We set off for Glensheen Historic Congdon Estate where a free Arts and Crafts Festival was underway. Sitting on the banks of Lake Superior this 7.6 acre estate is owned by the University of Minnesota and was once the home of Chester Adgate Congdon, one of the richest and most influential businessman in Duluth during the turn of the century.
We thought that maybe we could tour the mansion as part of the free entrance fee, but the tour turned out to cost eighteen dollars (each), which just wasn't gonna happen. In fact the tour leaders in not so many words kind of made it seem like we shouldn't even look around the private grounds that surrounded the mansion. We of course completely disregarded these veiled suggestions, smiling and continuing to peer in every mansion window, and lounge on every mansion veranda we could find. I'm sorry, we had paid absolutely nothing to enter this event and we were determined to get our money's worth!
Erley was still quite happy but the interior of the vehicle was just starting to heat up. Perfect timing. We left the parking lot, once again feeling rather smug as we exited to see the police still hard at work waving motorist away from the parking lot, and took the time to tour the adjacent neighborhoods, which had their share of amazing properties and stately manors.
We drove back out to the Marina and relaxed for awhile before getting ready to walk down to the Lake Walk district for dinner.
There was a Dave's BBQ joint, and the Chicago Pizza parlor (later we kicked ourselves for NOT getting another pizza), but we felt like relaxing a little with a little more of a fine dinning ambiance, something we didn't get to do very often on the road. Getting tired, and both of us starving made a knee jerk decision and settled on a pretty nice looking wood fired steakhouse and BBQ joint. We should have been tipped off when we were taken to our seats and passed through a nearly empty dinning room. We were excited to kick back with a couple of beers and relax, but no one came over to take our order. We were in a booth towards the back of the huge restaurant and we began to think that we had fallen through the cracks, when a frazzled looking waitress drifted around the corner. "Can I get you anything?" Uh yeah, like could we order a couple of beers and get some menus? We've been here almost ten minutes. "Oh sure, do you need some time?" Huh?! Time, no, I think ten minutes is plenty long to think about our beers. Two beers please, and menus? "Oh sure, I'll be right back..." I kid you not, another seven or eight minutes went by, and finally, just about twenty minutes after being seated we got our beers and menus. We sipped our beers and made our menu selections, both deciding on their signature baby-back pork ribs, and then sat there, and sat there some more. Now we had completely finished our beers and still no server came for our order. Finally, over thirty minutes after entering the restaurant, a girl came around the corner and noticed us sitting there with closed menus and empty drink glasses. "Can I take your order?" Well DUH!!!! Yeah, that would be nice. It's ALWAYS nice to get something to eat when going out to dinner. You could tell that this girl was used to B.S.ing her way out of situations like this, and she gave us her most winning smile and said "What can I get you!" We both said we would like another beer, and that we were going to get the Signature Baby-Back Ribs. "Oh I'm so sorry", she said with a little pouty face, "but we are all out of the Baby-Backs". Wow, that's great, there's practically no one in the restaurant and you are out of your signature item. Neither of us had a back-up plan so we then had to hurriedly scan the menu for something else. Jerani decided to punish the establishment by ordering a much less expensive item, opting for a chickenburger, and I finally decided on the Saint Louis Ribs, not my favorite, but at least it would still be BBQ. She left to place our orders and get us a couple of new beers, but appeared again moments later. "Oh I'm really really sorry, but the Chef just informed me that we are out of Saint Louis Ribs too." Really! REALLY! I didn't even have a menu at this point, so I made a snap decision and said "I'll get the Prime Rib", the menu item they were pushing all along. I didn't really want it, but I was just DONE by that time. Then I added, "Do you think maybe you could comp us a meal, or at least one of our meals, we have after-all been here for forty minutes, and have only two beers and have been turned down on two menu items to show for it?" She said she'd have to check, and returned with our drinks and said the best she could do was comp us on these two beers. Whatever...the mood was pretty much toast by that time and we couldn't seem to muster the effort to argue. We sat there drinking our so called free beers which we had more than paid for in time and frustration, and watched another couple that had been seated just minutes after us go through almost the exact scenario, and end up getting comped two free drinks in the end. How can you run a business like this? We were finally served very mediocre plates of food just a little over an hour after arriving. This was closer to banquet food than fine dinning, something you'd expect to get at a buffet. We ate because we were really hungry by then, not for the enjoyment. Our one night out on the road, and it made us remember why we don't go out. It wasn't special, it wasn't memorable, it was just uncomfortable with shlock passed off as good food. And here's the kicker, when the bill finally arrived, the two beers we had been promised showed up at full price. Like we knew that wasn't going to happen. We pointed this out to the smiling server who went back and had the cost removed, and then we paid for our meals (minus a tip, something we NEVER do, but none the less felt obligated to omit) and left. That was GREAT honey, let's make sure to do this again REAL SOON!