Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Last Day in Duluth, Minnesota

Our final day at the bed and breakfast, we woke up to this. We could have stayed here forever just for the breakfasts.
              I barely made a dent in the food because I don't eat breakfast but it was so delicious.
The muffins were heavenly. We left for home around 9:30 am and vow that we will make this an annual vacation. Rocketman got the rest he desperately needed and also the opportunity to use his camera. I got the just "be" and sometimes it's just what the doctor ordered.
I also love to find shops carrying handmade gifts from the locals. Paper birches are all over the area so when I saw this picture frame,  I knew I had to have it.
                               The artist used river rock as the stand on the back of the frame.
I also found this wood carving of a tree.
As I was checking out, the clerk asked if I wanted information on the artist to which I responded, yes! I think this is just the coolest and now I know a little bit more about the piece.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Glensheen Estate in Duluth, Minnesota

The Glensheen Estate located on Lake Superior is a must see if you ever visit Duluth, Minnesota. It truly is a step back in time with all the original furnishings. The mansion was built by Chester Congdon with construction starting in 1905 and completing in 1908. The mansion was home to Chester, his wife and their seven children. It cost $854,000 dollars (21 million today). The Congdon's were one of the most influential families of their time.
The family donated the estate to the University of Minnesota with the stipulation that Elisabeth who was still living in the estate be allowed to live there until her death. Elisabeth's murder was one of the highest profile murder cases of it's day. Elisabeth never married but had adopted two girls. The second husband, Roger Caldwell, of Elisabeth's adopted daughter Marjorie entered the house early in the morning of June 27, 1977. He encountered Elisabeth's nurse, Velma Pietella, on the grand staircase and bludgeoned her with a candlestick. She fought valiantly but lost the battle.
He proceeded up to Elisabeth's room and smothered her with her own pillow. She too fought but had been weakened by a stroke. He was arrested along with Marjorie. He wrote a confession and pleaded guilty whereas Marjorie was acquitted of all charges. Roger was later released from prison and committed suicide in 1988. Marjorie, a true sociopath has been convicted of numerous arsons and is living in Arizona last I heard.
The Estate is open daily from 9:30 - 4:00 from mid-May to mid-October. I suggest that you get there as early as possible because the tours book up. We got there after lunch and had to wait an hour for the next tour. They also have an expanded tour which goes to the third floor where the boys bedrooms are but that wait was over 2 hours. The tours run every 20-30 minutes.
                                         This is the Carriage House and also where the gift shop is.
                                                            The Gardener's Cottage
                                          The Vegetable Garden which is still in use.
               Inside the Carriage House we found a bunch of carriages that were used by the family.

The tour consisted of a very knowledgeable guide and 20 of us. It has only been a few months since the Estate lifted the ban of pictures but there were still places where we were not allowed to take pictures, like the main staircase where Elisabeth's maid was murdered. We were told that this painting is one of the most expensive pieces in the house. They spared no expense furnishing the home. I just can't get my mind around having that kind of money.
 It truly was like stepping back in time. The University has gone to great lengths to keep it that way.

                                            Handstitched silk thread painting from Japan.


                                                                      Marjorie's room
                                                             Marjorie's sitting area
                                                                   Photo of Marjorie


            Clara, Chester's wife, did not like the look of radiators so she had these made to cover them.

                                                                   Intercom system
                                                                       Laundry Room
The front of the mansion. We had a wonderful time and I highly recommend it if you are ever in Duluth.

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