Tall Ships

In Minnesota, summer isn’t summer without a trip north to Duluth’s gorgeous shores.  We made our trip to Duluth during one of the most whimsical weekends: the Tall Ships festival.

Ships from all over sail into harbor on the scenic Lake Superior.  We bought tickets in advance- as well as the most adorable little matching sailor outfits for the kids.

Marshall and Vi couldn’t get enough of the larger than life ships that towered over them.  We also watched as some other tall ships sailed around the bay.  Violet clapped and screamed enthusiastically as they glided through the water, Marshall was awestruck and announced he wanted to be a ship captain.

We paid the little extra to board the S.S. Niagara and it was definitely worth it!  Getting to see the beautiful craftsmanship brought a whole new level of appreciation for these beautiful ships.  The kids loved being able to see everything up close.

Brad lowering Vi onto the boat’s deck with Marshall

Looking out over the water

He’s ready to be put to work!

At the bow of the ship

Going below deck

Vi loved running around the crew’s living quarters

Ready to take naps in the bunks maybe?

It’s a low ceiling below deck, Brad had to fold in half to walk about

Once back on the deck of the ship, Marshall started loading cannons

The S.S. Niagara is from Pennsylvania, the crew was very accommodating with answering questions.  They live onboard the ship during the entire tour- even when docked.  The majority of the crew are unpaid interns, the work they do onboard gets them free room and board, after they hit apprentice level they start making a wage in addition to their room and board.

Once back on dry land we had to see this year’s special feature: the world’s largest rubber duckie!  This blew the kids away, they couldn’t believe a duckie could be so big.

The duck is 61 feet tall, takes about 3 hours to fully inflate, and is known as “mama duck”.  It’s next stops are in New York and Pennsylvania.

The ships and duckie weren’t the only attractions though.  That’s right, our little sailors had plenty of fans as well.  Whenever I stopped to take a picture of them, Brad would laugh as many more cameras and phones behind me were whipped out to try to get a picture of Marshall & Vi.  There were quite a bit of people who stopped us to ask for pictures too.

Some adoring fans as Papa Bear stands a close watch

All the excitement at the bay worked up an appetite so we headed to the place to eat in Duluth.  Recommended by my sister, we tried out the Duluth Grill and I’m now a firm fan.

The menu is all local, freshly made, and organic- with plenty of vegan and gluten free options as well.  And when I say fresh I mean it- they grow fruits and veggies all around the outside of the restaurant!

Brad and I opted for bison meat French dips with beet lemonade; I can’t say enough how delicious it was!  The kids’ orders came with a side of organic fruit; I appreciate that they bring the fruit out right away to occupy the littles ones while we waited for the main entrees.

They also have a “give a book, take a book” program. Which was perfect to pass the time while waiting for a table.

Before rushing back home for Brad to work that night, we made a quick stop at Little Neetchers.  Little Neetchers is a natural parenting store and I may or may not have picked up a few more cloth diapers.  When we travel, we try to hit up local mom and pop restaurants and stores- it’s so important to shop small and I find it helps you get the best feel for the area, something big corporations can’t provide.

Marshall and Vi slept the entire way back home.  But it’s Brad and I who dream of our return to Duluth for more priceless family memories to be made.


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