mansion against blue sky

A Minnesotan’s guide to the Glensheen Mansion historic tours

Glensheen Mansion exterior back garden view and fountain

You’ll find beauty at Glensheen Mansion in any season.


Learn more about the historic Glensheen Mansion tours in Duluth, MN – how to get tickets, when to visit, special events, history, garden tours, social-distancing guidelines and more. Overlooking Lake Superior, the 39-room Glensheen Mansion is a perfect staycation or road-trip destination in any season – winter, spring, summer or fall.

While my first visit was in December, I returned to the Glensheen historic estate with the goal of updating this post with new summer images (inside the mansion as well as the beautiful gardens and grounds of Glensheen). Learn more why Glensheen Mansion is one of the best places to visit in Minnesota.


This post contains links to products and services. While you will not accrue any additional costs to support my blog, I may – as a marketing affiliate – receive compensation if you link to or purchase products and services from places such as Amazon, Bluehost, Constant Contact, It’s a Lovely Life, HotelsCombined, Aunt Fannie’s, etc. All images are taken by kmf and available for digital download. Special thanks to Glensheen Mansion for sponsoring our visit in exchange for an honest review of our experience. Note that original post from January 2020 was updated with new content and photos in July 2020.


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Glensheen Mansion is the top thing to do in Duluth, Minnesota in any season

Glensheen Mansion Christmas Tour Exterior Shot of House with Snow
Glensheen Mansion: I took this photo in front of the Glensheen historic estate in Duluth, MN during a snowstorm. It was so cold my phone kept shutting down. Grateful I managed to capture a few images of the Glensheen Mansion winter wonderland.
Glensheen Mansion during the summer months: Quite the opposite from my first visit – was surprised my phone didn’t shut down because of the heat (yes, it can get hot in Duluth, MN).
Glensheen Mansion Seasons Greeting sign
This was the very last photo I captured of Glensheen Mansion during my Christmas tour last December. My phone said “enough” and completely shut down during a very frigid MinneSNOWta day.
Glensheen Mansion gardens and Lake Superior
My visit to Glensheen Mansion in July was a stark contrast where the winter wonderland turned into a magical garden oasis.

I’m all about history and love visiting historic estates. Touring the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minn. had been on my bucket list for years. With my son attending (and recently graduated from) the University of Minnesota – Duluth (UMD), I certainly had many opportunities to tour the historic estate of Glensheen, but the timing never worked out.

So am very grateful Glensheen Mansion hosted me first in the winter for their full Christmas tour and in the summer where I could wander the beautiful Glensheen Mansion gardens and grounds.

Christmas decorations on a bannister
Christmas Tour at Glensheen Mansion – Duluth, MN’s most visited paid attraction.
Stained glass windows overlooking a garden and a lake
You’ll find these beautiful stained-glass windows near that banister on the landing between the first and second floor of the Glensheen Mansion. The view overlooks the Glensheen Mansion gardens and Lake Superior during my summer tour of this historic estate.


Where is Glensheen Mansion located?

Mansion deck
An exterior shot from the gardens of the historic Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN – one of the best places to visit in Minnesota.

The most visited historic mansion in Minnesota (as well as one of the top places to visit in Minnesota), the Glensheen Mansion is located a couple of hours north of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), in Duluth, MN. This 27,000-square-foot historic estate features 39 rooms and sits on 12 acres along Lake Superior, and is open for tours throughout the year (note that only self-guided tours and a virtual tour are available at this time due to the pandemic).

Visiting the historic Glensheen Mansion is one of the top things to do in winter to shake off that cabin fever, and, well, it’s the best place to visit in Minnesota in any season especially when taking the scenic North Shore drive along Lake Superior.

Formal dining room
Glensheen Mansion formal dining room in Duluth, MN

A little bit of Glensheen Mansion history

Despite the enormous living space, Glensheen Mansion was a family home for Chester and Clara Congdon and their seven children. It took three years (1905-1908) to build the Tudor-inspired mansion on the original lakeshore property of 22 acres. It’s believed Glensheen Mansion got its name from the family’s ancestral home in England.  

Glensheen wooded area
Glensheen Mansion is located right in Duluth, MN on a busy street, yet retains a country feel with its beautiful trees, gardens and grounds overlooking Lake Superior.

