Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Duluth is for Lovers

Leaving your baby for a night is often a welcome relief. You plop him in your mom's lap, or your wife's mom's lap and you run for the door.

But you leave knowing that, in less than 24 hours, you'll be home. That said, if you're going to be gone longer than 24 hours, the situation changes — drastically. 

Suddenly a new set of worries creeps in, accompanied by the inevitable sense of guilt. What could be so important that you'd leave your beautiful baby? How selfish are you? Don't you love your child?

Such were the recriminations we were confronted with recently when Mrs. Blackwell and I took a six-hour drive north for three days in Duluth Minnesota for a friend's wedding. Leaving the house was difficult but, as it turns out, entirely necessary. 

Once you get a few miles down the road, home and all its responsibilities begin to fade into the rearview. In front, your destination grows larger and with it the exhilarating sense of anticipation that accompanies only the most exciting of journeys. (To recap, I am still talking about a trip to Duluth.)

Which brings me to my point. Only a married couple who hasn't been on vacation in four years, and now has a one-year old child could possibly view Duluth with such romantic eyes. 

The wife and I with one of Duluth's many romantic
freighters in the background. 
For while it has many attributes, Duluth is no vacation hotspot. Romance doesn't fill the air. You will find no salsa dancing bars, no hip enclaves where you need to know the doorman to gain entrance and no spots that serve as magnets to honeymooners. 

Nossir. This is Duluth. So, what you will find is one tough damn town sitting on the banks of one damn big, freezing-cold lake. And you'll hear the horns of 1,000-foot long freighters bellowing through the hills as they leave port. You'll see the vastness of Lake Superior and smell the scent of burning cigarettes because, if you live in Duluth, why not smoke?

But, a couple Saturdays ago, you'd have also found a man, his wife and a few good friends, standing high on a hill in one of Duluth's shadiest neighborhoods overlooking the wide industrial stretches of the city, while drinking cheap Minnesota beer and having the time of their lives.  

And so it is. Mrs. Blackwell and I have unwittingly adjusted our standards. Our first vacation was to Aruba and we've since travelled on shorter trips. And while I'm sure we've got a few more big vacations left in us, for now, Duluth — it turns out — will due. 

No comments: