Sunday, October 7, 2012

Duluth "Up North"

The end of September took us to the "up North" country of Duluth, Minne-snow-ta.  We missed out on snow (they had some just a week later), but we did get to be leaf peepers with the beauty nature provides for us.  We stopped at  Milltown Cycles in Faribault, MN and got some tips for dining and things to experience in Duluth from Ben.  One of the first recommendations was At Sara's Table, or Chester Park Cafe and then he said, 'it goes by a third name, too'.  It did, had "Tahran's" on the outside of the building, but we found it with no problems. It is fairly cloes to Chester Park, though not across the street as one might expect from the name.  They offer gluten free bread for $1 more with the meal. 

This fabulous omelet is the Vegetarian, and I asked them to add ham to it as well.
Small zuccini, peppers and even julienned carrots!

After breakfast we decided to walk to Chester Park.  We got to the edge of the park and went back for the car and then drove through here. Parts are still a work in progress/recovery from the June 2012 devastating rains and fierce flood waters.
Beautiful tree we peeped at Chester Park.
Next we  drove north to Two Harbors along the old highway with a gorgeous view of Lake Superior. About two miles from Two Harbors I realized this is the road along which Grandma's Marathon is run! It was a very nice highway. We went to the old train depot and then to the lighthouse at the harbor. A very cold day with temperatures in the 40s with enough of a breeze off the lake to drop the temperatures for this non-'Up North' person!

Burl-ly trees near Lake Superior at Two Harbors lighthouse walking path.

After a day of cold and walking, we did more walking, down from the hotel to Pizza Luce.
Pizza Luce downtown Duluth
Dinner at Pizza Luce in downtown Duluth. They have a gluten free crust and about half their pizza offerings are GF. A very yumming evening. I had the Spanish Chicken pizza which their menu describes as "I’m a renegade on a Western front; where the dust never settles…I’m topped with mushrooms, smoked gouda, red onion, marinated chicken, toasted garlic and mozzarella cheese on red sauce. Some call me the Spanish Chicken, and others, well, they run…”"

The appetizer we ordered the sampler, spinache-artichoke dip, marinara, olive tapenade, and bruschetta. It was served with two hot gluten free rolls that reminded me of Schar's brand, but we didn't find out what brand they were.

Mike's race, Heck of the North, started at 8am on Saturday. It was a free race with a huge turnout!  This is a view of most of the racers, but I still couldn't get them all in my photo.  My photo perch was on a pile of woodchips. . .

Heck of the North start
After the race started, I talked with Bob whose son was racing and tests bikes for Salsa.  I need to find his blog. . . his dad said that Tim's writing was really great and even non-cyclists are reading it.  After an hour of great conversation, we parted ways and I headed back to the hotel to do my three mile run.  I was suppose to have done this on Friday, but we hiked and hiked and I decided to run on the day Mike would be racing too.  I am ecstatic to say it took me three hours to finish my run. Okay, okay. It only took me the time it should have to do the three miles. However, I had run to the pier and stopped a few times to take some photos, then hung out at the pier area and visited more areas, shopped a bit and then walked back to the hotel, at which time three hours had passed.

One of the many lighthouses at the Duluth Pier area.
I ran both sides of the canal area---fascinating history on the building of the canal. Perhaps you'll visit one day, see the museum and the sign of how the canal was finished.  It is amazing. . . or if you ask, I could answer.

Not at Grandma's restaurant near the aerial bridge, but near the shopping area is the finish for Grandma's .   One runner/cyclist told me that it's hard as you're running the highway because you see the bridge every five miles or so as the road twists and turns, but you still have a ways to go to the finish.
Does this count as a Grandma's finish?
After the race, we went to the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe for the after party event.  This was an amazing place we went to and, sadly, we had walked by it many times and didn't realize what it was exactly. The name Cafe isn't quite right. They have a full bar and a couple of dining areas, plus art and a theater attached as well.

The photo isn't too good, as I didn't want to use my flash.  I asked for a burger with no bun as I eat gluten free and the waitress says, "we have gluten free buns" ooooh, okay, give me some of that goodness I haven't eaten for a while!  Then she says that the fries are gluten free too. Double YUM!  I hadn't seen anything but fries on the menu that would contaminate the oil, but I did ask as well.  Mike had a Guyere ased mac and cheese.  For dessert, we shared a gluten free/flourless chocolate cake and whipped cream. It was good, but we told the waitress, who agreed with us, that it needed raspberries to help cut the decadent chocolate cake. It actually reminded me of the America's Test Kitchen raspberry chocolate torte recipe, minus the raspberry and almonds. I highly recommend this place!
The amazing GLUTEN FREE dinner at Zeitgeist Arts Cafe
Mike suggested watching a sunrise over the lake.  I agreed and with one night/one morning left in the Up North country, we decided to get up at FIVE in the morning and drive north to Split Rock Lighthouse.  On our drive we could see red highlighting the morning sky through clouds and thought we might end up missing the sunrise.  We drove up and up and up and watched the car thermometer drop drop drop to 35º and the window instantly fog over as we neared one of the two road tunnels along the route.  Definitely reminded me of being out West in August.

We got to Split Rock area, paid the park fee and drove down to a picnic/hiking area to watch the sun welcome us to the new day.  It took a long time for the sun to finally gain the horizon, but once it did, it reminded us of how quickly the sun rises or sets over the ocean. A blink and then two of the eye and it seemed the sun had completely come above the horizon, making it hard to look at the lake.
Sunrise over Lake Superior at Split Rock lighthouse (which is to the very left of the trees in photo).
Split Rock Lighthouse is amazing. It has beautiful hiking paths around the base of the rocks/cliffs and a 171 step staircase from the lake to the lighthouse grounds where they use to bring in supplies. 

We drove around trying to find a place for breakfast early on a Sunday morning. . .  . driving Southy, we ended up  at the Rustic Cafe in Castle Danger, MN area near, Gooseberry Falls State Park. Mike was smitten with the piping hot Rhubarb Coffee Cake.  I had an amazing omelet and hashbrowns to his breakfast skillet.  Afterwards, we went north the few miles to Goosberry Falls State Park. This is a beautiful water fall area, multiple falls areas. Not so bursting with water this dry drought year/time of year. However, there was a photo in the gift shop of the raging waters and swollen ravine areas that came with the June freak floods. From the photo, one could not even see where the ravine would have plummeted for the falls!

Lastly. . . a selling point in the gift shop:
Really? Beavers have hands????
I had heard my friend from Soroptimist talk about her home area as "Up North". . . I didn't realize it was a term like the UP/upper pennisula of Michigan until being up in the are "Up North" area of Minnesota and seeing all the items with those two words. 

Beautiful area of America.

1 comment:

  1. You always find the best gluten free restaurant meals! Look like a great trip, glad you had fun.