Glensheen Mansion: A Mama’s Review

We're thrilled to have partnered with the Glensheen Mansion for this review. This is truly one of our favorite local spots and we highly recommend heading out for a fun family day soon!

Glensheen Mansion: A Mama's Review | Duluth Moms Blog

Glensheen Mansion is a historic part of our city. We drive by it daily on our commute to preschool and some of our favorite memories include running around its grounds for their legendary Music on the Pier. As a wedding photographer, I have the beautiful opportunity of photographing some of my favorite events among their private rocky shoreline on the edge of its regal like gardens and towering elegance. Its chalked full of whimsy, a bit of romanticism and bursting with history.

Glensheen Mansion: A Mama's Review | Duluth Moms Blog

I had the opportunity to take my little girl on a Sunday date for a self-guided tour. It happened to be on the coldest day of December, which provided for the added attraction of sea smoke and extra appreciation for the free hot chocolate. We started our tour in the old stable and new gift shop, where we were greeted by that hot chocolate station my four-year-old adored and a guide showing us the way. We took part in the classic self guided tour, which means they sent us on our merry way up to the front doors of the old mansion. We were given instructions by a fancy front door butler on what not to touch and where to go next.

Glensheen Mansion: A Mama's Review | Duluth Moms Blog

I highly recommend this non-paced tour when going with your crew of littles. We were able to take time in the rooms that really interested Audrey, and she was able to ask four-year-old questions without holding up a whole group. We could just hold hands and walk through the rooms ,pretending what it would be like to live in such a place. There was mention of princesses, kings, queens and horses, and I wasn’t going to squelch the imagination the home brought to light. So though our historic representation of the home wasn’t spot on, the magic of it all was alive and well. Someday she’ll appreciate the history of the Congdons and I’m sure it will interest her just as much, but for now she imagined Cinderella walking about hallways like these.

Glensheen Mansion: A Mama's Review | Duluth Moms Blog

My 7 tips for touring Glensheen with Children:

  1. For Children under 8, I suggest the self-guided Glensheen Mansion. Go at your own pace, ask silly questions, pretend you are a princess.
  2. Go on a warm day or layer up. The grounds are a must see and one of my favorites aspects of the home. You don’t want the cold to make you miss out.
  3. Don’t miss the breakfast room. It is just stunning.
  4. Bring your camera, just remember no flash.  
  5. Have a man to man ratio on small children. Ideally, I’d say this tour is for kiddos 4+.
  6. Research when the sunset will be the day you’re heading over and plan your tour 1.5 hours before. The sunset on that private shoreline is epic.
  7. Winter break is upon us. Add this to your school is out bucket list and plan some high tea and “pinkies up” picnic for your living room floor upon returning home. You will feel all fancy and inspired after leaving your tour.

***BONUS TIP:  Don’t forget to check out Concerts on the Pier come July. It used to be the best kept secret in all of Duluth, but the word is out now and for good reason. Think free family music on the pier of a grand old Congdon mansion, food vendors, wine and beer for sale and free grounds tours. It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved.

Glensheen Mansion: A Mama's Review | Duluth Moms Blog

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Anna McParlan
Anna was born + raised along the shores of Lake Superior. The water and the dear family and friends that call Duluth home are the magnet that keep her and her growing family adoring this place. Anna married her high school crush and together they are raising two darling compassionate adventurers with a love of fresh air and grace. Anna loves all things that shout of beauty, hope, truth, and pointing people towards joy. Her love for writing started in kindergarten where she would come home with long stapled together novels- recently found in her Moms chest of saved childhood projects. That passion for stringing together words would only bloom in the many years to come. When Her Dad battled brain cancer for 17 years, writing became her safe place to wrestle with both joy and pain as well as a place to search for beauty. Today you can find Anna running wild in the things that bring her joy. Falling more in love with her tall sweetheart of a husband. Doing her best to raise kids who chase after truth, love a good hike, and give away kindness. Gathering friends old and new in their home to share good food, hearts, and life. Filling out adoption paperwork to bring home their third (and maybe 4th!) babe from Uganda home. Chasing sunsets with her minis + capturing couples promising their forevers as a wedding photographer at Along An Inland Sea Photography. She shares about heaven breaking into the everyday mundane on Instagram where she likes to mini blog and post about those darling babes of hers-- pop over and say hello to her on Instagram


  1. My grandparents lived in Duluth and we visited at least once a year. I made a trip to Glensheen an obligatory stop with each visit. I remember as a little girl completely losing myself to my imagination while visiting the mansion’s rooms. I agree: a self-guided tour at your own pace is the way to go with the little ones. Thank you for the nostalgic visit through your post!

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