Literary City Guide | Duluth, MN
Tour Guide: Angela Antony
Angela is a Minnesota native and a graduate of both the College of St Scholastica in Duluth and the University of Minnesota in St Paul. She is a promiscuous reader who is currently navigating the waters of new parenthood. She works in the non-profit sector and attends both book and burger clubs with astonishing regularity. (All photos by Angela Antony; bio photo by Kali Eden Photography.)
Relationship to Duluth: Many a weekend getaway with family and friends, I spent my undergraduate years at St Scholastica, and my husband and I began our life together in Duluth after we married. I’m a weekender, a one-time resident, and alum.
Writer you'd like to invite to dinner: Barbara Kingsolver and Mary Oliver
Chef you'd like to prepare the meal: Scott Graden
Writing soundtrack: Bon Iver
Pen or Pencil: Pen
Coffee or Tea: Either
Paperback or Hardback: Both
Amazing Alonzo’s Paperback Exchange. I love Alonzo’s for its stripped-down, packed-to-the-hilt honesty. A very cozy, sunny space, it is a series of small, low rooms with books stacked floor to ceiling. No social media strategy, no games or toys for sale, just gently used paperbacks.
Chester Creek Books & Antiques. Another gem without a lot of visibility. Located in an old church, Chester Creek Books is amazing because nothing has been done to retrofit the space. Every square inch of the building, including Sunday School rooms in the basement, is packed with books displayed alongside antiques that would accent any home library beautifully.
Bonus Bookstore. Drury Lane, Grand Marais. If you head northeast along the north shore of Lake Superior about two hours you hit Grand Marais and Drury Lane Books. Grand Marais is a gorgeous town for a quiet weekend on the lake and Drury Lane Books only sweetens the deal with its excellent location (in an old lighthouse keeper’s home, on the lake), readings by campfire during the full moon, and vibrant book club culture.
College of St Scholastica Library. I’m partial because I spent a lot of time there in college, but there’s something about sitting in a library that’s nestled between an old stone villa and a monastery, up a winding staircase over the chapel. The sweet quiet makes for a wonderful study space.
READINGS & CONFERENCES
The Spirit Lake Poetry Series. Bringing national and international writers to the area, the Spirit Lake Poetry Series provides an opportunity to explore poetry for free.
Drury Lane Books. Drury Lane Books hosts readings each month as well as events with local authors and book clubs.
DeWitt Seitz Marketplace. I love the DeWitt Seitz Marketplace in Canal Park. Including Northern Waters Smokhaus and The Blue Heron Trading Co, it’s a great place to get intentional, local gifts for friends and family, as well as get some great food.
Superior Hiking Trail. Regardless of the season Duluth is brilliant. It can be 50 degrees and rainy any day of the year, but if it isn’t the Superior Hiking Trail
Trampled by Turtles. This local string band quickly became a favorite when I saw them live. Their latest album “Stars & Satellites” has a haunting sort of sound to it and when I close my eyes I can feel the body of the lake behind the music.
Amazing Grace Bakery & Café. Amazing Grace is a darling of Duluth charm, located underneath the sweet DeWitt Seitz shopping complex in Canal Park. Hosting local musicians alongside hippie college kids and weekending families staying in Canal Park, Amazing Grace makes me feel like I’m in college again.
Dunn Brothers. Locally owned, this one is particularly charming. With a front porch and a loft, I spent so much time reading here when I was first married. It became my second living room.
A PROPER MEAL
New Scenic Café. Organic, local, and seasonally sourced food is what makes the New Scenic Café such a critical part of the culinary scene in Duluth. It is by far my favorite place to eat anywhere.
Duluth Grill. Serving locally grown and sourced food, including produce from their parking-lot garden, the Duluth Grill is our favorite place to stop at on our way out of town.
At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Café. Sara’s Table is my favorite place for organic, seasonal breakfast fare. The tables and booths are made of repurposed wood from the monastery at St Scholastica and you can peruse books for sale that line the walls of the dining room.
Sir Benedict’s. Sir Ben’s is a staple for us when we want a good lunch. Its British pub atmosphere and wholesome food are complimented by breezes from the lake.
Hepzibah’s Sweet Shoppe. Though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth I like stopping at Hepzibah’s for chocolate when we’re in town.
Trampled by Turtles. A genre unto their own, Trampled by Turtles is a string band that plays haunting and raucous front porch & blue grass-style music. They are the soundtrack of road trips now that we don’t live in Duluth any longer.
“…still I like the quiet of Duluth in the winter.” -Trampled by Turtles, Duluth
Angela's 5 Favorites
2. Favorite place to write: The Valley of Silence behind the monastery at the College of St Scholastica. This is where the nuns quarried the stone for building the College and the wooded paths are lovely and peaceful.
3. Favorite museum: The Maritime Museum in Canal Park. My affinity for this museum is a direct result of its entry price (which is free) and the fact that my parents took us here all the time as kids.
4. Favorite Coffee Shop: Amazing Grace
5. Favorite thing about Duluth: The way the lake keeps you.