Perhaps overshadowed by its larger neighbor, Duluth, Port Superior offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors. Near Barker's Island, visitors will find the Richard Bong Veterans Historical Center which was created to honor the memory of veterans and their sacrifices. Port Superior was a critical support during World War II and the decades-long Cold War. Barker's Island is a popular recreation area for boaters and land-lovers. The eight-kilometer (five-mile) Osaugie Waterfront Trail leads hikers, bikers, and rollerbladers past several waterfront landmarks. Port Superior has some great grills with the world's best hamburgers. In August, visitors come from everywhere to enjoy the Dragon Boat Festival.
Port Superior has a continental climate with short warm summers and long cold winters. Lake Superior influences the Port Superior climate, acting as a source of heat in the winter and a coolant in the summer. Temperatures in Port Superior range from an average high of 20°C (68°F) in July and August to an average low of just over -12°C (10°F) in January. Precipitation varies greatly from winter to summer. Rainfall peaks from June through September, reaching over ten centimeters (four inches) in September and falling to 1.3 centimeters (just over one-half inch) in February. Humidity levels range from a high of almost 90% in September to a low of about 75% in May. Snow falls in Port Superior from early October through late May, peaking at 46 centimeters (almost 18 inches) in January.
Port Superior is home to the only surviving Whaleback cargo steamer in the world. The S.S. Meteor was built in Port Superior in 1896 by Captain Alexander McDougall. She carried cargoes that included iron ore, cars, grain, and oil on the Great Lakes for many years. In 1972, she came home to a permanent berth on Barker's Island. Today, visitors tour the vessel from the pilot house to the cargo holds and peruse exhibits on the ship-building history of the Port Superior and the Port of Duluth and on the many shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. From the middle of May through August, the S.S. Meteor is open Monday through Saturday from 9am until 5pm, and on Sunday it is opens later at 11am. From September until mid-October, she is open during the same hours from Thursday through Saturday. She is closed from mid-October until mid-May. Guided tours are schedule on the hour until 4pm. Admission to the Port Superior's S.S. Meteor is $6 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. Children under six are admitted free of charge.
With beaches, a boat landing, picnic and swimming area, a miniature golf course, and a marina, Barker's Island is the recreation focal point for Port Superior. The Barker's Island Inn Resort & Conference Center is the perfect Port Superior location for vacations, family gatherings, retreats, and business trips and conferences. Rooms have breathtaking views of the sailboats and ocean-going vessels on Lake Superior. Other Barker's Island attractions in Port Superior include the S.S. Meteor, the Barker's Island Marina, the Richard Bong Veterans Heritage Center, and Captain J's Mini-Golf. There are also many facilities for fishing and swimming, hiking and biking, charter fishing trips, and playgrounds on Barker's Island in Port Superior. Locals call the island the "Coney Island for Superior," so you know it is a great place to visit.
At the Port Superior Fairlawn Mansion & Museum, visitors can step back in time in the former home of lumber baron and first Port Superior mayor Martin Pattison. Featured on A&E's America's Castles, the 1890s mansion housed the Port Superior Children's Home and Refuge from 1920 until 1962. The 42-room mansion reflects the prosperity and elegance of Port Superior's boomtown era. Built in the Queen Anne Victorian style, the mansion features a beautiful and prominent front porch, steeply-gabled roof, and contrasting exterior colors and trim. Once slated for demolition, the Pattison house was acquired by the city in 1963 when it was restored and opened as a Port Superior museum. Today, visitors can experience the original splendor of the restored first floor interior. From mid-October through mid-May, Port Superior's Fairlawn Mansion ↦ Museum is open on Saturday from 10am to 3pm (opening at noon from Sunday through Friday). Summer hours are 9am until 4pm from Monday to Saturday and from noon to 4pm on Sunday. The mansion is closed from time to time during regular hours to host private events.
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