Located at 3300 London Road in Duluth, Minnesota, the Glensheen Mansion was originally built in a rural, rugged and densely wooded area. Not so rural today (but still maintains a wooded area). London Road is a very busy city street in Duluth, MN. In fact, it leads you to the famed North Shore Scenic Drive (aka Minnesota Highway 61) that runs along the beautiful Lake Superior for nearly 150 miles. If visiting in the fall (or really any season), this is a must-do scenic road trip in Minnesota.

Cliffs and fall foliage overlooking Lake Superior
The original owners donated some of their own land to create one of the top places to visit in Minnesota: The North Shore Scenic Drive along Lake Superior. Pictured: Palisade’s Head at Tettegouche State Park.

Fun fact: The Congdons, original owners of the Glensheen Mansion, donated some of their land to start the Minnesota North Shore Scenic Drive. See my local’s guide to the best North Shore photo-op stops.

Glensheen Mansion history: Who were the Congdons?

Portrait of a man hanging on the wall
Glensheen Mansion’s original owners portrait: Chester Congdon

While the Congdon name may not be a household name like John D. Rockefeller, Chester Congdon was just as influential. He was the attorney for the Oliver Mining Company in Minnesota’s Iron Range. Rockefeller attempted a hostile takeover of the mining company, but Congdon convinced Oliver Mining Company to align with Andrew Carnegie and eventually several mines consolidated – which became U.S. Steel.

And that’s pretty much how the Congdon family became wealthy.  

Glensheen Mansion history: Who owns this historic home today?

Painting on a paneled wall in hallway
Much of the original furnishings, art and decor are on display at the historic estate of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN

Today, the University of Minnesota owns the historic Congdon Estate / Glensheen Mansion, which features much of the original furnishings, art, décor and family artifacts of the early 20th century. That’s impressive as many historical homes display replicas from that time period.

Where do I purchase Glensheen Mansion tour tickets?

All Glensheen mansion tours are available to purchase online. This includes, general admission, full mansion and candlelight tours at Glensheen Mansion. They are not currently offering guided tours.

Glensheen Mansion cow wearing face mask
When we visited in the summer of 2020, all guests were required to wear face masks inside all Glensheen Mansion buildings: All the cool kids and cows are doing it. Related note: The University of Minnesota expects guests who are not fully vaccinated to wear face masks in all indoor public places.

General admission: The foundational experience

Note: Always check the Glensheen Mansion website for the latest updates regarding tours and how to purchase tickets as they may change in light of the pandemic.

Chairs in front of fireplace
Your self-guided tour at the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN will take you through two levels of the home where you’ll find interpretative signs in every room so you can learn more about this historic estate.

Explore the historic Glensheen Mansion on a self-guided tour. Allow at least one hour for this tour. You’ll receive a printed map highlighting the Glensheen Mansion estate rooms on the main and second floors as well as the lower level and a self-guided grounds map. You can also download the free Glensheen Mansion mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play – includes an audio tour and maps.

Please note that only the lower level and main floors are wheelchair-accessible. Videos of the second and third floors and attic are available.

Full Glensheen Mansion tour

bookcases and door entrance from a library at Glensheen Mansion

The full Glensheen Mansion tour includes the self-guided tour of the main and second floors and lower level as well as a 30-minute guided tour of the third floor and attic. Allow at least 90 minutes for the full Glensheen Mansion tour. It’s recommended that you take the guided portion of the tour before taking the self-guided tours of the lower levels. And then also allow more time to tour the historic estate’s gardens and grounds.

Typically, after you receive your full Glensheen Mansion tour ticket, you’ll be directed on where to meet your tour guide. If you’ve visited Glensheen before, you’ll find a new layout in the gift shop where you can purchase a variety of souvenirs (now located at the end of your tour).

Food is not available for purchase at Glensheen Mansion. However, you may bring a picnic lunch during the warmer months or even order curbside delivery during the pandemic. No glass or alcohol can be brought in; however, in the summer Glensheen Mansion sells ice cream as well as beer and wine in their garden bar, Shark on the Lake, overlooking Lake Superior.

Shark and happy hour bar on shoreline
You may purchase local beer, wine, soda, water and Creamery ice cream at the Glensheen Mansion happy hour bar, Shark on the Lake, past the gardens and along Lake Superior. Shark on the Lake is open 1 to 5 p.m. daily (shine only) during the summer.

Self-guided Glensheen Mansion grounds tour

Take a self-guided tour of the Glensheen Mansion gardens and grounds. The map features 13 areas where you’ll find great photo opportunities at Glensheen Mansion as well as educational signs with historical photos. The four main sections of the 12-acre Congdon estate include the gardener’s cottage, boathouse and pier, carriage house and mansion.

stone arch bridge and snow
Glensheen Mansion stone arch bridge in the winter; you can rent snowshoes for free in the winter making it easier to tour the grounds of this historic estate.
stone arch bridge and trees and rocks
Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN is one of the best places to visit in Minnesota – especially in the summer. Here’s the historic estate’s stone arch bridge.

Use #glensheen when posting your photos and you may be featured on Glensheen Mansion’s social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Be sure to follow and like their pages to learn about special events.

Glensheen Mansion kayak tours

Back in the day, Lake Superior was really the best way to get to Glensheen Mansion as in the early 1900s the estate was considered rural. So for a unique perspective from Minnesota’s largest lake, consider taking a kayak tour during the summer months. You’ll need to purchase a separate ticket to tour Glensheen Mansion.

Free Glensheen Mansion virtual tour

A staycation option at Glensheen is to take their free virtual tour – a 360-degree view of the historical estate. You can also download the popular Treasure Book for free to enhance your virtual tour. It not only acts as a guide, the Glensheen Mansion Treasure Book also features I-spy activities.

Free admission available at Glensheen Mansion

The Glensheen Mansion tours are free for children five and under as well as University of Minnesota – Duluth (UMD) students and active duty military.

Visit the Glensheen Mansion website for all guided tour options and details – including group tours and special themed tours such as the Christmas tour, photo tour, summer evening tour and more. You can also learn about special exhibits and events throughout the year such as Gowns of Glensheen, The Great Glensheen Pumpkin Hut, Hiki Hut (mobile sauna), etc. Always check the Glensheen Mansion website for the latest tour availability and how to purchase tickets.

Other free stuff: You can download free Zoom backgrounds of your favorite Glensheen Mansion room or outdoor spaces.

Glensheen Mansion areas to explore

Glensheen Mansion Gates with Christmas wreaths and snow
Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN is one of the best places to visit in Minnesota and is the most popular historical estate tour in the state.

After leaving the parking lot, you’ll pass the Glensheen Mansion gardener’s cottage on the right and the carriage house on the left. You’ll find several educational signs and photo ops here (see your printed map for locations or you can download a map of the Glensheen Mansion ahead of time or view the app).

Glensheen Mansion gardener’s cottage

Glensheen Mansion Gardeners Cottage in Winter
Winter safety tip: Even though the Glensheen Mansion tour is mainly indoors, you will be walking on the pathways and in the parking lot (and can walk along the paths that are clear from snow and ice). So be sure to dress warm and wear comfortable winter boots as the paths can get slippery.

When the Glensheen Mansion hired George Wyness as its head gardener, he and his family moved to the historic estate in 1921. His youngest son, Bob, was six when they arrived. Bob continued to live at the estate until 2004, and would often share stories with visitors about his 83 years at Glensheen Mansion. I find that remarkable.

Garden and cottage
Glensheen Mansion gardener’s cottage is especially lovely during the spring and summer.

The Glensheen Mansion gardener’s cottage area features:

  • Beehives
  • Vegetable garden
  • Sundial garden
  • Rose garden
  • Tennis court
  • Bowling green

Vegetable Garden
Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN features beautiful gardens on its 12-acre estate.

Glensheen Mansion carriage house

old-fashioned wagon
The Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN: Carriage house now serves as a gift shop, office entrance and garage.

The Glensheen Mansion carriage house was home to cows and horses as well as automobiles (including a full repair shop) and apartments for the chauffeur, coachman and stableman. Today, the Glensheen Mansion carriage house includes the gift shop, office entrance and garage.

Glensheen Mansion boathouse and pier

Glensheen Mansion Boathouse and Pier with snow on Bridge
Make sure you visit the Glensheen Mansion boathouse and pier next to Lake Superior in the winter. I love watching the waves crash against the shore. If paths seem a little treacherous with snow, considering renting snowshoes for free.
stone bridge
Lake Superior served as more than a scenic view when Glensheen Mansion was built on its shores in Duluth, MN. The great lake was essential the historic estate’s highway.

