Mower County Senior Travel: Duluth called and we went

Published 8:59 am Sunday, October 22, 2017

“All Aboard” and the long sharp whistle  was our call to board the old  no. 28 train, with the steam engine there to pull us. Riding the North Shore Scenic Railroad along Superior we enjoyed the view, sharing train stories with the conductor.

With several lighthouses in our view, we ended our ride at Two Harbors and the Split Rock Lighthouse, just north of Duluth.

Old no. 28 is now 111 years old. Sitting idle for over a half a century, it  was brought back with the help of many donors. She is now put back to work and makes the National Train Museum her home. She is a survivor of the steam era on the railroads that changed America.

Email newsletter signup

The Train Museum has an extensive collection of rail history and the big part it played in the Duluth area.

As we boarded the Vista Queen for a boat cruise, we got our first glimpse of the Aerial Bridge. The story starts to weave together about this city with the importance of not only the railway, but also the large ships that would be used along with the transportation system.

The captain of the ship narrated the story, as we passed by some of the elegant historic homes.

The Congdon Mansion was the home built for Englishman Chester and Clara Congdon and their family of six children. Set on 22  acres of prime lake property, it cost $750,000 to build. (Now, a value of $22 million).  Modeled after English country estates, the 39-room house has mostly all original items left by the Congdons as it was donated to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Each room was decorated in the finest furnishings, along with each of the six children having their own bedroom and bathroom. It is kept in a very fine   condition. Many of the docents are university students.

The wealth of the Congdons during those years came from his involvement  purchasing iron ore on the Mesabi Range and  sending it off to the US Steel Co.  He also was involved in the copper business.

Our motor coach guide was just a wealth of information, and painted a bright picture of what Duluth is about and its future — a truly lovely city.  Our trip ended at  a rose garden built over the highway.  The flowers —6,000 of them —  still showed their true colors.

Duluth also is a great site during the fall leafing time. More to come but the color was indeed radiant.

Wisconsin Dells

Our second October trip took us to the Wisconsin Dells. No, we didn’t ride the duck boats or take advantage of their water sides. Our day was spent at the newly reopened Palace Theater, where we saw “Joey and Gina’s Italino Wedding.”  It was an afternoon of  fun and food.  We enjoyed it all.

Coming up

The next trip will be Thursday, Nov. 2, to Friday, Nov. 3  to the Fireside Theater for  opening night of “Miracle of Christmas” This trip will depart at 8 a.m.