After a night of camping and two nights hiding out at a ski resort in Lutsen to wait out some rain, we headed up to Grand Portage. Grand Portage is within spitting distance of the Canadian border, and is part of a tribal reservation. Our choices for accommodation in Grand Portage were a casino hotel room or a wonderful 3-bedroom cabin overlooking Lake Superior. Guess which we picked? We were in the middle of nowhere – no cell service at all – not only no internet, but no phone service AT ALL!).
The resort was called Hollow Rock, named after a rock just off the shore.
While in Grand Portage, we spent a rainy day at Grand Portage National Monument, learned more about the Voyageurs, who met at Grand Portage (and had to portage their canoes for 8.5 miles – the “big” portage) and swapped beaver pelts for finished goods. It was nice to build on what we learned at Voyagers National Park. We also hit a few more state parks and a National Park.
One of my favorite spots we visited on the North Shore was at Grand Portage State Park. This park was actually within view of the Canadian border, and the border of the state park is the national border with Canada. Also, interestingly, this is the only state park in the nation that is managed in partnership with a local Native American band (The Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe). In this park is the tallest waterfall in the state (120 feet).
I made the boys pose in front of the High Falls, and they weren’t super happy to be getting sprayed by the waterfall 🙂
We also drove down to Grand Marais, the “big town” in the area (population – 1,300). But before you scoff, you should know that it was named “America’s Coolest Small Town” in 2015 by Budget Travel. It is a cute little town, we had a nice dinner, enjoyed some donuts and ice cream (two different days – we aren’t that bad!) and spent lots of quality time on the beach climbing on rocks and searching for agates.
And, because the North Shore is just cool like that, we stopped at a random wayside for some more agate hunting, rock climbing and skipping rocks.
We also headed back to Lutsen to take the boys on the Alpine Slide, since it was raining too hard when we stayed there.
We also stopped at yet another state park (hey – I said we went to all of them, and I meant it! We lived it, all you have to do is read through our highlights). This one was Judge C.R. Magney State Park (how is that for a catchy name?) The highlight of this park is Devil’s Kettle, a waterfall that is famous for the mystery surrounding it – where does the water go?! The river falls over rocks, half goes into a hole and the other half continues on down the river to eventually end up in Lake Superior. Where does the other half of the water go? Nobody knows! (actually, sounds like they may have solved the mystery. Are there no surprises left in this world?)
Is this enough adventure for one blog post? Our fun on the North Shore isn’t done yet, so stay tuned! Spoiler alert: Wolves (well, a wolf talk anyway), camping – did we make it this time?, a National Park that almost had miniature moose, and, of course, more state parks!