Tuesday, December 06, 2016


Amy treated us with a visit to Glensheen which is a historic mansion in Duluth.  Admission is $15-$26 depending on which tour you're going to take but with her military ID, she can bring up to 5 family members free of charge.  We're fond of saying, "If it's free, it's me!"  We were there at 0845 waiting in line for the gate to open and it's a good thing too because it was busy.  The mansion is currently decorated for their very popular Christmas tours.  Only Minnesotans would wait outside in cold weather with snow actively falling!  I noticed some nice hand knits this day too!  ;)
Even the stables are decorated!  And they go all out.  Beautiful fresh greenery and garlands everywhere and lights hung on practically anything that didn't move.
The house was completed in 1908 so if you like Titanic or Downton Abbey, this is the perfect time period for you.  I loved all this white tile throughout the servant areas of the house.  This tree was in the carriage house where you enter the grounds to start your tour.
The grounds are rather extensive with a man-made babbling brook and trails/tunnels.  Much of the trails are not open to the public but I watched a special on TpT and there was talk of interest in opening them.
Of course the upstairs rooms were beautiful but much of the first floor formal rooms were quite dark and flash photography was not allowed.  This is the grand staircase with stained glass windows. 
This is the view from those windows.  That water you see is Lake Superior.  Talk about your lakefront property!
This is Mrs. Congdon's bedroom upstairs and was so bright and beautifully blue. 
She had a lovely view of the lake out her bedroom window.
As we approach her writing desk, what do we have here?
Why it is a bead crocheted reticule!  I might have to try and steal this design for my fair project next summer!  All the furniture in the house is original and was custom made in Minnesota.  You see all sorts of Arts and Crafts period furniture and Art Nouveau stained glass and lamps.  Gorgeous.
Sewing room.  Mine is much messier.
I think this was a larder off the kitchen.  I love rooms like this.  Just look at all that storage!
Of course I loved the kitchen but I was a tad disappointed.  It had been the most renovated room in the house because of course the house was occupied up to the late 1970's so there was a modern electric oven and refrigerator.  My favorite part of stately homes in England is always the old kitchens and implements.
Storage room for all the dishes and china.  Who needs a hutch when you have an entire room?
This is the glorious breakfast room or Green Room off the kitchen.  Just look at the view out those beautiful windows.  What a great place to read or knit!
This was a downstairs storage room.  Again note all that "below stairs" white tile.
Laundry room with a ginormous mangle and clothes horse.
There were 25 Christmas trees throughout the house, even one in the boiler room!
We had almost as much fun outside as we did inside.  The grounds and trails had these lights set up and it had snowed all day while we were there.  It was a perfect Minnesota day though because it really wasn't too cold, the snow was heavy "snowball" snow so it didn't blow around and just coated everything so beautifully.  I really liked this picture I snapped of my niece.
Here is my brother's family halfway down the trail that leads to the shore.
Can you see the ship on the horizon?
The self guided tour was set up so cleverly.  You exited the house via the laundry room and before you did, there was an urn of hot water and packets of cocoa mix and jars of marshmallows and candy canes.  While you traipse around the paths to the bridge and the shore, you have a wonderfully hot cup of cocoa to carry with you, and then you're met by a fragrant fire pit complete with sticks and the makings for s'mores!  The snow was falling, you can see your breath, you have the world's most appropriate beverage and snack, and everyone is bundled up in winter coats and lovely hand knits...I've never felt more like I was in a Currier and Ives print!
Photo-op before we left the grounds.  They also had a Christmas village set up in the front lawn of pine huts selling crafts, coffee, breads, sausages, fresh greenery and garlands, etc.  
What a great morning activity.  And again I'm glad we got there first thing because it was hopping when we left.  Cars lined the streets for blocks as we drove away.  I'd recommend this to anyone visiting Duluth!
And speaking of road trips, my sister took her family to Canada to visit a family friend and they brought me back this Kinder advent calender!  I think the prize on the 25th is a full size Kinder Surprise Egg.  This is quite possibly the best gift I've ever been given!  It's right up there with the Red Ryder carbine bb gun as far as epic presents!  Thank you Lisa and kids!

Pine Cone Feeders

Dave and I drove up to Duluth this weekend to visit my brother's family.  My brother is deployed to Uganda for another 6 months or so and this was our first visit to their new home up north.  They're currently living in a town home while they wait to build a house on the land they've purchased.
They've been clearing their land slowly and so far have put a driveway in.  Amy and the girls drove us out there to show us and I'd brought large pine cones from our neighborhood trees, some expired peanut butter packs we had and wild birdseed.
No these were not going to be high fiber/high roughage snacks for us but rather suet treats for the birds and critters out there. 
When I was a kid, rangers from the Lime Creek Nature Center would come to our school every year and we'd make bird feeders out of 2 liter bottles and they always told us about these but we never actually made them.  I fulfilled a lifelong dream to finally make these and finally had a niece around to do it with!

Come and get it!