The last of its kind on Lake Superior, the Glensheen Mansion boat house (far left in picture) stored the family yacht, a shower and diving bell. The Glensheen Mansion pier was the largest pier on Lake Superior and the only one that appeared on navigational maps. Automobiles were in their infancy when the Glensheen Mansion was built so Lake Superior was the main mode of transportation – their highway.

adirondack chairs
In the summer, you can kick back in these Adirondack chairs on Glensheen Mansion’s pebble beach overlooking Lake Superior. That’s the boat house in the background. Btw: these Adirondack chair are so comfortable; just don’t sit your beverage on the arm; they’re slanted so you may experience spillage.
Lake Superior fire pit on pebble beach
Glensheen Mansion firepit on the shores of Lake Superior. Fun fact: Lake Superior is the largest of the great lakes in North America (it’s about the size of Maine). And Lake Superior is just one of the 11,842 lakes you’ll find in Minnesota. See related post: Best lakes in the land of 10,000+ lakes.

When you take the path past the Glensheen boathouse, you’ll also find an Instagram-worthy outlook for great photos as well as Lake Superior, Tischer Creek, a painting studio, Hammock Forest, a stone arch bridge (pictured earlier) and Chester’s Island.

Glensheen Mansion home tour: the main attraction

Front door of mansion
Front door leading you to one of the best places to visit in Minnesota: Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN.

So now the main attraction: the historic Glensheen Mansion. Follow the beautiful path that leads you to the front entrance if doing a self-guided tour (please knock before entering).

front door
Love this beautiful wood front door at Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota.

Before or after your tour of the Glensheen mansion, take some time to enjoy the formal garden, south lawn, winter garden and Fox Forest as well as see the west porch.  

Here are a few images I captured during my Glensheen Mansion tours, which also included the third floor and attic. Photos are allowed; however, no flash photography.

Glensheen Mansion dining room

Dining room table and chairs,
Glensheen Mansion dining room

Glensheen Mansion breakfast room

breakfast room with Christmas tree
Glensheen Mansion’s breakfast nook is perfect in this Christmas setting.

Glensheen Mansion kitchen

Glensheen Mansion kitchen
Beautiful (and huge) kitchen at Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN.

Glensheen Mansion butler pantry

pantry
Glensheen Mansion’s enviable butler pantry.

Glensheen Mansion bedrooms

Bedroom with formal suit and top hat on the bed and a Christmas tree
Per Victorian customs, wealthier families typically had separate bedrooms for the husband and wife.
Bedroom with a Christmas tree
Touring Glensheen Mansion during Christmas is especially beautiful with 25 decorated trees displayed throughout the historic estate.
Glensheen Mansion canopy bed

Glensheen Mansion living spaces

Christmas tree, sofa and desk
Glensheen Mansion – one of my favorite rooms in this historic estate.
Glensheen Mansion Stained Glass Doors
You’ll find beautiful woodwork and stained glass throughout the historic Glensheen Mansion. The living area includes one of 15 fireplaces in this home.
piano, desk and sofa and Christmas tree
You’ll find a lot of mahogany in the Glensheen Mansion home including the woodwork furniture and custom Steinway piano.
Glensheen Mansion library with books and globe
My absolute favorite room in Glensheen Mansion is the library with its books and globe.

Glensheen Mansion staircases and hallways

Banister decorated for Christmas
You’ll find festive decorations throughout the Glensheen Mansion during the Christmas holiday – so many that they close for a week for planned maintenance and taking down the decor.
Glensheen Mansion back staircase
I’ve always wanted a back staircase and you’ll find one at Glensheen Mansion.
Glensheen Mansion attic stairs
I took the full Christmas tour led by a guide to the third floor and attic. The self-guided tour does not include all these nooks and crannies.
Hallway
Stunning hallways throughout Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN.
Hallway with sofa
More beautiful woodwork and ceilings in this Glensheen Mansion hallway.

Glensheen Mansion travel tips: parking and driving

Best to arrive at Glensheen Mansion from the south (downtown Duluth) and leave going north. It’s nearly impossible to turn safely against the traffic into or out of the Glensheen Mansion parking lot. Not impossible. But takes a long time to find a lull in traffic at certain times of the day. It’s faster to go around the block than wait for traffic to clear.


