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What’s Rick Steves’ deal with Duluth?

Does Rick Steves have a beef with Duluth? While I was doing a searching for something Duluth related, I discovered a PDD post from Nov. 22 titled  “Rick Steves offends his Duluth friends.” Which surprised me, as I had just recently noticed yet another slight from Rick Steves regarding Duluth.

From his blog for Rick Steves’ Europe, there’s a post from Jan. 14. “Thoughts About My Immigrant Heritage.” He visited Ellis Island and looked up one of his Norwegian relatives and noted:

According to a ship’s register, exactly a hundred years ago John Romstad landed with a buddy, bound for Duluth, with $20 in their pockets. Anyone considering Duluth the Promised Land (with a net worth of $20) must have come from a pretty hopeless place.

I’m sure others here could explain the history in much better detail than I, but Duluth 100 years ago was a highly prosperous place and would have been a fine destination for his ancestor to seek his fortune. Unless he meant $20 dollars wasn’t enough for such a happening place, but I doubt it. $20 dollars in 1917 would be worth about $360 today. Still not a lot, but would likely have been more than enough to start a new life back then.

I still like him and enjoy his show, but what I do want to know is, what did Duluth do to Rick Steves? What did it do to deserve two slights tossed at it in just a couple of month’s time? Did he have a bad stay years ago, perhaps in that phase between eras of industrial giant to tourist destination? Did he have a bad meal? Stay in the wrong motel? Does he have a estranged relative from here that he doesn’t get along with? Did a dog bite him here? I keep on wondering.

8 Comments

-Berv

about 2 years ago

Maybe it's not marijuana-y enough for him.

Karl

about 2 years ago

I went to college with Rick's daughter. We were part of the same orientation program, though we did not know each other well. Amused by this fact, several friends from home and I devised a Rick Steves Drinking Game. (Drink every time Rick uses words like "quaint" and "exquisite"! Drink every time Rick mispronounces a word in a different language! And so on.) It was a highly entertaining, if rather toxic.

Maybe Rick got wind of this, and if so, I apologize to the rest of Duluth for bringing his disdain down upon my city.

hbh1

about 2 years ago

To me it's just an echo of the general attitude that people have had for generations about Duluth being the "end of the world" or just generally off the map. I mean, we've been a punchline like "Timbuktu" forever, like if you fuck up at your job, they'll relocate to you "DULUTH!??" kind of thing.

Helmut Flaag

about 2 years ago

Could be from the moment he arrived nobody once stopped talking about how great it was. Which in turn was a little too close to home for him. I've spent months where he lives and while both places have pros and cons, there's bumper to bumper U-Hauls moving there daily. You don't have to worry about pyroclastic flows here. And besides, they probably have more human trafficking and serial killers than we do. They definitely have more heroin now thanks to that last big bust. There's just a few things you folks can feel superior to Rick Steves about in your humble chosen abode. 

Maybe he should've come in July when the daffodils start blooming. Or maybe he did but it just wouldn't stop raining for three days straight so these bike trails he'd heard so much about could simply dry out. For all we know he got smacked in the junk by some painted lady at Curly's who just wanted a cigarette and not have to suffer this khaki-wearing pastel goon.

Helmut Flaag

about 2 years ago

Problem is these skateboard kids will get ahold of his dad-core style and turn him into a fashion icon. You laugh now, but mark my words...

Sam

about 2 years ago

Maybe Rick Steves is just making a joke about the weather, which is pretty common for people when they think about Duluth.  

Karl, I went to college with Rick's daughter when she was there, so we must have gone to the same place. Rick Steves gave a talk there when he was visiting her at college, and my (now) wife and I enjoyed the talk.

Sam

about 2 years ago

Nevermind. I went to the son's college. The daughter went to the "other" college, as we used to say.

Sam

about 2 years ago

It turns out that Rick Steves' brother-in-law is the president of my college.

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