A Perfect Duluth Evening

Boaters and landlubbers alike gather on the shores of Lake Superior for a “Concert on the Pier.” In the far background, you can see sailboats doing their Wednesday night races.

A historic mansion on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, offers free concerts on Wednesday evenings during summer. Local musicians play on a pier that juts out into the lake as hundreds of listeners lounge on blankets on the Glensheen Mansion grounds and the rocky shoreline. Boaters take advantage of the concerts as well, anchoring just off the pier. I should explain that all manner of watercraft people show up to listen: paddleboarders, kayakers, canoers, sailors, inner tubers.

I had never been to one of these concerts before. It was the last of the season, the weather was warm and calm, and some of my favorite musicians were playing – Jacob Mahon and Teague Alexy – in Teague’s “Common Thread” band. So, Russ and I grabbed our folding chairs and headed to the shore.

Since these events are so well-attended, parking space is at a premium. We parked in a neighborhood about a quarter mile away and walked onto the mansion grounds. We got there about an hour early so we would have a chance to sit in a good location.

The view from our concert spot on the beach. That’s the moon rising.

The best spots with direct views of the pier were already filled with picnickers. We noticed a small rocky hill on the beach behind the pier and decided to head there. We soon discovered that getting to the hill required fording the end of a creek (Tischer Creek) that runs through the property into the lake. Luckily, water levels were low enough that this was a simple task, requiring only a few steps on some well-placed rocks.

We planted our chairs to stake our claim and then headed out to investigate the food trucks, ice cream stand, and adult beverage purveyors on the grounds. We had just enough time to obtain some treats and return when the music began.

Teague’s songs have been described as “an inviting style of laid-back roots music” with a few Irish ditties sprinkled here and there. It was perfect for listening as the sun set in pinks and periwinkle blues over the lake.

More boats arrived until a minor flotilla floated in front of the pier. The boaters had the best seats!

Neighbors greeted neighbors. Former soccer moms reunited. Children continued their never-ending, generations-long quest to fill up Lake Superior with rocks.

A moonlit path on Lake Superior

Soon, an almost-Harvest-Moon rose, its light trailing a glowing path on the water. The disappearing sun had taken its warmth along with it. Although we wore jackets, a chill from the lake began seeping through. We stayed until we became too uncomfortable, leaving a few songs before the concert’s end.

As we walked back to our car serenaded by the band, the Lake Superior cold in our limbs was offset by warmth toward our community for providing this perfect way to spend a Duluth evening. Glensheen’s Concerts on the Pier are a unique experience. So glad we got our butts down to the shore to enjoy one.

Something Pumpkin-y This Way Comes

A river of jack-o-lanterns on the grounds of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN.

A river of jack-o-lanterns on the grounds of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN.

Dozens of volunteers carve what must be hundreds of pumpkins that decorate the grounds of a local mansion on the shores of Lake Superior that is open for public tours. I checked it out last night and brought my camera along. Happy Halloween!

Glensheen Mansion.

Glensheen Mansion.

 

An eerie blue light illuminates the room where the murder of the last owner occurred in the mansion.

An eerie blue light illuminates the room where the murder occurred of the last owner of the mansion.

 

I don't think this was part of the  tour, but I thought it was spooky: looking into a tunnel that runs under the road. Who is the bench for?

I don’t think this was part of the tour, but I thought it was spooky: looking into a tunnel that runs under the road. Who is that bench for?

Ghosts making s'mores.

Ghosts making s’mores.