29 Observations on 10 Months Back in Duluth

Disclaimer for the joyless: this is all meant in good fun

1. So many things that seemed big when I was growing up seem small now, though this is hardly a point of concern.

2. Even in a year with a mediocre winter, Duluth winters are still fun. Springs, on the other hand…

3. Main Street hits dangerously close to home.

4. This Perfect Duluth Day poster diagnosed the city’s dating categories with remarkable accuracy.

5. But seriously, can I get a do-over on romantic high school escapes? Because this city has so many of them, it’s remarkable. What a waste not to take advantage of them.

6. Every stereotype you have of Iron Rangers is probably accurate.

7. The perverse pride I take in not owning jeans or flannel grows by the hour.

8. And yet, even if I’m overdressed and spend most of my life on some different intellectual plane, how can I resist diving into a dive bar without any irony?

9. Other than the people and Liquor Lyle’s, there is very little I miss about Minneapolis.

10. Basically everything inland from the shore is a swamp. Seriously, try developing anything beyond the ridge without finding a wetland.

11. Forget the moaning about the springtime fog: the lake is a net plus for weather most of the year, and you can’t beat the view.

12. There is an inverse relationship between the amount of time I spend in Hermantown and my happiness. (Okay, maybe I’m just bitter about the flat tire I got there last weekend, and bored by lopsided hockey. Still, I’m amused when I encounter its residents trying to describe their exurban abodes as being parts of neighborhoods.)

13. Flying out of an airport with a five-person security line is worth more than a few extra pennies.

14. When growing up, I used to make fun of the fact that there was a local TV show called “This Week in Mining.” I realized I was in too deep when I started thinking that show sounded interesting.

15. It is sort of heartwarming to see some of the same old people I remember complaining about Duluth politics in my childhood continue to complain about Duluth politics in front of elected bodies so many years later.

16. Sort of.

17. Duluth may have some good city council and school board and hockey coach drama from time to time, but it’s got nothing on Cloquet.

18. Most stark portrait of working class America: Chestnut Street, Virginia.

19. I have a lot of work to do.

20. Best makeover: Lincoln Park.

21. Serious credit to Superior for its recent efforts to revitalize its downtown, though with Sunday liquor sales now starting up in Minnesota…well, it had a good run.

22. Even after many months of running down nearly every street on the east side amid half marathon prep, there are still fun little corners I stumble upon that I didn’t realize existed.

23. The architecture, even in states of faded grandeur, aspires to something that I’m willing to pay a bit more money for.

24. That warmth that comes with East reunions doesn’t fade.

25. I continue to fail in my quest to find anything meaningful to say about Proctor.

26. So many in this area are drawn to cabin life, but I struggle to see myself going that direction: how can I commit to life on one lake when there are so many to explore?

27. Summer may not be an actual Thing in Grand Marais.

28. Subarus are a gift from God.

29. It is hard to find time to write blog posts that go beyond silly listicles when working full time and trying to be athletic and maintaining a decent social life unless one is spurred by travel, sporting events, or regularly scheduled material. (Good news: I’m going off the grid tomorrow through Wednesday. With any luck, inspiration will follow.)


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