a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
I’ve been enamored of the concept of hygge for some time now. It’s something I try to embrace as much as possible through the long winter months, surrounding myself with books, a lit fireplace, warm drinks and hot chocolates, holiday gatherings, cozy blankets and fuzzy socks. Its easy for me to find hygge in the fall and winter seasons.
I wasn’t expecting it to come so easily in the spring and summer months, but then I hadn’t been to Minnesota in quite some time. Minnesota may be the epicenter of the hygge mindset within the US. Locally made arts, locally sourced foods, privately owned establishments of all kinds, and more antique and thrift stores than I could possibly hope to visit. Every location I visited was full to the brim with comfort and warm, friendly greetings. I would go so far as to name it my most recommended place to visit if one is solo-traveling and looking to not feel alone.
Craft breweries and cideries are EVERYWHERE. I didn’t visit a single one I didn’t enjoy, but there was one that stood out from the rest. Wild State Cider in Duluth, Minnesota is a treasure. The building is casual, comfortable, open with plenty of natural light, and a bit rustic. The ciders are flavorful, light and crisp, with no sugars added, avoiding that slight syrupy taste I find so often. Our bartenders for the evening were Ana & Jerome and I quickly felt like I was talking a to new friends. They were knowledgeable and helpful, but also chatty, hilarious and totally at ease with any questions or ideas we threw there way (they were even kind enough to treat some of our more ridiculous business advice as pure genius). If you’re in Duluth and looking for a comfortable place to take your ease and converse with friends you’ve never met, visit Wild State Cider.
Duluth had a few other treasures to recommend. Zenith Bookstore with its elaborately painted exterior and inviting interior was overflowing with amazing books. I had to limit myself, but they are at least partially at fault for how overweight my suitcase was on the return flight home. The Duluth Grill was delicious and had plenty of options for the traveling vegan without resorting to lettuce!
And all along the North Shore of Lake Superior, both south and north of Duluth, were trees and waterfalls and wondrous views.
Definitely worth a return visit or 100.
I’m very much enjoying going through the images from this trip. Wait until you see the hundreds of dog photos from the Dogs & Donuts event Cahlean Klenke of About A Dog took me to! She’s a genius at dog photography, so while I have some fun photographs from the event, she’s got a whole gallery of them on her Facebook.