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.
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.
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.
My 7 tips for touring Glensheen with Children:
- For Children under 8, I suggest the self-guided Glensheen Mansion. Go at your own pace, ask silly questions, pretend you are a princess.
- 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.
- Don’t miss the breakfast room. It is just stunning.
- Bring your camera, just remember no flash.
- Have a man to man ratio on small children. Ideally, I’d say this tour is for kiddos 4+.
- 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.
- 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.