Third Trip Up to the North Shore

We were up on the North Shore again last week and even though it rained a majority of the time I still really enjoyed myself. I didn’t mind the light mist while walking through the woods of the Superior National Forest at all actually. In fact, it kind of added to that almost mystical-feeling element that I can only describe as “Lord of the Rings-esque” one might feel while hiking on such lush, mountainous , lake-scented terrain. I wouldn’t have minded getting a nice sunrise photo out of the deal, but came close enough on our last day.

I still want to live in this area someday but my husband says we need to visit the area in the winter first before even really discussing it further. I don’t think I would mind the cold too much. It is 97 degrees here today in the Twin Cities and when I looked on the map to check Grand Marais it said it was only to reach 68 degrees. I’d be fine with that in the summer. In the winter it just gives me an excuse to do more sewing, crafting, reading and baking. All of my favorite things anyway.

I was lucky enough to catch the lupines in full bloom. I just love these ethereal flowers and they were scattered all along the roadside on our drive up between Duluth and Lutsen. These were shot on the grounds of Lutsen Resort, where we stayed in a log cabin. The resort was great, I will definitely go back.

This gigantic poppy was also on the grounds there:

Probably one of the most fun things to do was also one of the most simple: Sit and watch the waves!

The overcast also made it ideal for shooting waterfalls:

We were able to find many locations of “hidden away” waterfalls by borrowing this book from my mom: Gentle Hikes: Minnesota’s Most Scenic North Shore Hikes Under 3 Miles since we had the kids with us we weren’t able to do any “serious” hiking but that’s okay- even the gentle hikes were more than we bargained for and my brother actually fell a few times LOL but he’s tall and lanky and I’m sure the fact that he was usually carrying two cameras and a tripod didn’t help him with his balance at all.

Visiting Grand Marais was definitely a highlight of the trip. It’s a somewhat spendy little town for trinkets but stick to the Ben Franklin (which actually sells Carhartt and Uggs) and The World’s Best Donuts (they are) and you’ll do just fine. Sven and Ole’s Pizza was spendy too but worth it. The highlight for food in Grand Marais however was the Angry Trout Cafe. I don’t normally eat a lot of fish but something about being on that big lake was making me crave fish n’ chips so I ordered it at the Angry Trout. It’s sustainable, organic, incredibly delicious and they use wind-powered electricity. Our table of 5 all agreed it was some of the best food any of us have eaten and my husband was really happy with his maple vanilla soda. Embarrassingly enough my brother ordered a Pepsi when we sat down but the server was so kind in explaining they make their own organic soda on-site and wasn’t the least bit condescending like some of the servers at places like that can be. Big fat tip for him! Also, the picture at the top of this post is the Angry Trout’s delivery bike.

I could barely finish my giant pieces of perfectly fried cod or waffle “chips” but packing it up to go wasn’t an option as we had more exploring to do. Next stop was Cutface Creek Wayside Park for a little rock hunting. with a name like that, who can resist stopping?

The amount of rocks on these shores is amazing. Some people collect them, some people just look at them, and some people stack them:

This is a very small scale example, there are much larger ones you can see on the sides of the road from your car.

We also really enjoyed going to this kinda dive of a place on the Canadian Border called Ryden’s. Pick up whatever trinkets you need up there and exchange some money for the kiddies. The staff there were really niceĀ  and friendly too, especially the man I asked about The Witch Tree. A tree that grows out of bare rock is just amazing to me and you see a lot of that on the North Shore- scenes that seems to defy nature.

On our way back down the shore to Lutsen, I stopped in the middle of the road (traffic is very sparse up there) for this shot of a fox running down the side of the highway of all places. From a distance we weren’t exactly sure what it was.

Back to the cabin for toasting marshmallows and sitting by the fire:

Of course on the day we left the sun was out and it was pretty as can be for the boats to come out.

But really, on the North Shore it can be sunny, overcast, rainy or downright blizzard-like, it’s still always beautiful here.