12 scenic overlooks.
12 courses of food.
Those are the stats. Here are the details.
We had never driven the entire length of Skyline Parkway, which highlights Duluth’s hillside landscape from end to end, until we recently set out on a progressive picnic.
For the picnic, I put together 12 courses, each in their own brown paper bag so there was an element of surprise at each stop on the Skyline Parkway wayfinding map.
1. Magney-Snively Natural Area – The kids were thrilled with their aperitif of pineapple juice in mini tin cans while we hiked a trail in the old-growth forest.
2. Bardon’s Peak – The view of the St. Louis River was spectacular while we nibbled our first appetizer of mixed nuts.
3. Stewart Creek Bridge – Finley loved the jagged rock teeth along this unique bridge, pretending to be a shark in the picture above, while we enjoyed our second appetizer of pesto tortellini eaten with toothpicks.
4. Spirit Mountain – We ate our salad course of coleslaw under a chairlift, which delighted the kids since there was no snow on the ground.
5. Thompson Hill – Not only did this Travel Information Center offer amazing views of Lake Superior while we dined on our meat course of fried chicken, it had restrooms. Need I say more?
6. East of Haines Road – At this point in our adventure, dusk was arriving. Watching the lights appear across the Twin Ports with the pink glow of the sun setting while enjoying our vegetable course of Italian veggies was a memorable experience.
7. Enger Park – The highlight of this stop was how excited our children were to eat our starch course of bread sticks. Seriously. Who would have thought long, slender, crunchy bread sticks would bring such joy.
8. Twin Ponds – Our navi-guesser, Tim, neglected to say this was a stop, so we drove right past the ponds and had to eat our cheese course of string cheese in the car.
9. Chester Park – When we arrived here, it was now dark. We ate our fruit course of peaches while the kids played on the merry-go-round. Playing in the dark made for some newfound fun at a familiar park.
10. Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve – We ate our first desert course of chocolate chip cookies while gazing up at the stars from the ridge. Daley thought the big dipper looked like a shopping cart.
11. Seven Bridges Road – Like the bread sticks, our second dessert course of mini cannoli was so exciting the kids focused all their attention on this treat and none on the scenic bridges.
12. Brighton Beach – We ended our excursion with a digestif of hot cocoa on the beach while listening to the waves crash in the dark.
While the adventure took much longer than planned (it got progressively later, progressively darker, and progressively colder), it was worth every minute and every stop.
Have you driven Skyline Parkway from end to end? Share your experiences in the comment box below. Thanks!