Poor Matt had to spend his December weekdays in Duluth for a rotation, away from his home, his dogs, and his Christmas tree. We made the most of our weekends together and had a lovely Christmas, but we made the decision early on that I would accompany him back to Duluth for my break between Christmas and New Years.
Well, turns out that Duluth, and Matt's temporary digs, were more of a vacation for me than I could have imagined! They have Matt at this apartment complex with fancy amenities and the added bonus of getting to turn up the heat in the apartment without having to pay the bill. While Matt spent his days doing surgeries in an OR with windows facing Lake Superior, I enjoyed the gym, massage chair, and rainfall showerhead... Plus some antiquing and shopping around town :) It was heavenly!
And when Matt came home from work, we went adventuring. Hot tubbing & movie nights, Bentleyville & Glensheen Mansion- All as it snowed on and off and we drank hot chocolate and wore layers upon layers.
On the night after Christmas, we pulled into an ice covered parking lot on the shore of Lake Superior for the last night of Bentleyville. Every year, Duluth covers Bayfront Festival Park with light displays and invites everyone to come enjoy for free. It's a Minnesota tradition that we didn't want to miss!
We paid for parking, walked through a tunnel of twinkle lights, and stood in line for complimentary hot chocolate and cookies. It was 20 degrees outside and the wind coming off the lake was frigid and unforgiving, BUT it was a magical, Christmas experience notwithstanding! They had firepits, and marshmellows for roasting, and, to end the night, they had a beautiful fireworks display over Bentleyville, their sparkling lights mingling with all the colored lights off the shore.
Simply magic. Freezing cold magic :)
I don't aspire to own an auspiciously grand house, but I love learning about them. We've toured Hearst Castle, and I've visited Chatsworth and Highclere and Wentworth and Belvoir through the pages of books. These great estates are like time capsules of another time, a reflection of the people who once occupied the many rooms. For a moment, you can feel like one of their guests, welcomed and at home. Special.
For our tour of Glensheen, we had the tour guide all to ourselves. The house was still decorated for Christmas with a Christmas tree in every window. AND it was snowing big puffy snowflakes to add to the mood.
It was interesting to learn the similarities and differences between how American and British great houses were run. Our tour guide really knew her stuff too, so we could ask her about wallpaper and garments and furniture, and we never stumped her. Well done you!
On our way home after the tour (and after a few halfway decent pictures on our phones as the last of the evening light was fading), we did some research about the Glensheen murders. This is a dark part of the home's history. Forced entry through the billiard room, a nursemaid murdered with a candlestick, and the lady of the house stifled by her own silk pillow. Secrets, confessions, betrayals, schemes- It's not included as part of the tour guide's spiel, and frankly, I think it would take away from the experience if it were. But still. Intrigue.
We're back now, grateful for the memories and the time off, but happy to be home and sleeping in our own bed. Now we just need to slow down time so this long holiday weekend never ends!