Okay, I get it. You’ve barely finished digging yourself out from this latest round of early December snow and here I am telling you why you should love Duluth’s seemingly relentless winters. It may feel impossible while your entire body hurts from shoveling or pushing a snow blower, but I know that, deep down, thriving in a Northland winter brings you a certain amount of pride you can’t get from anything else. (A decade of Duluth winters has taught me that, at least!)
Here are ten reasons to make your peace with winter and get the most out of the season. Remember, it’s only just begun!
I know I’m not the only person who insists on sleeping under a sheet or a blanket all year round. Even if it’s an 80-degree August evening, something still has to be covering my legs while I sleep. A season-long streak of Northland negative temps is a free pass to bury under ALL THE BLANKETS. Emerging in spring is optional.
I have lived outside of Duluth for many-a-winter-season, and let me tell you: thick-as-bread-loaves Carhart mittens are not seen as stylish accessories in other cities. Duluth is unique in that our winter uniforms of knee-length down coats, Joan of Arctic Sorels, and oversized sunglasses (to keep out the sun’s glare that’s bouncing off the snow) serve as both function and fashion. You may not know who’s actually buried under that winter gear as you pass her by, but you know she’s one of us!
3 Duluth Winter Village
Northlanders will take every opportunity to participate in community events, but do we plan them for indoor spaces in December? Pffft, no! We bundle up and head to the Duluth Winter Village hosted on the grounds of the always fab Glensheen Mansion. Next weekend marks the 4th annual Duluth Winter Village where local vendors sell their goods out of tiny, festive wooden cabins and your kids can pet llamas and roast marshmallows on the shores of Lake Superior. Why Hallmark hasn’t filmed every one of their holiday movies here is beyond me.
4 Winter Sports
Raise your hand if you do one or more of the following in the winter: snowshoe, downhill ski, cross-country ski, snowmobile, curl, play ice hockey, figure skate, sled, snowboard. In 2018, Minnesota sent 22 athletes to the Olympic games. Seven of them live in Duluth or played on Duluth teams. I think we know our way around winter sports.
5 Bragging Rights
People outside of Northern Minnesota have no idea what they’re missing. They think we’re a tad bit unhinged for settling down in the coldest pocket of the US. Maybe they’re right, but there’s a lot to brag about when you know you’re able to thrive in a climate that, for all intents and purposes, is trying its hardest to kill you with cold for five to six months out of the year.
6 Outdoor Serenity
Have you ever walked your dog in Hartley the morning after an overnight snow? Staring up through the fresh powder-covered pine branches into the swirling grey sky, you feel like the only person left in the world. The creak of the snow as it settles and the puffs of air you expel as you breathe are a reminder of how majestic this land can truly be.
A time-honored Northland tradition, Bentleyville has been delighting families for years. It kicks off the holiday season, and the magic of seeing Bayfront transformed into a glittering winter wonderland is enough to warm the heart of any Scrooge. (Sure, parking can be a nightmare, so make sure to use our Bentleyville guide to get the most out of your experience.) Plus, what Northlander child doesn’t own at least half a dozen knit hats from their visit to the B-ville Santa?
8 Appreciation of the Warm Days
When you’re buried under snow for half a year, you learn something in a hurry: the balmy, breezy July days are like little glittering jewels; you clutch them to your chest with an unparalleled kind of pleasure. Northlanders know how to take advantage of the good weather when it visits; we plan block parties, jump off of docks into frigid water, dine al fresco, and bask in the warmth of the sweet sunshine, appreciating its presence with all our hearts.
9 White Christmas
There may only be a handful of years I can remember having a green (or, more truly, brown) Christmas in Duluth. Often, there is plenty of snow–the kind The Greats all sing about. Bing Crosby must have been thinking about Duluth when he sung of treetops glistening and children listening to hear sleigh bells in the snow.
10 Patience and Acceptance
Above all, winter makes Northlanders who we are: patient, hardy people who know the importance of kindness. We are good neighbors to one another, our kids know how to play outside in all types of weather, and we respect this little hill on a great lake. It’s always throwing something new at us, but we know how to find the beauty in it all the same.