Beyond the simple bliss of getting away from the daily routine for a short while, we found ourselves with more than a few memories to savor now that the long awaited vacation is behind us and that “daily-ness” has set back in. I’m hoping that writing them down will help pack them away in our minds to pull out on cold, winter, blustery days that are sure to arrive before we’re ready for them.
This get-away was to the North Shore here in Minnesota, a favorite destination since childhood. I have great memories of watching the ships come through Duluth Harbor and skipping rocks in the Mighty Superior. Those trips planted a fondness in my heart for our “Norwegian Riviera.” There’s something magical about the North Shore. For me, worries, cares and stress seem to evaporate as I drive north.
On this trip we hoped to focus on some time to relax, read, enjoy God’s creation and scout out fly-fishing spots. Here are a few of the highlights:
• Coming face-to-face with a doe, staring at us from no more than 10 yards away at Fort William in Thunder Bay, Canada.
• The peacefulness that comes when you step onto the Naniboujou grounds. This lodge was first conceived in the 1920s as an ultra exclusive private club. Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Ring Lardner
were among its charter members. The shoreline is one of the best for hours of rock picking. One look at the dining room and you’ll recognize why it is unforgettable in itself. There’s a rich history behind this lodge and we enjoyed reading more about it during our short time there to have a fabulous dinner. If you’re ever in the area on a Sunday, they also serve a delightful afternoon tea of which I have partaken more times than I can count!
• Feet in the bubbling Temperance River. One of my very favorite simple pleasures in life: putting my feet in a running river on a sunny, summer day. My husband kindly encouraged me to indulge in this activity for quite some time.
• An exquisite dinner at the Angry Trout Café. This restaurant is located on the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior in the town of Grand Marais. We got to enjoy a romantic setting on their patio while a full moon made its way high into the starry sky. They feature cuisine with ingredients that come from the surrounding region – locally-grown produce, hand-harvested wild rice and their specialty, fresh Lake Superior fish. Brent loved his trout with corn-on-the-cob, baked potato and salad. Everything was fresh and perfectly prepared. Both
of our plates were nearly overflowing with things like carrots seeminingly picked out of the garden just that day and wild blueberries that more than likely came from a nearby patch. The maple-mustard and basil-tomato dressings were homemade. (I want the recipes!) I had delicious white fish with yummy wild rice. All in all, this was our favorite meal of the trip. Oh, and the cheesecake was tasty too!
• Brent’s favorite coffee spots on the trip were at the Angry Trout (we purchased a bag) and at the Wild Onion Café (Grand Marais) where we had breakfast. This breakfast was nicely done there and reasonably priced with good service. At Papa Charlie’s (Lutsen) we had a decent meal with a really good bottle of wine. And Brent is still licking his chops over the frozen Tiramisu, which includes Kahlua, amaretto, Tuaca (an Italian vanilla liqueur), espresso syrup and vanilla ice cream blended together for a “smooth, creamy libation.” No wonder he’s still talking about it!
• WiFi in Grand Marais and at the Coho Café & Bakery (Tofte). Ok, this may seem to be an oxymoron when you’re traveling the North Shore, but we have to admit, it was nice to pick up the occasional signal.
• Naps next to rushing rivers. There’s nothing like the sound of water pouring over rocks as a perfect match for relaxation. While Brent tossed his line in, I took advantage of the opportunity for some lovely catnaps.
A few of these highlights might show up again in some future posts since they leave out a lot of detail. At the same time, there’s no way to fully reflect the beauty, adventure and quirkiness of the North Shore without taking a trip there yourself. What’s your favorite thing to take in while on the Shore?
(An aside…In a North Shore Google search, I came across a informative blog you might want to check out before your next trip. The most interesting thing I picked up on this “The North Shore…There and Back” site was that the arch at Tettegouche State Park fell last week! Some great shots from MPR.)