What's Up Wednesday: Fly High, Duluth Edition

I'm catching the What's Up Wednesday hot air balloon from the blogs of Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Go to Jaime's blog to add your link and make the rounds to get to know other bloggers!

Here's how it works:

It's similar in some respects to the Currently... post, but it's been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You're invited to join us if you're looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what's been going on with you.

After finishing my Jessi Kirby book-a-thon (love!), I proceeded to Miranda Kenneally. I've read CATCHING JORDAN and STEALING PARKER and have her third book on order at the library. While I wait, I believe I will read IN SEARCH OF MOCKINGBIRD by local author Loretta Ellsworth, since last week marked the anniversary of the publication of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

Still plugging away at my revisions for WAITING FOR THE SUN. My Ready. Set. Write! goal was to write every day for the last seven, and I have achieved that goal. I even wrote a scene in a notebook, like, longhand, with a pen, when we stayed at a hotel last weekend. It's been good to get back into the habit of daily writing, but unfortunately I have not had a good knock-down, drag-out writing session. I hope to get one of those in this upcoming weekend and really make some strides.

My RSW goal for the upcoming week is to get through my first round of edits, then move on to the trickier stuff - and still write every day.

My apologies that I was unable to make the What's Up Wednesday rounds last week. The kids started swimming lessons plus we were out of town on our mini-getaway weekend! I'd received a free night stay at Grand Casino Hinckley, so we got up early on Saturday morning and drove to Duluth, my second home, my favorite place. Oh, how I needed it.

Annual Empty Shoes photo

We didn't have much time in Duluth, but arrived at the harbor in time to see the arrival of the American Century, a thousand-foot ship. It's kind of a joke in our family any time a "Once-in-a-Lifetime" Thousand Footer comes into port, but it was the first time seeing such a massive ship for the kids.

To finally celebrate my agent news, we had lunch at our most favorite restaurant, Fitger's Brewhouse.

My Favorite Beer

We visited my sister briefly and then headed across Skyline Drive to visit Enger Park and Enger Tower. Enger Tower is a five-story structure up on the hill, built in 1939 and dedicated by the Crown Prince of Norway, with amazing views in all directions. The park recently underwent a renovation and is now home to a lovely Japanese Garden as well.

Birdy & Toad at Enger Tower

Zen Garden at Enger Park
 After leaving Enger, we drove about an hour and half south to stay at the Casino. The kids are always beside themselves any time they get to stay at a hotel. They enjoyed the pool and the food and the arcade. Before heading home, we stopped at the Hinckley Fire Museum and learned about the horrible, tragic firestorm that destroyed the town and five others in September of 1894. 

Knock on wood, I think we've turned a corner on vacations with Birdy. Both kids were well behaved and patient and we all had a marvelous time.

Returning to Duluth, even for such a short time, was so inspiring to me. I'm almost in tears writing about it - I love the city and the lake so much and have such fond memories of my time there. I'm inspired by the people and the beauty and the majesty of nature. Duluth is an amazing place - a city with a rich and varied history, with so many natural attractions within the city limits. And even when the place is crawling with tourists, I've never felt like a tourist there. I've always felt at home in Duluth, from my very first trip when I was five.

And I love sharing it with Hammer Guy and the kids, and I love that they are learning to love it as much as I do.

What's up with you, friends? Do you have a special place of inspiration that you return to again and again?


  1. Awesome that you got a chance to have a getaway! I have a Skyline Drive in my area, too :)

    I've got Miranda Kenneally's first two books and as soon as I get the third, I plan on having a book-a-thon with them!

  2. Oh wow! Sounds like you've had a busy yet awesome week! I love the pictures and am glad you had a wonderful vacation. Also, WOW on the writing! Good for you! I hope you have another wonderful writing week!

    Also, THINGS I CAN'T FORGET was my favorite of Kenneally's stories. Hope you get to read it soon!

  3. Glad to hear you had such a great trip! Thanks for sharing the photos with us. Have a good editing and writing week!

  4. I had no idea Duluth was so delightful! It has become newly relevant to me, as I've developed an addiction to playing Ticket to Ride on my iPad this week, and Duluth is one of the cities in that game, but aside from that I really knew nothing about it. Now I will picture your lovely vacation as I route imaginary trains in and out of that fair city!

    Glad you had such a nice trip, and good for you writing on vacation! That's not easy!

  5. What an exciting week you had! :)

    Yes, my favorite three places on Earth are: Charleston, SC (always feels like home, steeped in history and ocean and front porches and sweet tea), Boulder Creek, Calif. (the smell of redwoods and earth and pacific ocean...also smells and feels like home to me), and Paris, France (Paris doesn't feel like home, it feels like inspiration and magic behind every nook and alley).

    Have a marvelous week! <3

  6. Congrats on landing an agent again, Sara!~~! *throws confetti* And good luck with your revisions. You can do it!!!

  7. Sounds like you had a very busy week. I loved all the pictures.

  8. Your trip sounds absolutely lovely and what a great way to celebrate your fantastic agent news!!!

    Loved all the pictures. And the bit about writing out a scene long hand in a notebook make me totally crack up. Way to stick to your goals!

    Hope you have a fantastic week! :)

  9. What is it with kids and hotels? My kids love staying in hotels, too. We don't do it that often, but they get excited whenever the prospect of an overnight stay is floated.

    I like the pictures, Sara. A special place of inspiration? There isn't really a physical location I go back to for inspiration, though in my mind I'll often venture to places in my past for feelings and experiences. Not quite the same, though.

    All the best with your writing goals this week. May you write much, whether digitally or manually! :D

  10. What a fantastic mini holiday and a great way to celebrate signing with your agent. I lived your photos, especially the empty show shot - brilliant.

    Congratulations on meeting your goals (writing with a pen and paper is fun isn't it) and good luck for this week. I hope you get a marathon session in.

  11. Sounds like such a wonderful trip, Sara! I've never been to Duluth, but now I'm curious. I love that there is such a wealth of history there. I feel similarly about Indian Creek, Utah. It's a vast, beautiful canyon out in the middle of nowhere. There aren't many buildings, but there is a huge panel of rock with petroglyphs on it. The entire valley feels deeply peaceful, and I love going there. :)

    Anyhow, good luck with your writing goals this week, and thanks for sharing tidbits and photos from your trip!

  12. That's awesome that you've been able to write every day. I want to try to be that consistent as well!

    I'm glad you enjoyed your time away, and were able to celebrate your new agent! Yay!

  13. Sounds like an awesome trip. For inspiration, I'd love to revisit Cape Cod as an adult. My family went there so many times I eventually got sick of it and stayed home alone the last few times they went when I was older, but now I feel differently. It might be nice to rent a cottage and stay there for a month or so of writing inspiration and unwinding from the world. As an adult, I'd have my own schedule and itinerary!

  14. The tower looks so cool-- it sounds like you have had a wonderful few weeks. Good luck on those writing goals!

  15. Love the pictures, Sara, and I'm so glad you were able to have a much needed weekend away! For whatever reason, the Great Lakes area keeps showing up in my conversations lately, and I'm kind of pining for it. Also, I think it's very cool that you wrote a longhand scene while you were away so you could meet your goal. Every once in a while, if the words aren't flowing, I write longhand. It makes me nostalgic for the days before I was glued to my laptop. Have an awesome week!

  16. This sounds like a wonderful trip, Sara! So happy you got to enjoy time with your family in place you love <3

    And...hmmm...when did you say I was going to get the revised version of WFTS in my mailbox, next month righ? (cannot wait!!!!(


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