Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Winter getaway to duluth with the family.

Since this was our first winter back in Minnesota after living in Singapore for the last three years, our family came down with a major case of cabin fever. We've been used to swimming in the hot sun every day in Singapore, so we kind of forgot the frozen reality that is the great state of Minnesota. And I've heard that this winter was a mild one! Wowzers.

My parents (Bompa and Nana) came along with us one weekend this winter for a stay at Duluth's Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark. Apparently, everyone in Minnesota with kids visits this amazing waterpark over the winter months. So, we booked an adjoining room at the hotel, packed up the 4-year-old and newborn, and hit the road. My parents came along with us, and even took the 4-year-old in their car so Papa Saigh and I could enjoy some peace and quiet.

4-year-old Linna making her way across the rope course at Edgewater Hotel's waterpark.

Pooped out kiddos back at the hotel.

Mama Saigh and Linna in the floating river.

Please understand that my opinion of this hotel is coming from a person who has stayed in some of the nicest hotels in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, etc., as Papa Saigh used to work for a large hotel company. If you're looking for a 5-star hotel experience, the Edgewater Hotel is not it. However, their indoor waterpark and family-friendly atmosphere is tough to beat. Our 4-year-old spent hours in the pool, The River's Edge, The Vortex, and she couldn't get enough of the rope course in the big pool. It was so relaxing taking turns with my parents in the pool with Linna, and then sitting alongside the pool with a beer. Edgewater has a decent cafe right inside the waterpark (Tiki Tom's Oasis & Grill), making it easy for grown-ups to order things like ice cream, soda, cheese curds, pizza, beer, and even wine! The waterpark seemed to be well-kept and clean, but you can tell it isn't brand new. However, it met all of our 4-year-old's expectations.

Kids of all ages loved the rope course. Linna made it all the way across!

The 4-year-old, Papa Saigh, Al, and Rich in the outdoor hot tub at Edgewater.

Our room was very basic, and you can tell the hotel has been around for a long time. But, it did its "job". We weren't expecting a 5-star hotel experience, and we were happy that the room was clean and safe for the kids. When we visit Edgewater again, we'll definitely book a room with two bathrooms, as we had to share one bathroom with five people on this visit. But the hotel staff did a great job restocking our towels and bath products. Plus, we had a beautiful view of Lake Superior, as we chose not to book a room overlooking the pool (too noisy, but very convenient for pool visits).

Linna doing the rope course at Edgewater.

On the first night, we decided to eat at the hotel's restaurant because we were all exhausted. We ordered a couple pizzas which were REALLY good. I'd highly recommend the Buffalo Chicken Pizza. It's SO delicious! We also received a few buy-one-get-one free coins to use on adult beverages, so we enjoyed a couple drinks as well. Linna played some games in the arcade and inside the restaurant while we waited for our food, and she slept SO well on the first night! Linna and I also checked out the buffet breakfast at the hotel on Sunday morning, while Papa Saigh and my parents stayed back and packed up the suitcases and watched Baby Jimmy. The breakfast is very affordable (kids under age 3 are FREE, kids age 4-12 are $.99 each, and adults are $6.99 - plus tax), but also pretty basic (eggs, pancakes, sausage, fruit, milk, cereals, etc.). However, can you really beat those prices?!

Linna and her Oreo pancakes at Edgewater's brunch.

Nana snuggling Baby Jimmy by the pool.

On our second day, we discovered the outdoor hot tub at the hotel. The 4-year-old thought this was pretty cool, as it was chilly outside, but warm enough to enjoy a dip. Plus, the outdoor hot tub was much quieter than the indoor hot tub. My parents were also nice enough to watch the kids for us on Saturday night, so we could enjoy an evening with friends outside the hotel. We met up with two of Papa Saigh's best friends (one lives in Duluth), and went to Lake Ave Restaurant & Bar. I can honestly say that this was one of the BEST meals I've ever had in Minnesota... And Papa Saigh agrees. I ordered the steak with brussles sprouts, Papa Saigh and his friend Rich ordered the duck, and Papa Saigh's friend Al ordered the beef wellington. Every one of these dishes was unbelievably tasty, and beautifully presented. We will definitely be making another visit to Duluth, just so we can return to Lake Ave. I'd personally keep this restaurant visit to grown-ups only, and leave the kids at home.

My parents with their grandbabies at Fitger's Brewhouse in Duluth.

Grown-up time! Best dirty martini I've ever had.

Linna walking in the rain through Duluth.

My mom and I also indulged by having massages at Eagles Nest in Duluth. My mom had a massage done there before, and said it was amazing. This health and wellness center is located inside a little old house, and has a very welcoming and holistic vibe. I had Tiffany as my massage therapist, and she was outstanding. I felt completely relaxed and rejuvenated after my 60-minute massage, and it was well worth the $80. I never felt "rushed" as I have with massages at other places in the past.

No make-up selfie after our relaxing massage at Eagles Nest in Duluth.

The only group photo we took during our trip. It was so cold and rainy!

We also took Linna to her first visit to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Duluth. This 4-year-old was in chocolate heaven! Her eyes were as big as saucers as she watched the candy makers stretch fudge, and strolled past the chocolate cases. This place literally has every kind of chocolate treat you could ever want. We had lunch at both Grandma's in Canal Park, and Fitger's along the lake (one of our favs). We did a little bit of shopping on Saturday, where I found two pair of Sorel boots for 50% off at Trailfitters. So, my parents bought me one pair for my early birthday present, and Papa Saigh got me the other pair. I had been looking EVERYWHERE for these spendy winter boots, so I was thrilled when they were a great bargain. Papa Saigh bought a couple pair of pants from Duluth Trading Company, that are actually made out of recycled fire hoses! He says the pants (which look like jeans) feel like sweatpants. Score!

Watching fudge being made.

The Chocolate Factory.

Both of the kids were so great on this trip. We loved that the Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark was only about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the cities, so it wasn't an incredibly long time in the car. Duluth is a "must do" trip if you live in or visit Minnesota. The history and old mansions are unbelievable, and the grandness of Lake Superior is simply breathtaking. If we were to visit Duluth again with the kids, I'd stay at the Edgewater Hotel, simply for the waterpark. And I'd highly recommend that parents bring or book a sitter, to get some grown-up time after spending the day with the kiddos. There is so much to do in the beautiful city of Duluth... With and without the kids!


Through June 9th, 2016, get 20% OFF a main building room at Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark, when you book online using the code MNBABY! (US funds only. Subject to availability. Discounts off standard rate. Not valid with any other discounts or promotions. Offer may change or end by the hotel's management without prior notice).