For new Dish readers who just discovered us through the Beast, every week we hold a contest to see who can guess the location of a reader-submitted window view. We post a new one every Saturday at noon – see here for the latest example and an explanation of the rules. On Tuesday we post the results and the winner gets a free The View From Your Window book, a curated compilation we published through Blurb, a print-on-demand company. Regarding the above photo, a reader writes:
My first thought was: This one is impossible. With more examination, however, details start to emerge … ice, bare deciduous trees, a barrier island, some industry, a distant shore, and the view is from some open-air rustic (stone?) lookout with a railing at a high vantage point. So my second thought was: it should be fairly easy to find this with a little searching for high-latitude barrier islands on bodies of water about 10 to 15 miles across. Alas, after spending a long time searching northern and southern maps, I have to return to my first thought: This one is impossible!
Still, a guess: Somewhere on the St. Lawrence River, perhaps near Trois Pistoles, Canada?
My first thought was, "That looks like the far north end of Northernmost Northlandia." Since I actually have no idea where it is, I googled "Northernmost Town in the World," and the answer was Hammerfest, Norway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it – like a warm tongue to a frozen lamp post in Hammerfest.
I've tried to guess before (ALWAYS wrong) but this is the first time I'm sending in an actual entry. My guess is Pickering, Ontario. This looks like freshwater to me, and the ice is familiar from my documentation of ice on Lake Michigan (I take and post a picture of Lake Michigan nearly everyday, in all seasons). The "silo" in the front looks vaguely like the Pickering nuclear power plant (but not really). I'm going to Toronto tomorrow, so I will look for something like this from the air above one of the three Great Lakes I'll be flying over and resend with a more accurate guess!
I just returned to the US after spending three years in Tromso, Norway, so that's my guess. Located about 200 miles above the Arctic Circle, Tromso is a beautiful, modern city of nearly 70,000 inhabitants with more than 90 different nations represented. It boasts over 100 pubs and restaurants and was Norway choice for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Damn you people!
I got excited because I recognized the grain elevator as a decent clue. I then proceeded to waste an hour searching for a matching google image or an obvious match to the landscape to no avail. And really, who am I kidding? I am a novice in a field of expert window finders. All that being said, I'll be damned if I spent an hour hopelessly searching only to not make a guess: Sandusky Bay, Ohio?
I figure the clue here is the window itself – small, rough-hewn and with a bar across it, which made me think of an old fort or something like that. It's quite high up, so probably on a hill or mountain. After using Google and Wikipedia to search for old forts in Canada and Alaska, I became disheartened by the sheer volume of them. I don't know how some of these contestants manage it.
For a while I thought it was Sitka, Alaska – coincidentally, the site of Michael Chabon's alternate-universe Israel in The Yiddish Policeman's Union. It has the right geographical features but, alas, no forts. After twenty minutes I have given up, and I'm prepared to be astounded by the frightening deduction skills of whoever wins this one.
OK, I think I've now seen photos of every grain elevator on every shore of every Great Lake, but I still couldn't find the one in this photo! Clueless city boy that I am, it's probably not even a grain elevator. Anyway, I'm sticking with the Great Lakes, specifically Superior, so this week's wild guess is Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Of course it could just as easily be Duluth, Minnesota …
Yes it could be:
I got this one, since I lived in Duluth for 23 years. The body of water in the foreground (frozen) is the Duluth Harbor. The strip of land is known as "Park Point". Beyond the strip of land is the western end of Lake Superior.
A few dozen readers correctly guessed Duluth. One writes:
Access to the neighborhood is via the Duluth Lift Bridge (itself a unique piece of engineering). All residents of Park Point have a ready-made excuse for being late- you just have to say "I got bridged" and everyone knows what it means (that the bridge was up to let boats through, interrupting all traffic across that only connection with the mainland).
Another sends a photo of the lift bridge. Another sends an impressive view of the grain elevator:
To the right is a park that provides access to the beach where my family has had some very happy times. Nice white sand and plenty of drift wood to build a fire with. The water is more invigorating than what you would want to spend much time in, but it's tolerable in August. The stretch of sand on Minnesota Point, upwards of 6-7 miles long, is the longest freshwater sand beach in the world. The French explorers who first saw it are reported to have been astonished by all that sand.
This is going to be easy from basically anybody from Duluth. This view is from the SE side of Enger Tower, in Enger Park. The strip of what appears to be open water in the harbor means the picture was taken in the last few weeks. If you look closely, you can see the R/V Blue Heron in the harbor, the University of Minnesota's research vessel, from which I do much of my research.
The tower was visited this week by emmisaries from Norway and will be rededicated later this year by his King Harald. Now I know what I'm doing this afternoon; I've not visited Enger park since last fall. I'll let you know which window this is.
The 5-story, stone Enger Tower was dedicated by Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1939. Its gradual deterioration mirrors the general decline of Duluth, the leading seaport at the head of the Great Lakes. For Sinclair Lewis, in Babbitt, Duluth had been "the Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas."
The picture is not likely to have been taken this year, as Enger Tower is currently undergoing renovation. If it was taken this year, it was taken by part of the construction crew.
Another sends an old postcard from Duluth:
Having skied the UP of Michigan the first time this past winter and the week I spent up there has left me convinced that any VFYW of an icebound shoreline has to be Lake Superior, so I saw this week's contest and concluded immediately that this is Duluth. I guess I've got nothing special to contribute here, apart from an inexplicable desire for my snowy and cold week in the UP to have given me some sort of Great Lakes shoreline spidey sense. It'd also be fun to prove you can win this contest in under ten minutes without an all-singing, all-dancing multimedia spectacular to prove the answer correct.
Speaking of which:
Wow, I thought this one had us. It's so grainy and the black interior dominates the image. But we concentrated on two things: ice melting and the silo. Sounds like Great Lakes to us! Off we went scanning the coastlines looking for peninsulas. Finally, after making it all the way to Niagra and around from an Ohio start, Duluth looked just right.
The silo was easy to identify, so the hunt was on for the photo spot. We knew it had to be pretty high, so the line through Enger tower made it obvious. A quick check of the observation windows confirmed it. The photo was taken from Enger Tower, Enger Tower Dr, Duluth, MN, probably from the highest window (not the top deck) facing east.
Enger Tower commands a fine view over Duluth Harbor and St. Louis bay. The hill and 80' of tower brings the altitude to 531' above Lake Superior. Enger Tower was dedicated by Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway on June 15, 1939 in honor of Bert Enger, a native of Norway who came to the US and became a successful furniture dealer.
Since you liked the collage I sent last week, I thought I'd include another:
Since that reader also nearly won the contest from Cartagena last week and was the only Duluth guesser to have guessed a difficult window in the past without winning, she receives the prize this week.
See everyone else for the next contest at noon on Saturday!
One final, last-minute submission:
You've selected a photo for this week's contest that befits the name of your new digs; it was a real Beast. This is my first attempt at a public guess after playing along since the beginning, and even before. (I was one who also kept the location hidden and tried to guess every day before you started the contest.)
I almost gave up on this week's photo, and then it hit me. Although I never saw the inside – only the outside – this had to be a photo taken from the inside of what used to be my future wife's room. And she confirmed it with a picture from her scrapbook that her chambermaid took shortly before I made land in my ship and clambered up the side of her father's lighthouse (most people think it was a castle tower) to elope with her:
I had to cut her hair short and tie it to the bar over the window so we could make it back down. But it grew back.