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Sixteen Years on the Superior Hiking Trail: Nonchalance

Paul Lundgren Saturday EssayAfter hoofing over 90 miles of the northernmost sections of the Superior Hiking Trail in 2000 and 2001, I failed to hike a single SHT mile over the next five years. What went wrong?

Little tiny things, that’s what. In 2002 I was a freelance writer barely making rent. It was hard to turn down work to free up time to go on a hike. One weekend I planned a short trip, but the weather forecast indicated rain and I sissied out.

By 2003 I had made the mistake of accepting a fulltime position in the field of advertising, with no vacation time until after the first year — although I did manage to sneak off for a three-day weekend on Isle Royale.

Frustrated with my inability to get out of town for a good hike, and inspired by a discussion about how Duluth is a geographically wide city, I decided to organize a roughly 26-mile single-day walk from the Wabegon Supper Club in the Superior Township to the Lakeview Castle in Duluth Township. This complete traverse of Duluth was called the Nonchalant Jaunt.

Perfect Duluth Day was launched just three months prior to the 2003 jaunt, so there are a few posts about it in the archives. A group of seven hearty individuals completed the trek, which for the most part followed Highway 23, Superior Street and Highway 61.

Hoops Brewing will launch in spring 2017

dave-hoops-growler-magazineFormer Fitger’s Brewhouse master brewer and current Bev-Craft lead consultant Dave Hoops will open a beer hall in the Waterfront Plaza building in Duluth’s Canal Park business district. Hoops Brewing will occupy the former Timber Lodge Steakhouse space at 325 S. Lake Ave., opening in spring 2017.

“I’ve always wanted to build a boutique brewery and I’m doing this the way I dreamed of doing it,” Hoops told The Growler magazine, which broke the story before Hoops Brewing issued a news release. “I don’t have any aspirations of being real large. I want to be a destination beer hall, really servicing local, very limited distribution.”

The news release from Hoops Brewing notes the brewery will operate a small system geared toward serving the on-site 250-seat beer hall. In total, Hoops will occupy a 9,000-square-foot space inside a historic brick-and-exposed-timber space on the water’s edge of the Duluth Harbor.

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The Waterfront Plaza, also known as the Meierhoff Building, was designed in two sections and constructed in 1900 as headquarters for the Marshall-Wells Hardware Company, one of the world’s largest hardware wholesalers. In its prime, Marshall-Wells produced 40,000 products and had annual sales of nearly $100 million. The company liquidated in 1958 and the building sat vacant until the Meierhoff family bought it in 1966.

Hoops Brewing will share the first floor with Suites Hotel, which also occupies the second, third and fourth floors. The sixth floor and part of the seventh floor are condominiums. The Duluth branch of Barr Engineering occupies the fifth floor and parts of the seventh floor.

Selective Focus: Eric Helland

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Eric Helland makes things from natural materials. His work shows off the beauty in the texture and grain, and also in the imperfections and missing chunks.

20150528_1933152E.H.: I’ve always dabbled in art starting with drawing as a kid, experimenting with glass in my family’s glass shop in Southern Minnesota, and photography after moving to Duluth. Eight years ago I made my wife a free form wooden bowl and a sofa table and have been working with wood ever since. Being self taught my technique is always changing and I’m forever seeing what I can do differently. Many people prize exotic woods but I think we have beautiful prime woods right here in the Northland. I like finding my own wood and seeing it in its original form, allowing the individual piece of wood to determine what the end product will be instead of having a preconceived idea when I start. Seeing what hidden grains and patterns I can reveal in the wood is my favorite aspect of this work. My style is always changing but I’m probably best known for my free form pieces, leaving live edges or bark on my lathe pieces, incorporating antler into my pens, and working with burls.

Beer finally flowing in Duluth Lakeside at Amity Coffee

amity-coffee-nate-pykkonenProhibition has finally ended. Amity Coffee became the Lakeside neighborhood’s first seller of over-the-counter alcohol today. In June the Duluth City Council repealed a more than 125-year-old neighborhood liquor ban.

At left, barista Nate Pykkonen pours a Bent Hop Golden IPA, one of two Paddle Paddle Brewing tap beers at Amity. Bottled and canned beers are also available, as well as wine.

Reader publisher buys former West Theater

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A repurposed West Duluth movie theater has been sold to the publisher of an alternative weekly newspaper. The historic West Theater building at 317-319 N. Central Avenue was purchased earlier this month by Duluth Reader founder and publisher Robert Boone, operating as Paladin Properties LLC. The building was previously owned by David Orman, whose now-defunct promotional products business Raven & Associates headquartered there from 2012 to 2014.

Hermantown Zen House moving to former Sala Thai location

zen-house-japanese-restaurant-steve-kuchera-dnt-photoThe Duluth News Tribune reports the Hermantown Zen House restaurant in the ICO convenience store at Maple Grove and Haines roads is moving to Duluth’s Woodland neighborhood. Zen House manager Joe Shortino told the paper ICO sold the property and the rumored buyer is Kwik Trip. An ICO official told the News Tribune a sale is pending, but would not disclose the buyer.

