Scenic Train Rides
Rail fans hit the jackpot in Duluth, which has two scenic excursions chugging out of the city. The North Shore Scenic Railroad (506 Michigan St. W., 218/722-1273 or 800/423-1273, www.northshorescenicrailroad.org) at The Depot skirts Lake Superior on either a 90-minute excursion (12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily May–Oct., plus 10 a.m. Fri.–Sun. summer, $14 adults) or a six-hour trip all the way to Two Harbors (10:30 a.m. Fri. and Sat. May–Oct., $25 adults).
Other options include murder mysteries and a pizza train. Both trips travel in vintage passenger cars pulled by classic engines. Friday morning passengers can combine a ride with an overnight at the Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast in Two Harbors, if arranged in advance.
Heading in the opposite direction is the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad (6930 Fremont St., 218/624-7549, www.lsmrr.org, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sat.–Sun. June–Oct., $10.50), which follows the St. Louis River for 12 miles along the original rail line connecting Duluth with the Twin Cities.
They like to call their train ride a “nature walk on rails,” which pretty much sums it up. You can ride in their vintage coaches, but the best views come from the completely open “Safari Car.” Trains depart across from the zoo.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition