For most people up here in da freezin’ north, a vacation means going somewhere warm, like Florida or Hawaii and sitting on the beach. For the classic, die-hard Minnesotans it means going to the cabin and fishing, hunting, or just plain relaxing. For those with extra funds, a vacation is usually somewhere far away like Japan, Italy, or Dubai to experience new cultures.
For me, a vacation means leaving my house overnight and eating out as much as possible. The criteria being simple, and the budget being low, we ended up making a one-night trip to Duluth, MN for our first and last family vacation as just the three of us.
I will say we do travel quite a bit, taking trips to Scotland, North Dakota, and Chicago, but remember we are visiting family and friends on those trips. We aren’t staying in hotels or sight-seeing and while I LOVE those moments, I still wanted a tiny getaway with just my immediate family. (Well, minus sweet McKenna, she stayed with Grandma and Grandpa MN while we were gone.)
Our family vacation took a lot of bargaining with The Scottish and saving up of birthday money on my part but in the end it was absolutely lovely and totally worth it. We were able to watch The Wee One discover the world in new ways and in a new space and new city. We took a bunch of photos to remember it all but I also snapped a ton of mental images. I really tried to soak in every feeling and heart swell because A) I’m a huge sap, B) I’m hormonal and pregnant, and C) all too soon our life will change and The Wee One won’t be our only focus.
Aww, right? Well it’s not all sunshine and rainbows people, getting back to our trip, the morning we left town The Scottish and I decided it was a good time for a doozy of a fight. Why??? It was 100% a stupid reason for a disagreement and somehow it escalated to a ridiculous point. Luckily, we made up in plenty of time to get on the road for our 2 hour and 30 minute drive.
We arrived waaaay before check-in but I still had to ask, and yay, they had a room available. The Wee One LOVED our hotel room. He opened drawers and ran in and out of the bathroom, all while singing, shouting, and babbling. It was so stinking cute.
Our first stop was to grab lunch at a popular restaurant across the street. Let me point out now that every time it came to order a side for The Wee One’s meal, The Scottish wanted to get him french fries, “Because he’s on vacation too.” Thus, we all ate like crap for two days but I made sure to stuff The Wee One with fruit and veggie when I could.
After lunch we headed to the Duluth Children’s Museum. Interestingly enough I have not taken him to the one in the Twin Cities yet (but have plans to soon), but I saw it on a list of things to do in the area and it was a fun first experience for all three of us.
Towards the end of our visit we had the entire place to ourselves, which was SO NICE. And now I’m more convinced than ever that we need to get The Wee One a wooden train set for Christmas.
Next up, checking out the beauty that is Lake Superior. We only stopped for a few minutes before wandering the shops along Canal Park and getting me a hot chocolate and The Wee One a snack, because we knew we would head back the next day before leaving town. It was lovely and the weather was perfect.
After some fresh air we headed back to our hotel room for The Wee One’s afternoon nap. Argh. Naps in hotel rooms is by far the worst part of the trip! It’s hard to get the room dark enough and even harder for them to fall asleep with all the excitement of new surroundings. The Wee One cried for thirty minutes before falling asleep which honestly, isn’t that bad, but when compared to home where he fusses for thirty seconds, it felt like forever. During his nap The Scottish and I rested and made dinner reservations.
The Scottish was interested in the spinning restaurant he’d heard about and I had remembered going there as a kid so we looked it up to find JJ Astor, a restaurant at the top of a hotel where the floor moves ever so slightly so that your view of Duluth keeps changing. We had a blast. I even took a bump picture and drooled over The Scottish’s red wine. The Wee One was in his high chair for over an hour and he did wonderfully.
After dinner we hit the hotel pool! It was FREEZING but even I managed to get in and we had a lot of fun. After the pool we all stuck our feet into the hot tub and that was heavenly. No photos were taken at the pool, you’re welcome, but this is The Wee One getting ready.
Another perk of our vacation was a more relaxed schedule. See, even schedule people know how to let loose! After the pool we read stories and cuddled together on the couch and The Wee One went to bed an hour and a half past his bedtime after a busy and exhausting day.
After The Wee One fell asleep (it only took a few minutes this time) The Scottish and I huddled on the couch, eating candy, and playing Ticket to Ride on The Scottish’s phone.
Help, we can’t move or talk or we’ll wake the baby!
See that tiny wall by the couch? That was it for room separation. Maybe I should have been more clear on the phone but a true suite with a door would have cost more so we were fine to make do like that for one night.
It got boring being quiet with no TV to watch and hey, we’re parents, we could always use more sleep, so we hit the hay at 9:30 and didn’t regret it for a single second.
The next morning The Wee One slept in, yay! But I woke up before him, boo! We all enjoyed a delicious breakfast at our hotel, hit the hot tub once more, and then packed up to be out of our room by 11 AM. The Wee One was such a good helper with the cart!
A memory that will I always cherish is The Wee One watching cartoons on the big queen size bed in our room. He looked so small and precious. For some reason when I was a kid, I thought watching TV at a hotel was SO MUCH cooler than watching TV at home. It didn’t last long before The Wee One was off running again, but I snuck in some cuddles while I could.
After leaving the hotel we went for a long walk by the water. The Wee One had so much fun running along the pier and so many people commented on how cute he was. The air was crisp but still, we weren’t in a hurry, and The Wee One’s laughter was contagious. It was such a great moment.
After our beautiful walk, we hit up the mall (we love malls) for lunch and some shopping. Then we were on the road home! The Wee One napped on the car ride home and The Scottish and I searched for baby boy names, unsuccessfully I might add.
Next time we manage to get away (even 2.5 hours away) there will be two wee ones with us, wow! Thanks for a great vacation Duluth, it was just what we needed.