Duluth, Fresh Air Capital of Minnesota!

Shops and Lift Bridge in Canal ParkWilliam A. Irvin Ore Boat Museum

Summer is here!  Okay, maybe if you’re looking on a calendar it’s a few days away, but in northern Minnesota, the weekend of Grandma’s Marathon is the kickoff to the summer season.  Hotels are feverishly checking and double-checking reservations, restaurants are rolling out new summer menus, and activities are popping up everywhere.  In our house, we like to run the half marathon.  We register a whole team (the Lakeside Limpers) and we are for the most part…pathetic.  We do have a ‘serious’ runner or two, but mostly we do it because we love the atmosphere.  And we know around mile nine there are people handing out beer!!

But why is everyone else flocking to Duluth?  I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I think there are a number of ideas that are quite plausible.  First of all, we have quality lodging in the Twin Ports.  Whether you’re looking for a downtown location like the Holiday Inn or right on Lake Superior like the Hampton Inn or Solglimt Bed and Breakfast, there are many great options.  But it’s not likely that people come north just to stay in a hotel.  So what are they doing here?

Besides a world-class marathon, Duluth boasts numerous other festivals and events.  We have a blues festival that spans three days on multiple stages.  And if that isn’t enough for one weekend, when the actual festival disperses for the night, many larger hotels and bars have live entertainment until the wee hours of the night.  Then there’s the multitude of other gatherings in Bayfront Park like (July) Fourthfest, concerts, Octoberfest, art fairs, etc.  And let’s not forget, in the winter you can walk through Bentleyville, an outdoor park filled with nearly three million lights, bonfires, and Santa.  If you time your vacation right next summer, you can take in the Tall Ships festival put together by Visit Duluth, it will be huge!

So if you’re looking to take a trip, whether it’s a long weekend or an extended stay, there’s something for everyone in Duluth.  Walk along the miles of paved trails adjacent to the world’s largest freshwater lake, or maybe cross the bridge to Superior (Wisconsin) for an Anchor Burger.  You don’t need to be a runner to love Duluth.  But I think the tens of thousands of marathon participants that just pulled in would agree, Duluth is the Fresh Air capital of Minnesota.

Chicken and Artichoke Bake

(For our carb-load meal the night before!)

6 oz (dry) bowtie pasta                                               1 T butter

1 small onion diced                                                     1 C mozzarella cheese

2 cooked chicken breasts, diced                               1-2 T fine-chopped cilantro

1 T minced garlic                                                         1 tsp lemon pepper

1 14 oz can artichoke hearts                                      ½ C shredded parmesan cheese

⅓ C Reisling (or other white) wine                          ½ C Panko bread crumbs

1 tsp Cayenne powder                                                 1T + 2T olive oil

Put pasta cooking as directed.  In a large pan sauté 1T of the olive oil, onion, garlic, and chicken.  Drain, rinse, and chop the artichoke and add to the pan.  Stir in wine, cayenne, butter, and lemon pepper.  When the pasta is done, drain and add to pan.  Toss with mozzarella and cilantro and spread in a greased deep-dish pie pan.  Mix together the parmesan, bread crumbs, and 2T olive oil.  Sprinkle evenly over the top and bake at 375° for about 20 minutes.  Great served with toasted baguette or garlic bread.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by tony on December 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I’ll have to try this recipe. Thanks! Duluth is a beautiful city. I was lucky enough to stay down next to canal park. It was a great hotel with an amazing view. Looking forward to returning in the spring!


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