art!

We walked down to the famous Grandma's Restaurant for dinner.  It was a quiet night at the restaurant because most people were likely with their families. The food was excellent and the wait staff was really friendly even though they were working the holiday eve.  They were making the extra effort to make it feel like they enjoyed having you visit.

Our Thanksgiving dinner at Fitger's (The Midi Restaurant) the next day was very enjoyable.  The food was delicious, the wait staff friendly, the view beautiful and no dishes to clean at the end made for a relaxing day. 

It can be difficult when you change the way you celebrate holidays but you have a choice.  You can either regret the change, or you can embrace the change and try to find something to enjoy and appreciate in the new situation.  I'm choosing to make it a wonderful new jaunt. 

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