Wednesday, September 14, 2011

a surprise get-away

Mike and Charlie were riding their dirt bikes at Theilmann all last weekend-they had a great time and fun with friends.  When they arrived home on Sunday evening, Mike handed me a card.

"But our anniversary isn't until tomorrow."  I protested.  He simply smiled, and told me I needed to open it early.

I opened it, a funny card, and inside a note accompanied by photos proclaimed I should "pack my bags" as he was taking me away in the morning, to Duluth.  The best part?  He had made reservations for us to stay at the Firelight Inn!

We have stayed there a couple of times in the last 15 years, but it seems like it has been ages.  And it was everything I had remembered.  You can find them here:

It is tucked away at the end of a street, where it's neighbor is the Oregon Creek, which you can hear quietly burbling away from open windows during your stay.  The house itself is 100 years old, and was built by George Barnum.  Yes, the same Mr. Barnum that the town of Barnum was named for.  It is in a neighborhood full of large, elegant homes, from an era of Duluth firmly rooted in history.

You are greeted by the owners at the door, and walk into an enormous porch, populated by wicker chairs, cozy pillows, strategically placed lamps and a fireplace.  The windows are sparkling clean, and offer views of the creek and beautifully maintained lawn and gardens.

As you step inside, gleaming wood, comfortable furnishings, a grand piano, and an enormous fireplace grace the main floor, along with a butler's pantry tucked in the corner.  At any time of day, you can find hot and cold beverages, ice, sweets, and always homemade cookies.  A vast collection of music can be found for the cd player in your room, or perhaps a movie.  Books, games, puzzles, anything you need to while away your time.
The gorgeous staircase takes you to the second and third floors, where our suite awaited.  For this visit, we were staying in the Superior Suite.  Painted a calming blue, it had a separate sitting room with couch, television, wardrobe, table and chairs, small refrigerator, and sink.  The main room holds the king size bed (more on that later), a fireplace, another table and chairs, and a two person hot tub.
What always impresses me, is the absolute attention to detail the owners provide.  Handcrafted soap, gleaming brass, an already filled ice bucket with treats and cold water were waiting for us, along with a homemade card with a note from the owners, welcoming us and thanking us for choosing to stay with them.  I defy you to find a single piece of dust in the entire home.  Real glass water tumblers, heavy coffee mugs, plush and plentiful towels, gorgeous spa robes, and quality toilet paper. (Yes, I mention the toilet paper, simply because absolutely no comfort has been neglected.)
And the bed.  Oh, the bed.  An excellent mattress topped with a featherbed, two huge down pillows, and the softest sheets imaginable.  I could have just stayed in that bed for days.  As someone with back problems, I generally am dissatisfied by hotel beds.  But not this one.
Just when you think you have journeyed to heaven, the next morning a quiet knock on the door lets you know that your breakfast has arrived.  An enormous basket waits for you just outside your door, it was so heavy I had to have Mike bring it in!  It held the following:  breakfast strudel (ham, cheese, eggs, fresh herbs in perfectly golden puff pastry) still piping hot, fresh pears and strawberries, warm butterscotch scones and banana bread with butter, a pitcher of orange juice and a pot of coffee, and fresh blueberries in port sauce with creme fraiche.  Of course the basket included cloth placemats and napkins and china plates and silverware.
It's a shame to have to leave.  But you know that no matter when you return, all that you love about the Firelight Inn will be there, waiting for you.  I don't know of any other place where Mike and I have returned three times.  And with several rooms, we still have a few left to try out!  They each have their own theme and ambience.  The one thing I have yet to try is the massage, you can set up an appointment for one during your stay, in house.  Next time....

I actually dream of being stranded there for several days,  during a snowstorm, and really take advantage of all that the Inn has to offer.  They have journals in each of the rooms, and it is such fun to read the comments from others who have enjoyed staying there, why they happened to be in Duluth, where they came from, and if they were celebrating something.  I just read a few recent ones, and so many of them were returning guests.

A big thank you to Jim and Joy Fischer for being the ultimate host and hostess, they do everything themselves and put all of their heart and soul into their business.  Even though it was a short getaway, it was perfect in every way.  When you say goodbye, you feel as if you have just spent lovely time with friends.
If you are ever planning a trip to Duluth, and want to be assured of an exceptional experience, please try to find a spot at the Firelight Inn.   It is absolutely the best lodging money can buy, as it is more than just a place to rest your head.  (and you too will be raving about the featherbed...)

Disclaimer:  I have not been compensated nor asked to write this review, I simply love The Firelight Inn and wanted to share it with you!!!


  1. I wish my windows were sparkly. It sounds like a wonderful place to stay. And that

  2. Oh we need to stay there sometime. Amazing. Happy Anniversary!! xoxo

  3. A slice of heaven. What a beautiful anniversary; Mike is such a romantic. I agree with Rachelle, what a breakfast.


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