Thursday, July 19, 2012

Friday Fun: Minnesota Style ~ North Shore

Minnesota is a diverse state. From the prairies in the south to the lakes and woods in the north, from the river valleys in the east to the prairies and riverbeds in the west, all the way up the North Shore of Lake Superior, this state has something beautiful and unique to offer.

Every summer our family visits the North Shore, which is the area along Lake Superior in northeaster Minnesota. It's a whole different world than the rest of the state.

Sometimes we only make it as far as Duluth, but other years we head all the way up to see Split Rock and even further north to see the breathtaking Gooseberry and Pigeon Falls.

Duluth can be very chilly, even on the warmest days of the year, because of the lake effect. The city sits low in the Lake Superior Basin, so you have to wind your way down the hill to enter it. Often it is twenty degrees cooler at the bottom than at the top. The lake is so large, it feels more like a sea than a lake.

The history of Duluth is vivid and rich and the shipping industry is still thriving to this day. It's a large tourist destination and has great shopping, lodging and attractions.

The Canal Bridge raises high above the lake many
times a day to let ships in and out of the harbor

The S.S. William A. Irvin Ore Boat Museum
in Duluth Harbor

My hubby and kiddos near Canal Park in
downtown Duluth skipping rocks

We were fortunate to see a huge ship come into harbor
while we were in Canal Park

Up the shore about forty miles from Duluth is Split Rock Lighthouse, one of the most popular lighthouses on the Great Lakes. The lighthouse is owned and operated by the Minnesota Historical Society and is one of the most visited sites in the state.

Just a little further up the shore is Gooseberry Falls State Park. Another breathtaking stop in Minnesota.

About an hour and a half further up the North Shore from Split Rock is the town of Grand Marais. I simply love this town. It has all the trappings of a seaside village. It's quaint and slow paced and I always love stopping in the little shops along the waterfront. Here are some of my favorite pictures from my last trip there.

If you head even further north you will eventually hit Canada! But right before you do, you will come to Pigeon Falls. A gorgeous place to hike and enjoy the amazing scenery.

What about you? Do you have a favorite place you visit over and over again? What do you think is the most popular historic attraction in your state?


  1. Love the lighthouse and waterfall!

    I love to visit historic Gettysburg, PA, over and over. We go often.

    In Indiana we have the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy 500 is the largest single day sporting event in the world.

    1. I've been to Gettysburg once and I LOVED it! I dream about going back all the time. Our girls were two years old and four months, so I didn't get to enjoy it like I would now, but it was amazing. The history is more alive in that place than almost any other place I've ever visited. It's thick with something indescribable - like the battle is still being waged.

      I love that you're a living history reenactor, Loree. I have a lot of friends who are reenactors and I've been Evangeline Lindbergh a handful of times when I worked at the Lindbergh Home - but I'd love to get into it more. It's sounds like a fun pastime.

  2. Oh such pretty pictures! A favorite place I once visited over and over again was London...four times in four years...but it's been a few years now and I'm in withdrawal.

    A much cheaper place to visit: my mom and dad's house. It's not like they have mountains in their back yard, just a pretty country setting and ravine in back. But to me, it's peaceful and pretty and just one of my favorite places.

    1. I love London, Melissa, but I've only been there once! I have withdrawl all the time, too, especially when I smell exhaust! We were on a bus tour while we were there and everywhere I went it smelled like exhaust - so whenever I smell it, I'm transported back to London, in a good way! :)

      I love your answer! Going to your parents' house sounds like the best place to go back to over and over again (and I bet they love it, too).

  3. I love Ogunquit, Maine. And loved the pictures...felt like I went right along with you!
    ~ Wendy

    1. Is that where you were visiting last week? I've never been to Maine, but it's on my wish list. The North Shore makes me think of the Maine coast with it's craggy outcroppings of rock and lighthouses. It definitely doesn't feel like a lake! It's so large you can't possibly see across it.

  4. GORGEOUS!! I've always wanted to go up in a lighthouse. I put my characters there instead, but one day...if it wasn't so chilly! You made my heart sink at cold. LOL :)

    1. I've been up into Split Rock Lighthouse quite a few times - I should have posted some of my pictures inside it! It's breathtaking and not that chilly!! :) Like I told Lindsay, it was in the low seventies when we were in Duluth last time and it can still get very warm depending on the day. You Southern girls... *shaking head* ;)

  5. Ooooo, I loved those pictures! The lighthouse looks like something you would use in a novel! :)

    I love to go to Colorado. We used to go there every summer on vacation when I was a girl. We don't do that anymore since we never have enough money, but I hope someday things will pick up and we can start saving for great vacations in a little cabin in the mountains!

    1. Split Rock Lighthouse has such an incredible history - it would be a fabulous addition to a novel. Susan May Warren lives in Grand Marais (so I've been told), which isn't far from Split Rock - I wonder if she's ever included it in one of her stories?

      Colorado is a new favorite of mine, since my sister moved there seven years ago. It's always nice to have a free place to stay when we go - it can get very expensive to travel! She's coming home to Minnesota tomorrow to visit!! I'm so excited to see her. :)

  6. So pretty! I've never been to Minnesota but now I'm thinking I'll have to go sometime! But I agree with Jess. Me no likey the cold. I'm a Phoenix girl, through and through.

    And I'm thinking the biggest attraction in our state is the Grand Canyon. Literally and figuratively speaking. Ba dum dum.

    1. When it's ninty degrees on the "main" land, it might by seventy-two in downtown Duluth, so it's not a bad chilly, just cooler - which a lot of people enjoy about Duluth, especially in the summer months. Most people live up the hill from downtown Duluth, but even then it is usually a lot cooler than the rest of the state.

      When I asked that question above, I thought of you and knew you'd say the Grand Canyon - that's a given in Arizona! I've been to your state, but haven't made it to the Grand Canyon - that would be a sight to behold, for sure!

  7. I've never been to Minnesota, but the lovely pictures make me want to go there. I'm with Sherrinda on this one. Lake City, Colorado has been a family vacation spot for oodles of summers and feeds my soul. Sadly, I haven't been able to go for the past two years. You'be be surprised how many Texans travel that highway to Colorado just to escape the 100 degree temps we have here in the summer.

    If you are coming to the ACFW conference, and I hope you are, you'll get a taste of our summer heat, because it usually extends into mid-October

  8. Having never been to Minnesota, I'm delighting in your beautiful pictures and interesting tidbits. I have several places I love to re-visit, but home is Texas. As a native Texan, I love this amazing state and its diverse geography and populations. HOT in the summer, mild in the winter, and sweet tea served year round. :)


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