More Glensheen Mansion photos

I captured dozens (possibly hundreds) of more beautiful photos and will be posting them regularly on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts if you’d like to see more before your Glensheen Mansion tour.


Glensheen Mansion special events

Here are a few special events that Glensheen Mansion hosts throughout the year. Always check their event calendar for the latest updates and schedule. The Glensheen Mansion staff ensures that health and safety measures are in place for all of its fun family, kids and adult activities.

January through March: Snowshoe at Glensheen

One of the top things to do at winter at one of Minnesota’s top places to visit is to snowshoe around the Glensheen grounds – free rentals!

February: Valentine’s Heart Hunt at Glensheen Mansion

Glensheen Mansion is known for its own version of I-Spy like the Valentine’s Heart Hunt. You can search for 12 of these hearts hidden throughout the mansion.

Mid-February to Mid-March: Glensheen’s Leprechaun Hat Hunt

If you’re needing to shake off some cabin fever, tour Glensheen Mansion in February or March and search for 17 leprechaun hats hidden throughout the historic home – their version of I-Spy.

June through August: Glensheen Mansions’ Shark on the Lake happy hour (beverages and ice cream)

June through August: Glensheen’s Shark on the Lake

Bartender wearing a mask at an outdoor bar in front of a shark statue made of wood
Grab a cold drink at Shark on the Lake while touring the gardens and grounds of Glensheen Mansion.

One Glensheen Mansion tour tip: This top historic home does not have central air – no AC. Although they do supply a few fans throughout the mansion, I’m telling you, it can get a little steamy (and I love the heat and humidity). So what better way to cool off than to stop by the Shark on the Lake for a beverage (area craft beers, soda and water) or ice cream?

Summer tip while exploring the Glensheen Mansion grounds (especially near the Lake Superior shore, not so much the gardens): I am a mosquito magnet. And the mosquito is Minnesota’s second state bird (pretty sure). However, I only managed to get four mosquito bites the entire summer in spite of hiking at nearly 20 Minnesota state parks. And that’s only because two bit me through my leggings, which I hadn’t applied any repellent. And the other two bites? In my house and on my deck (I naively thought I was immune to them in my own home for some reason).

And how did I avoid mosquito bites? My friend introduced me to the environmentally friendly and DEET-free Aunt Fannie’s mosquito wipes. I can’t express how much I love this product. Yes, if you click on the link, I will get a small referral credit to use on future purchases. But I would recommend Aunt Fannie’s mosquito wipes regardless.

I see that I digressed a bit there because mosquitoes weren’t an issue at Glensheen (probably because of Aunt Fannie’s mosquito wipes doing their thing); however, those black flies of Minnesota are mean and aggressive and they sting! And they found me. Just a word of caution to wear some kind of black fly repellent. I’ll need to do some research and try it myself before recommending a product.

September and October: Glensheen Mansion Cider Saturdays

Fall is the perfect time to try some of the local Duluth ciders as well as other warm drinks. Glensheen Mansion Cider Saturdays are scheduled (weather permitting) every Saturday afternoon in September and the first three Saturday afternoons in October.

October: Great Glensheen Mansion Pumpkin Hunt

The Great Glensheen Mansion Pumpkin Hunt is a fun family-friendly activity throughout the month of October. During normal tour hours, kids and kids-at-heart can search for all nine hidden pumpkins throughout Glensheen Mansion.

October: Whiskey Wednesdays at Glensheen Mansion

For some grown-up fun, Glensheen Mansion hosts Whiskey Wednesdays every Wednesday evening throughout October (when weather permits – it may be autumn on the calendar, but sometimes winter arrives early). This social-distancing outdoor event is designed for the first-time or veteran whiskey drinkers. Whiskey as well as other drinks such as beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks like water and soda. Additionally, you are welcome to bring your own picnic or order food delivery. However, local food trucks are also onsite for Glensheen Mansion’s Whiskey Wednesdays.

Fun fact: Glensheen Mansion owner Chester Congdon served as a Minnesota State Representative during the prohibition era. He always voted against prohibition. On a semi-related note, find out how you can request a personal tour of a prohibition tunnel in Asheville, N.C. (home of another historic mansion, The Biltmore Estate).

