So, how many of you have visited one of the Great Lakes? *most hands shoot up*
How about Lake Superior? *several hands drop*
How about the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota? Anyone? I’d love to hear about it if you have! It’s supposedly the most pristine of the Great Lakes.
Since we can’t afford flights and fancy things, it’s an annual trip for us (yeah, we STARTED the Staycation trend…). We rent a beautiful home/cabin and usually bring an assortment of family and friends with us. We left late last Thursday and arrived around midnight, and we came back on Monday. Out of all the varied terrain in Minnesota (the many smaller lakes, the plains, the lush valleys, the iron range, the forests and small mountains), I think the north shore is my favorite. There comes a point mid-state where the trees begin thickening, crowding in on the freeway, and conifers overpower the deciduous. The land becomes rocky and rugged along the shore. The temperatures are mild year-round, almost like San Diego except with lots of snow in the winter. Okay, 20 degrees is mild for me. I’m Minnesotan, remember?
There are always things to do up there—festivals and competitions, museums and good restaurants, camping and hiking, and of course my favorite: sit and stare at the lake. This year’s trip was no exception. We had along several of our small group friends, my sister-in-law and a friend of hers, and my BFF from California (I know!), who we’ll call Ginger, since I don’t know if she wants her name mentioned on my blog. It was the first time Ginger had gotten to meet my daughter, so I was very pleased that they seemed to get on just fine. In fact, here’s a photo of the two of them:
And one of my BFF and me…this photo makes me laugh. Husband took it, and the sun must’ve gotten in his eyes. But we’re being dorks. And we are dorks, so it’s very natural. Enjoy this, because I rarely post photos of myself here. Also, we haven’t showered, so cut us some slack. 🙂
Other highlights of the weekend included:
– Lunch at Coho Café (I’ve eaten there thrice and never been disappointed).
– Wild Country Maple Syrup Farm. Don’t even TRY to find it without directions (even with them it’s tough), but it’s got over 12,000 tapped maple trees hooked up to a vacuum system. They have retailers listed at their website. We have yet to find a syrup we like better. In fact, they’re what made us give up Log Cabin (which is not real syrup, in case you didn’t know).
– The “Fisherman’s Picnic” Festival in Grand Marais, where we saw tough people sawing logs (really, not sleeping) and having log-rolling competitions.
– Pigging out at the cabin, where we took turns preparing meals.
– Eating at The Angry Trout Cafe in Grand Marais (Husband kept screwing up the name and calling it other, funnier things like “The Crabby Walleye”). I had a lake trout sandwich, if you must know. And their tartar sauce? YUM.
– Sitting on the deck chatting with friends.
– Just plain driving along the north shore. It’s beautiful.
– Did I mention that we ate? Yep, gained 3 lbs. in as many days.
– That we couldn’t stay longer.
– The Portland Malt Shoppe in Duluth upped its prices. It’s now $5.95 for a fairly small malt. We probably won’t be stopping there again.
There you have it—our summer vacation in a nutshell. What have you done this summer? Do you have any traditional things you do?