Hotel in a Brewery Built in the 1800s

I was home from Canada for a day, then got up at 3 to catch a 6AM flight to Chicago. I’m doing presentations at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, on the banks of Lake Superior this coming weekend. It’s an institution I’ve always admired. (Check out their classes.)

   I had to catch a flight from O’Hair to Duluth and we landed late, so I ran with luggage about a mile and got to the gate just as it was closing, last one on plane, phew! A friend from a past life (in Baja), Peter Kohlsaat, lives in Milwaukee and has a cabin in Duluth, and I was invited to dinner. I ended up staying at the Fitger Hotel and Brewery, which is in an ancient stone building on the lake; the brewery dates back to the 1850s. For an extra $10, I got a room looking bout at the expanse of Lake Superior. I had an hour to kill before going to Peter’s, so got a Hempen Ale (among the ingredients are hemp seeds) at the bar. A guy down the bar said “Are you Lloyd?” I mean here in the middle of Minnesota. Turns out he is Peter’s fishing partner, and we had met in Baja in years past.

   People are really friendly here. It’s a relief to get away from the Calif/NY coasts, to get a different perspective. There’s an America out here that I still love, in spite of — well, you know…

   Had a great dinner, including a killer Key Lime pie, with Peter and Cindy. Who, it turns out, have a house filled with vinyl records, and we had a lively conversation, with music playing, of music and musicians we all loved. Including Duluth’s own Bobby Zimmerman and, factoid of the day: I took Minnesota Highwy 61 to get to Peter and Cindy’s…

  I’m looking out the hotel window at this vast (and clean, I’m told) lake, getting ready to go shoot some photos in Duluth. I saw some beautiful buildings yesterday, stonework like you don’t see out west…

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

One Response to Hotel in a Brewery Built in the 1800s

  1. Hope you have a good time in Minnesota. Be sure to pick some Lake Superior Agates, and check out the surf if the waves produce. I am a longtime follower of your blog, and wish I could attend the session at
    North House.
    Safe travels,
    Jason Bradley
    Brainerd, Mn

Leave a Reply