Mid-November through early January: Christmas tours and elf hunt

elf hiding in a dresser bureau
Find all 25 elves hiding throughout Glensheen Mansion mid-November to early January.

Glensheen Mansion really knows how to get into the Christmas spirit. In fact, this is why this historic home is one of the best places to visit in Minnesota. A couple of years ago, Glensheen Mansion even received national accolades as it was voted as one of the best historic home holiday tours by USA Today readers.

My first tour was during December and can vouch first-hand that Glensheen Mansion is pretty magical during the Christmas holiday. Two of the fun holiday features: Find all 25 Christmas trees and all 25 Christmas elves that are hiding (in plain sight) throughout Glensheen Mansion.

December: Christmas Spirt of the Lights at Glensheen Mansion

And, if you’re in need of even more Christmas spirit, check out the Spirit of the Lights on the grounds of Glensheen Mansion. This free event is open to the public during the month of December in the evenings (check calendar for dates and times). I was hoping to catch this after my Christmas tour last year, however, I was helping my son move home from college and another snowstorm was upon us. So I’m hoping to experience Spirit of the Lights at Glensheen this holiday.

Semi-related note: Extend your holiday spirit experience and check out Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights. Normally, this is an opportunity where you can walk through millions of Christmas lights in Duluth’s Canal Park. And one thing that is still on my bucket list! Every time I’ve been in Duluth during the Christmas holiday, it has been brrrrrr-low zero. So I’m hoping to make it to Bentleyville’s Tour of Lights this year – a modified 2020 tour where you can drive through its 5 million lights on 20 acres overlooking Lake Superior.

And on another semi-related note: I’m coming up on my 28th winter in Minnesota. It takes a lot of intentional mindshifting to embrace the wind chills and ice and snow, but I’m learning. Check out my 90 top things to do in winter as well as the most scenic drive in Minnesota – the North Shore begins in Duluth.


Is Glensheen Mansion haunted?

Is Glensheen Mansion haunted? While the tours won’t volunteer information on this question, they will answer it briefly and defer you to a couple of books on the topic that you can purchase from the Glensheen Mansion gift shop. They prefer to keep the tour on point with the scripted guide as the Congdon murders may not be something everyone wants to hear about.

Here’s a brief background on this tragic event. Elizabeth Congdon, heiress to her father’s mining fortune, and her private nurse were found murdered in one of the Glensheen Mansion bedrooms in 1977. Her son-in-law was charged and sentenced to two life sentences (but later released after serving only five years in jail due to a new trial and plea bargain). His wife and one of Elizabeth’s daughters was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, but was acquitted.

Several have reported they’ve seen two women in the bedroom window whiles others have witnessed lights flickering and a mist in the library. I didn’t personally see anything supernatural on either of my tours. But I am a bit of a scared skeptic.

Best historical home tours

Glensheen Mansion ranks right up there in my favorite historical tour list. Here are a few other historical homes that I love (in alpha order as it’s difficult to pick a best of the best.

Best Minnesota historical home tours

mansion
St. Paul, MN’s very own Downton Abbey: James J. Hill House

In addition to Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN, here are a few of the best Minnesota historical home tours I’ve visited so far – many more on the bucket list.

Best historical homes in the U.S.

Front exterior view of the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC
Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is one of the best places to visit in North Carolina.

Here are a few of the best historical home tours in the U.S. and Europe that I’ve visited so far.

  • A Christmas Story House; Cleveland, OH
  • The American Gothic House; Eldon, IA (I grew up less than 20 miles from this home)
  • Anne Frank House; Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Biltmore Estate; Asheville, NC
  • Ernest Hemingway House; Key West, FL
  • Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt Historic Site; Hyde Park, NY
  • Paul Revere House; Boston, MA
  • Samuel F.B. Morse House (Locust Grove); Poughkeepsie, NY
  • The House of the Seven Gables and the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne; Salem, MA
  • Vanderbilt Mansion; Hyde Park, NY
  • The White House; Washington, DC

Pin it for later – Glensheen Mansion Tour

Christmas wreath in window
flowers and lake and mansion and fountain
Pin it for later: View of Glensheen Mansion from the garden
winter bridge covered in snow; mansion covered in snow
Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN: One of the best places to visit in the winter (and summer, spring and fall).

stained glass doors
Visit the most popular historical home in Minnesota: Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN.

Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

92 comments

  1. I am in love with the globe in the pictures. And is it my imagination or does the hallway look a lot like the one in The Shining (ok I may be dating myself on that one LOL). I love the Christmas decor.

    1. Haha! Not dating yourself at all. We actually stayed in a hotel last year (unintentionally) that was reportedly haunted…and the hallway definitely reminded me of The Shining. They really know how to deck out the mansion for Christmas. And I love that globe also!

  2. I had no idea the family had such an interesting story! I would love to see the gardens and beehives! I have always wanted a beehive

  3. What a beautiful mansion! Like you, I love touring places like this and learning all about the history. If I’m up that way I’ll definitely check this out!

  4. This mansion looks so cool. Crazy to think all of that grew around it. That road trip on the coast sounds amazing !!

    1. I need to look at all the photos from back in the day to see how much the area has changed. And the scenic drive along the North Shore of Lake Superior is beautiful beyond words.

      1. Absolutely beautiful in the winter and spring. I love how detailed the house is on the inside and how beautiful the gardens are outside. My favorite is the cow wearing the mask.

  5. Okay, so I am a big Downton Abbey fan, and so old homes like this just make me all giddy inside!
    I’ve never been on a tour of anything like this, but I hope to some day, it’s just beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your visit with us.

  6. Such an in depth and great review of the Glensheen! I’ve visited several times and even attended a wedding and reception on the grounds. I’ve never visited at Christmas time and now I’m inspired to go back; thank you!

    1. Thank you! And I’ve never visited during the warmer months so am definitely returning to tour the grounds. What a perfect venue for a wedding and reception!

  7. Since architecture was my first love I can certainly appreciate this house. It is simply spectacular. It just shows you how our country aristocracy lived. So beautiful.

    1. Oh, if you’re a fan of architecture, you would love the Glensheen Mansion. I especially love all the beautiful woodwork…such artistry and talent!

  8. Oh wow, the mansion looks beautiful decked out for the holidays – and I have to admit, the view of Palisade Head made my jaw drop! but back to the mansion – why the attic? Curious what is up there that they show you.

    1. Thank you! The Glensheen Mansion is pretty spectacular. I didn’t post any photos from the attic (other than the stairs which I loved) as it’s mainly used for storage – including many original pieces of furniture and huge area rugs (they were all rolled up/packed away so couldn’t really get good pics).

  9. Gorgeous place. Inspired by the Tudor’s as in The Tudor family from centuries ago England? There’s so much to see in Minnesota that I keep missing

    1. We need to start partnering up on Minnesota staycations! There’s still so much more for me to explore and I’ve lived here 26 years. Yes, the architecture style is reminiscent of the English Tudor period (1400s-1600s).

  10. I literally have no words for this post! These houses are absolutely breathtaking! There is something about walking into an old home where it just feels like HOME. The woodwork always blows my mind that they could do that kind of detail without the use of modern technology like we have today. Thank you so much for sharing! I will for sure be stopping by these if we are ever in the area.

  11. This post is amazing. I love the details you added for each location. Learning while traveling is usually a must for me unless I’m specifically relaxing. I truly have never seen a picture of Lake Superior and the one you provided is beautiful. Thanks so much for your insight.

  12. Whilst it is beautiful in all seasons, I’d especially love to visit in winter. The snow makes it look even more beautiful. Such interesting history too and the interior is stunning.

    1. It’s definitely a magical place in the winter – and love that most of the furnishings and decor are all original (not replicas). Makes it a very authentic historical home.

  13. I remember you introducing Glensheen in a post about the region and I remember making a mental note about it! The full post is amazing 🙂 It looks stunning at Christmas time. I’d absolutely love to visit!

    1. Thank you. I loved touring at Christmas and then again during the summer as the gardens are beautiful. It’s high on the must-do list when visiting Minnesota.

  14. This is gorgeous! Love the green and this mansion in the snow… and very interesting history!

    Thank you for your beautiful picture as well, we’ll definitely visit if we pass by Minnesota!

  15. I am building a long list of why we need to visit Minnesota when we are free to travel again! I think though that I will save my visit for the summer time! I love that water view from the Glensheen Mansion. Although a Christmas holiday visit would be magical too! P.S. I love the cow with the mask! I see a chair for me with a view out over Lake Superior. Save me a chair.