This past Sunday, one of my former hometowns was named the country's best outdoors town by Outside Magazine.
I was noting on Facebook how people who lived in Duluth or had ties to Duluth were sharing this "Vote for Duluth" campaign. The magazine set up a bracket of its 64 favorite towns in the country. It was up to us to choose who will go head to head.
Duluth was up against such cities as Columbia, Mo., Asheville, N.C., Minneapolis and La Crosse, Wis. Then it came down to two, Duluth vs. Provo, Utah.
Now I've been to Provo. It's a nice, picturesque town with great architecture and great scenery outside of town. I mean, there's these awesome mountains. It's the third-largest city in Utah. I certainly enjoyed my time there. But I may be a little biased toward Duluth. Duluth did beat Provo in the final round, 66,750 votes to 54,850.
After I graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, I just wanted to stay in the city. It must have been the lure of Lake Superior. Plus, my friends were there. What more could I ask for? Well, maybe a job in my field that also had health insurance, but I was young and a little naive, hoping that one day I would land that big job.
Five years after graduation and another degree later, I came down to Marshall.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy living down here. I've been here 15 years, almost as long as I lived in my original hometown of Somerset, Wis. Home is where you make it, whether it's in the mountains, by the lake or in the prairie.
Duluth does have a lot of outdoors fun going for it, from the Lakewalk, to Brighton Beach to Park Point and just anywhere in between. For awhile I lived basically two blocks up from a spot on Superior Street that wasn't too far away from Canal Park. I could just walk to what I considered paradise. Granted I didn't live in a safe neighborhood, but I somehow managed to get by.
Duluth is definitely a tourist town. There's plenty of places besides Canal Park to go, but that tends to be the main draw. It's exciting when a ship comes in. You don't mind hiking out to the lighthouse or being bothered by the seagulls. There's restaurants to try, niche-type shops to explore and events like Grandma's Marathon, which is today.
And I admit that I do miss living there.
But for now, it's a nice place to visit.