Swimming in Lake Superior

If you're from the area, you may not even remember your FIRST time in Lake Superior, because it may have been dipping your tootsies in as a toddler.  As you got older you had things to prove, so you jumped in to show your friends you could handle the cold.  Then, you may have realized that Lake Superior held so much more possibilities, fishing, boating, rowing and for some, even wind surfing.

Whether you're a local or a tourist, it's hard to think about Lake Superior without thinking about Park Point, which leads us to another memorable FIRSTS.

Visiting Park Point

Park Point, also known by life-long locals as Minnesota Point, has certainly morphed and grown over the years.  My early memory of "the Point", was the annual Smelt Fry Tent.  I didn't eat it, but my parents loved it.  As I grew older, we began to picnic on the point.  Then came the years of laying in the sun, trying to get a tan from the Northern MN sun, the two warm days out of the summer, lol.  Now the Point is a genuine recreation area with volleyball courts and soccer fields.  The beach house that once was closed, is now open during the summer, serving snacks and providing shade and rest rooms to beach goers.  On a hot summer's night, you can venture on to the beach and find couples surrounding a hand-built fire, enjoying the park until the last possible minute and then some.  (They close at 10p and people get kicked out if you stay longer, been there, done that)!

In order to get to Park Point, you have to venture over the popular tourist attraction known as "the bridge".

Crossing the lift bridge

We are lucky to have the Aerial Lift Bridge in the Northland.  There are only two like it, constructed in the United States.  There is much history about the bridge, long before I traveled across it, such as it was a "lift" bridge it's whole life.  It started out as a ferrying bridge and had two gondola-type devices that ferried people from side to side.  Learn more [here].

Years ago, they let people ride up and down on the sidewalk of the bridge.  Due to safety concerns, that stopped some time ago.  Now the only way to ride the bridge, is to be hired as one of the Bridge Operators.  What a unique and truly one-of-a-kind job that would be!

My memory of the bridge from when I was young and to this very day, is the hum of your tires as you cross over it.  That has never  changed in all these years.

It is truly historic and is listed in the Minnesota Historical Society.

riding the vista

This picture is the ACTUAL Vista I rode on as a child.  I think the first time I rode on the Vista fleet was on a field trip as a Wrenshall first grader.  It was never a beautiful sunny day, like that in the picture.  Instead, it was a cold, windy, rainy, foggy day that would keep us confined to the indoors of the Vista boat.  But, we didn't know any better and we were on a field trip!  After that, we would venture to what is now the Lake Superior Zoo and eat our brown bag lunch in the bus.  Nothing like stale chips, with a warm bologna and mayonnaise sandwich and Hydrox (not Oreo,mind you), Hydox cookies.  God bless, my mom!

driving on skyline parkway

There are a couple of different ways to view the beautiful Twin Ports.  One is from the water.  The City of Duluth sprawling on the hillside is a sight to see and one you don't realize exists until you're floating on Lake Superior.  The other way is driving along Skyline Parkway or Skyline Drive.  Here's an awesome 360 degree view from northernimages.com!

There are several "FIRSTS" you notice when you're on Skyline drive the FIRST time.  The green skip line, the fantastic view from several man-made vantage points along the Parkway, and the winding road that could make one car sick if you were sitting in the back seat of the car.  If you're really interested how Skyline Parkway and other historic roads in our area came to be, click [here], it will also give you details on Seven Bridges Road.

There are so many more FIRSTS in ones life in the Northland.  First time you skied Spirit Mountain, first time you walked with your sweetheart on the Lakewalk, or the first time you watched your first ship come through the canal.

What do YOU remember as a FIRST in the Northland?