Our North Shore camping trip was with our largest group yet (19!), and included Elizabeth’s dad’s whole family! “Grandpa Jerry” had his sister, her whole family, plus all his kids and grandkids (-1, Julia, who opted for a week in Florida. Teenagers?!).
No need for s’mores
We were especially happy the Illinois clan made the trek, since for their meal, they brought (get this) Portillo’s Italian Beefs, sides and the most amazing chocolate cake you have ever eaten. Proof: No one had s’mores when that cake was around! And also the people were a lot of fun, ha:
Hiking on the rocks, exploring Gooseberry, touring the Duluth harbor by foot and by boat, making meals, and especially around the campfire, we all realized that campfires together forge great bonds. Thanks for all the laughs and memories, fam. Some of my favorite images of our precious time together…
Back at the campfire, we really raised the bar with the annual talent show. Poetry, songs, magic, comedy and of course the girls’ theatre production…
Hats off, Davey, you organized another awesome reunion camping trip. Love you all.
If you could have lived in another era, when would it be? Me, I’d be in Boston, 1770s. Second place: Minnesota, early 1900s. So of course I savor Glensheen Mansion: every brick, window pane, light fixture and step (including the blood-stained ones!). Clara Congdon, the first lady of the home, fascinates me.
During our family camping trip to the North Shore, Cara and I had the opportunity to visit again, this time with sis-in-law Amy and niece Allie, who hadn’t been there before. I saw it through her fresh eyes.
As Allie said as we waited for our tour to begin: “I like history. And murder.” I had started reading, “Will to Murder,” the most recent book about the 1977 murders at Glensheen on the drive up north, so our Cara had some sneak peeks at specific spots in the Mansion for Allie. And the book made me think of the mansion in new ways with its attention to details. We were ready!
Every inch of this amazing place is worth a photo. Most of all, it all feels so…. real. Because it is. The Christmas cactus in the breakfast room was Clara Congdon’s and still grows today! Chester Congdon’s top hat is still on its shelf in his closet!
Yet as always at historical spots, it is the lamps and lights that most intrigue me. They illuminate what life was like …
Yes, those blood stains are still on the window seat/landing area on the main steps to the second floor. No, I did not take a picture. That seemed unseemly. We all saw the dark marks, even though the tour guides won’t talk about the murders…until after the tour, and then only in answer to questions. Fair enough.
More beautiful light fixtures in the bedrooms upstairs:
Shadows on these lights
Inside the bedroom where Elisabeth was when she was murdered, the lights are hauntingly beautiful.
On to brighter rooms!
My favorite Glensheen room is still the Breakfast room. Clara designed the entire home with her classy ingenuity, and it’s most evident here. The oak motif in the windows and fixtures. The incredible tiles and color scheme.
The dining room also has her clever touch, with the button under the table to discreetly summon the butler during dinner. And the massive chandelier, which maids had to hand-polish (tedious, but so dramatically pretty in this room). Love you, Clara!
The distinctive billiards room, with lights on a pulley system that could be raised to improve the illumination of a certain shot on the table. Some say it was Chester’s idea. I know it was Clara: the longer she could keep the men entertained downstairs, the more time she had for finer arts (she was a gifted painter herself!) and entertaining the ladies upstairs.
Thanks for another visit to your home, Clara. You inspire me to live with serene grace, class and to shed illumination whenever I can.
We’ve camped at spots with golf courses, mini-golf, pools, rivers, tubing, boating, kayaking, waterslides, horses, wagon rides, theatre, live music and, yes, pet shows.
But our most Superior campground amenity (so far): the biggest, deepest, coldest, most dangerous of the Great Lakes. Lake Superior!
It was literally our back yard for 5 glorious days of our annual Kind family camping trip. Bonus: We had a bigger, deeper, warmer and more fun group than ever, when the Day clan from Illinois (some via South Africa) joined us!
More posts later on our other North Shore adventures, but for now, some images of this Superior amenity.
Our last night there, as the campfire turned to coals and everyone tucked in, Greg and I took a hike to the point under the Super Moon. It was a little scary (okay, a lot), but so beautiful. Thanks, Lake Superior, for amazing memories…