First Vacation - In a Long Time

It's not 100% true that we have not gotten away in the last year. We were able to make a couple of trips up to the family cabin, thank goodness. But we had not gotten really *away* during the pandemic until now, when we had a long weekend in Duluth/the North Shore.

To be honest, when we left, I was worried. So much of my self-identity, over the years, has come from the arts — and from travel. Neither of them have been possible for so long that they are hard to imagine, and I found myself really wondering "Are these things still core to me? Or are they no longer who I am? Have I changed into someone who hunkers down cozily in at home and does not go out to do things anymore? Is this a big life switch?" 

That feeling was exacerbated when I closed the door behind me to head out to the car, and Brutus, for the first time, stood on his hind legs to scratch at the door and cried. I felt terrible. Maybe I really have changed.

But when we got there — maybe even as soon as we stopped at Tobie's on the way up — I realized that travel was still essential.

And when we arrived at the house we were staying at and headed out to the beach, even more so.

It was a magic long weekend. 

We got to see an old friend who is very dear to me, and eat with her (I promise in a safe manner!), and go on a walk along the beach with another lovely friend who I never get alone time with.

We made glass flowers, and went dogsledding (more on both of those later).

We went on beach walks, and unsuccessfully searched for the Northern Lights (here's my own DIY version of them, taken from "our" beach at night looking toward town.)

Isn't that more interesting that the real view?

We explored Lincoln Park (what a great area!) an went antique and thrift store shopping.

We ate delicious food from Sir Benedict's (love their sandwiches) and Corktown Deli and OMC Smokehouse and Fitger's and Betty's Pies and some dive bar and the Mocha Moose and Sara's Table.

We had delicious cocktails at Vikre's Wunderbar (though the wind was brutal).

We had reserved a fire pit at Wild State Cider, but it was still too windy, so had a flight and soft serve instead. 

They may have had a special and we may have bought a few cans.

We *finally* got to Castle Danger Brewery. And Patrick and I got a mini date night (while Beatrix stayed at home to watch the glorious sunset and talk to friends), and got to go to Ursa Minor, where we developed a great love for their beer.

We have not had a lot of date nights in the last year.

We read and sauna'd and watched a home improvement show on cable and generally had time away. I answered few client calls (and there was no wifi), and it was perfect. I could have stayed for weeks more.

So I guess I answered that question. 

I don't know when travel, as I knew it before, will be possible again. And I don't know how I'll cut through all the hassles of doing it. But for now, I have the one perfect weekend. And that has made all the difference in the world.


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