Wednesday, September 08, 2010

From Duluth With Love

With five days of zero work responsibilities and just school to worry about, a refreshing trip to the trailer cabin and North Shore were in order. If someone were from out-of-state and had a few days to putter around our flyover state, I would suggest heading straight up north for the North Shore. Rich in history, the edges of Lake Superior not only offer up gorgeous views but antique shopping and a hidden gem for micro-brew lovers.

We weren’t able to head further up north than Duluth but our friends managed a day at Gooseberry Falls with its over 100 foot drop that blows the Minnehaha Falls out of the water with its surrounding forest views.

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For the beer drinkers, Fitger’s Brewhouse (and 4-star hotel) is a must. My suggestion is to try a flight of samplers, and request the Hercules if it’s available. You most likely cannot get a growler of the Herc, but the El Nino Double Hopped IPA or Big Boat Oatmeal Stout will tame your tongue once you return from these lumberjack-esque lands.

We’re working our way from the top down so as you enter Duluth with its taconite loading docks for ships heading out onto Lake Superior be sure to bring an appetite and some cash for shopping. Little niche shops of handcrafted items, touristy Nordic wear, and antiques are spread out along Canal Street. My family and I checked out the tour of a perma-docked ship the S.S. William A. Irvin. Our guide with a group of 20 had a little lack of volume control but was an encyclopedia ship knowledge after spending 30 plus years virtually living on ships like this one. He easily guided us through the captain’s quarters, explained how the crew managed to sleep ten feet from the engine room, and how his girlfriend saved his job as a porter from a fire-happy Chef (she’s the daughter of the ship’s owner). For just $11.50 a piece (kids free!) we got to see an IMAX movie (Dinosaurs, was decent for its archeological perspective) and go on this guided boat tour.

After checking out the pier with huge freighter full of taconite pellets going out, it was time for Grandma’s and its famous cheap pitchers of booze. Back in the day when my legs cooperated and a young volleyball player was able to jump high enough to hit the tip of the end poles, we would meander over to Grandma’s at the end of Minnesota’s biggest volleyball tournament and enjoy $3 pitchers of Kami’s and Long Island Iced Teas. Today they cost $5, still a bargain as they have added live bands and better food to the mix while their staple Bonottas still rule the menu.

After the long day it was time to head back to the Cities for life back on the grid as I started to take in the poker news I’ve been missing like Durrrr vs. jungleman12’s (check here for the scoop from Dr. Pauly's post at Full Tilt’s Poker From the Rail blog) new staple of degeneracy as another Durrrr challenge takes off as Dwan’s first challenge against Antonius winds down (finally).

And of course, yours truly was taking in the news from the WCOOP, which I’ll be on the team for my third year of coverage. First assignment is tomorrow afternoon’s Event #13 PLO8 6-Max One Rebuy, One Add-on with a $200,000 guarantee. And that will dribble into Friday’s Event #16 Pot Limit Omaha 6-Max. Hmmmm, it seems I have the degen tourneys maybe I should have snagged a couple more of Fitger’s growlers to bring home.

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