Zen House’s new location will be 4023 Woodland Ave. Sala Thai occupied that building before moving to 114 W. First St. in 2015.

Hacienda del Sol building eyed by Lake Avenue Restaurant group

The Hacienda del Sol restaurant on East Superior Street closed in 2011. Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar owners are in the process of buying the property.

The Hacienda del Sol restaurant on East Superior Street closed in 2011. Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar owners are in the process of buying the property.

Owners of a popular Canal Park restaurant have been working for more than a year to secure the former Hacienda del Sol building in the newly rebranded Downtown Duluth Historic Arts and Theatre Distict.

Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar owner Mark Swenson said last week his partnership group is working to purchase the long vacant Mexican restaurant at 319 E. Superior St. The group would like to remodel and reopen the building with a kitchen serving Central American inspired cuisine.

Experienced piano teacher bouncing with new ideas looking for students

the whole pianoI’m a piano teacher with more than 20 years experience teaching students of all ages and all abilities on the hunt for students! I spent last year getting an MA in Community Music in Ireland, and while that was happening I lost a lot of students (which makes me sad).

That MA is changing so much about the way that I approach my teaching and music making, I decided that I might as well present myself to the world as a brand new teacher, and to do that, I made a brand new website: emilymoepianostudio.com.

Duluth screen printer puts focus on craft, quality

ian-scherberThe term “craft goods” has been slowly working its way into the Duluth lexicon. It’s been applied to micro breweries, manufacturers of outdoors gear, bakeries and on down to individual blacksmiths and jewelry makers. A new screen-printing business recently joined the ranks of those embracing this “craft” philosophy.

Proctor native Ian Scherber launched Duluth Screen Printing in May 2015 with a focus on creating sustainable products for those in need of a quality, customized T-shirt. In an odd twist, the popularity of the craft trend quickly led him into partnerships with large corporations like Target, Patagonia and Ernst & Young, putting out small-batch custom apparel for three behemoth brands.

“Industry is changing,” Scherber said. “There (are) a lot of really awesome options out there. We sell that opportunity and we wanted to be a nitty-gritty, hardworking brand based right in Downtown Duluth that’s making awesome stuff right out of our shop.”

Celtic Thunder on the St. Louis River

celtic-thunderThe Irish singing group Celtic Thunder was in Duluth on Sept. 27 for a performance at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center‘s Symphony Hall. While in town, members of the ensemble spent a little time on the St. Louis River with help from Swiftwaters Adventures, which offers guided rafting and kayaking trips.

Rich Mattson and the Northstars – “Trip to a Flame”

richmattsonandthenorthst3Video by Reggie Pype from the Northstars new album, Starmaps.

Mystery Photo #44: A Handsome Home

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Next to nothing is known about this photo, other than the claim it was shot in Duluth. Does this handsome home still exist? Does anyone recognize it? Who are these people and what are they doing?

Disfluency

Anna Tennis Saturday EssayAll names in this story have been changed, because this is the internet. But not because of you. You’re wonderful.

If you had told me five years ago that a life could be forever altered by a toddler’s stutter, I would have rolled my eyes deep enough to dislocate my optic nerve. Maybe that’s a little melodramatic. My point is, I wouldn’t have understood. Like so many things, there’s often a pretty good delta between experience and imagination. I know a little better now, because of my own experience, and while this isn’t the worst thing that ever happened to me, it actually did change my whole life. This one little thing. A stutter.

I remember how, a week before my second daughter, Lilly, was born, I was thinking about how, in the new Pooh movie, Piglet lost his stutter. I had a little internal dialogue about the ridiculous, reactionary nature of helicopter parents, so sensitive to anything that might hurt … someone … that we couldn’t even joke around anymore. They had probably driven the change in Piglet’s fluency. Except I didn’t know to use the phrase, “change in Piglet’s fluency,” yet.

Selective Focus: Carolyn Olson

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Carolyn Olson takes extremely ordinary daily events and turns them into big, colorful studies of life and relationships.

C.O.: I am primarily a narrative painter working in either gouache, water-based oil paint or pastel. I have also experimented a bit with sculptural figures made out of plywood or iron.

A bio photo from an oil on board 36" x 48" called "Halloween Costume"

Self-portrait called “Halloween Costume.” Oil on board 36″ x 48″

 

My subject matter has always been based in my daily life – family/friends, observations of others – often strangers. I’m from Duluth originally and moved to the Cities after high school to study painting and graphic design. From there I moved to Mississippi where I worked as a graphic designer for a non-profit organization dedicated to social reform. Being one of the few white folks in our neighborhood I spent a lot of time observing, listening, and re-examining my place and work. My drawings and paintings at that time were my way of trying to understand the people and the place where I was living. Being from the north and white – it was a cultural education. My paintings were universal stories such as a mother’s love for her family, children playing – poverty and race became a part of my subject matter.

Farmhouse brewery under construction near Duluth

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A distinctive brewery is under construction a few miles southeast of Duluth in Midway Township. Oakhold Farmhouse Brewery specializes in mixed fermentation, a method of brewing that yields a class of beers commonly referred to as “sours.”