Artwork and text by SAMANTHA NIELSEN • Special to the Star Tribune


Brenda L. was enjoying the view of Lake Superior as her dog, Bode, tested the water. Bode was initially shy, but as Brenda and I talked, he came and sat right on my feet as if he wanted to be a part of the conversation. Brenda has lived in Duluth for 17 years. Asked about what brought her to the region: “We really just wanted a nice place to raise our family, and Duluth has always been a perfect fit. We love being able to hop in the car and go exploring, even in the winter.”

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Gulls and more gulls

The seagulls have figured out that groups of family and friends come to Brighton Beach not only to swim but to picnic. These gulls typically don’t invade space unless someone starts to share — but they will stare.

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A stone’s throw

Piseth H., 15, found the beach perfect for taking in the view and skipping a few stones before he headed back to Minneapolis with his family. He was in Duluth for the first time. He said he was here for his grandmother’s funeral, but he was glad to be in such a peaceful place during a tough time. “It’s really nice being in this area, and I would love to come back. I can see why my grandma always loved this lake.”

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On their way

Allison M. of Minneapolis helped her son, Nolan, catch his green shovel just before he dropped it in the water. Her husband, Drew, was down the shore collecting rocks for their son to see. A stop in Duluth is a summer tradition of sorts: “We were married in Two Harbors seven years ago, and have been visiting Duluth every summer since. This is Nolan’s third time here, his first being when he was just 6 weeks old,” Allison said. The Minneapolis family stopped at Park Point for the afternoon before continuing up the North Shore toward Grand Marais.

Samantha Nielsen is an artist in Duluth. See more of her work on Instagram @sj_nielsen. Reach her at