Growing up in Minnesota, everyone always refers to "up north" and you know exactly what they're talking about. Lakes, cabins, forest...basically pure goodness. We made two short trips "up north" on this visit home, one to my husband's family cottage and the other for a camping trip to my favorite place in the whole world - the North Shore of Lake Superior. The North Shore is special to a lot of Minnesotans; I think because it's just so different from everywhere else in the landlocked Midwest. It truly has a north-Atlantic vibe about it, and I have been up every year since I was a baby. It's cold (usually), breezy, rocky, and beee-utiful. The lake just has this presence about it - sort of like the ocean, but somehow more...melancholy? if that makes sense. Anyway, it is my favorite place in the whole wide world, and is very special to me. I was married on its shore, my mom's ashes are scattered here, and many, many, many happy memories take place here.
We camped for two nights at Cascade State Park way up near Grand Marais (about an hour from the Canadian border). On the way up we stopped and ate at one of our very favorite brew pubs, Fitgers Brewery (the mister and I are brew pub connoisseurs...although I don't like beer...go figure!) and I inevitably took a nap in the car. The things you HAVE to do at the North Shore are (in no particular order)
- walk out to the end of a lighthouse pier
- skip stones in the lake
- hunt for agates
- stick your feet in the 40* water - if only for a second!
We cooked dinner over the fire, went on some lovely treks, and poked around a few cute shops in Grand Marais. I think my favorite thing that we did on this trip was a short hike out to an old beaver pond along the Superior Hiking Trail. There were so many butterflies out there - nuts! Someday I'd like to hike the entire Superior Hiking Trail, or else rent a tiny cabin along the shore and hole up for at least three months, just watching the lake and taking it slow. Dreams! :)
I did 101 fun things while we were back in Minnesota (including getting my nose pierced! Eeeee!), and perhaps I'll share a few more. BUT I also have a million good ideas for posts I also want to share, so we'll see what I get to. That's one of the great things about vacation - time to reflect and recharge! I also got a new camera - a DSLR - and I'm excited to experiment with my photos a bit more! My new blog design went up like the second day I was on vacation, so I may be playing with things a bit more now that I'm back. Don't worry if certain things look wonky for a bit while I figure things out and change a few others. Please let me know if there's anything you like or dislike though!
The next six weeks will be B A NA N A S for me as we get ready for our upcoming move to Seattle. So much to do...! I wish I could stop time and just have it all go in slow motion for awhile.
shanti >> sondra