Sunday, September 9, 2018

North Shore Trip Part 2–Bucket List Item

For the second half of our trip, we rented a wee (and I do mean wee!) cabin right on the shore of Lake Superior.  I wanted a true lake experience for our trip and was fortunate to find this gem had a vacancy for our stay.  That’s no small feat, as the majority of accommodations are booked very steadily.

Cabin 1

Our cabin located in Croftville, MN, just north of Grand Marais.  The ground drops off at the side of the cabin down to the rocky shore.  Yes, the lake is right there!

This cozy abode is just the right fit for us with everything one needs, including lots of windows with lake views and a fire ring! 

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View of Lake Superior from cabin porch

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View of cabin from the beach

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Looking out the kitchen table window

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Start of campfire on arrival night.  First campfire in 4 years!

As you can see, we are right on Lake Superior.  Boy, is it noisy with waves crashing onto the rocky shoreline!  It’s more like being at the ocean shore!  The first night it took me a while to go to sleep, perhaps combined with the excitement of being here.  Last night, well, the waves lulled me to sleep.

Grand Marais is really a tourist mecca, and the cost of food and goods reflects that.  Another factor is that it is really away from cities of any real size.  We’re not really into touristy stuff, spending most of our time here at the cabin.  The “lake experience” is what this is really about for us.

We’ve had campfires both nights so far and will again on this final night here.  This … the sharing of time spent by the fire, the simplicity of just “be-ing” is what makes our memories.

Being here, it’s really about the lake.  She is majestic, powerful, beautiful and fascinating.  And huge! 


Here’s a few Lake Superior fun facts from Lake

World's largest freshwater lake covering 31,700 square miles (82,100 square kilometres), or roughly the size of Maine – and holds 10 percent of the world's surface fresh water.

Length: 350 miles (560 kilometres)

Width: 160 miles (260 kilometres)

Volume: 3 quadrillion gallons, or 2,900 cubic miles (12,100 cubic kilometres)

Shoreline: 1,826 miles (2,938 kilometres)

Average depth: 483 feet (147 metres)

Maximum depth: 1,276 feet (389 metres) - Note: Some sources put it at around 1,333 feet in depth

Note: Another source says it is the size of all the other Great Lakes + 3 additional Lake Eries


We can’t even see the coastline on the other side from here, something one can do at other points.  We also are not on shipping lines (there’s a website for that, too!), so we don’t see ships from here.  Lake Superior has “tides” of a sort twice daily of around 0.5 to 1.5 feet.  Seriously, sounds like one is at the seaside here with the waves crashing against the rocky shore. 

We have had campfires both nights and will again tonight.  Once the fire is out, we enjoy looking at the night sky.  What was that line from 2001: A Space Odyssey – “My God.  It’s full of stars!”  Well, yes, it is. I don’t think either of us can remember a night sky so filled with stars.  It is seriously awesome.  The only thing that would top off our stay here would be experiencing Northern Lights, but that’s not in the forecast.  We were told they appear straight up in the sky, not on the horizon like at home.  Just. Look. Up.

It is simply amazing to be here … this experience.  Wow.

Along the lines of the beach house we rented for some holidays in Cape May during our years in New Jersey, this cabin is a place where we would return.

This trip has been pretty much of one of reconnaissance.  We have learned that we can make the trip here in one day, although it would be a long one.  We know that this cabin is a good fit for us.  We know that we would plan our entire stay here, and would bring our own food provisions and grill to do meals here at the cabin.  Eating out in Grand Marais is extremely expensive and choices are limited.  We find it more relaxing to do our own meals, anyway.  Of course, that doesn’t preclude a trip (or two) to World’s Best Donuts!  Today was our second visit there!

I would like to get up to Grand Portage and perhaps even Thunder Bay in Canada; however, we just don’t have time this trip.  We’ll save that for a future visit!

All in all, we’re having a lovely holiday.  We head home tomorrow.  It’s nice to get away, and it’s nice to return home.  We’ll have two full days before returning to work.

With that in mind, I’m outta here to go soak up the environment!

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay safe out there, okay?

North Shore Trip Part 1–Bucket List Item

One of the things I wanted to do when I lived in Minnesota years ago was a trip to the North Shore, including Grand Marais.  Well, it’s finally happening, albeit 11 years later.  I’m ticking off a bucket list item!

We started last Tuesday, the 4th, with our destination for 3 nights being Two Harbors, MN. 

Lighthouse and ship 2 Harbors 09042018

First evening, down to the harbor

Dave rode his bike each morning, and we had two lovely main meals out during our stay.  The big thing here is the harbor and the iron ore docks, which are still in use today.


Cargo ship taking on iron ore at the docks

Night ship Two Harbors 09062018

Dave having worked in the taconite mines a bit during our time in Hibbing (on the Iron Range) and with his history of being a pipefitter on naval vessels, this was interesting to both of us.  Using a website that lists harbor traffic, we made two attempts at being down at the harbor for their arrivals.  Unfortunately, shipping schedules allow for quite a bit of leeway.  We did get to see one fairly close to the harbor entrance, but its ETA was bumped out a couple of hours, so we decided not to hang around.  Good thing, because the ETA was later extended until 11 PM!  Really was interesting to see one that close, and would have been awesome to get a truly “up close and personal” experience as it entered the harbor but … oh well.

After a relaxing stay in Two Harbors, we headed off on the 2nd part of our adventure up to a cabin on the shore of Lake Superior just outside Grand Marais.  Check-out time at the hotel was 11 AM with check-in at the cabin at 4 PM, so we had 5 hours to travel about 87 miles.  We had plenty of time for stops along the way!

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We stopped at Cascade River State Park and took a short hike to view the falls

Whenever we saw an interesting scenic overlook (and there were a bunch!) along Highway 61, we’d pull over for a bit.  Our next planned stop was Split Rock Lighthouse.

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View of Split Rock from scenic overlook

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View from base of lighthouse

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You’ve probably heard about the Edmund Fitzgerald from Gordon Lightfoot’s song.  Interestingly, the maintenance guy for our community had a grandfather who sailed on the Edmund Fitzgerald, although he was not aboard that fateful night.

Traveling north on 61, Lake Superior is to one’s right. There is so much to see and do, but the predominant feature is the lake herself. 

Lake Super at Knife River 09052018

Lake Superior at Knife River

Looks like this will need to be a two-part effort, so I’ll end here for now!

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay safe out there, okay?