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26 September 2012

North... to Minnesota

We pondered many options when planning our little early fall get-away vacation. Now that I think of it, though, it was always North -- we never really considered heading East or West or South.

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We knew we'd drive and that we had a week -- it was Fall Fest at the Farmers' Market on Saturday, so Sunday was departure day. We knew we'd want to return on a Saturday so we'd have a buffer day on the other side.

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We thought of Toronto -- and Canada in general. Toronto is actually ever-so-slightly south-east of us, but Canada... you know? It's just North!

The Maritimes *sigh* always on my list. Can't be done from here in a week, though.

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We thought of going around Lake Superior, retracing the steps of a trip my dad took us on when I was about 12. We thought of going around other lakes -- smaller ones -- Michigan, Huron.

I didn't think a week was enough for any of it. I like driving vacations, but not vacations when there's nothing but driving!

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We settled on going part-way around Lake Superior -- the east end -- with the North Shore as our destination. We'd have the option of going to Canada (Thunder Bay or Nipigon) if we wanted. I remembered that Kathy camps on the North Shore and that Holly's been there and even had a favorite place to stay.

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It actually turned out pretty great for a lot of reasons -- #1 being visiting some folks. My cousins Gail & Gordy live/work in Duluth; their dad, my Uncle Cliff, recently moved into a Memory Care unit at a facility in Superior; my Uncle Bob lives half-way between Superior and my sister Karen's, and we planned to spend our last night away at Karen's on the way home.

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We'd booked our lodging in Grand Marais, MN, for Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, playing everything else by ear as we hit the road on Sunday morning.

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We took US 51, a familiar route north, but we were in unfamiliar territory once we passed the turn-off to County Road FF at Mercer. We pretty much kissed the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at Ironwood, then took a left toward Ashland.

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And then to Bayfield, where all of these photos were taken, and where found a place to spend the night. And not just any old place! It wasn't the first place we called because it's so well known and I doubted there'd be a vacancy, but lo and behold...

While there wasn't any room at The Inn, there was a room at another of their properties, Le Chateau Boutin. Some might think of it as second fiddle, but it was simply gorgeous! That's it up there. Oh, the porch was spectacular! It was nice enough on Sunday evening for sitting (and knitting) and we both thought it was way better than the (first fiddle) Rittenhouse porch. Our bedroom -- oh! With a real fireplace in front of which we cozied up to watch a burning log. The view through the windows is from the bed. Yeah. I could wake up to that every morning!

We walked down to a cute place called Maggie's, on Manypenny Avenue, for dinner. (I love saying, "Manypenny Avenue.") There are a million fabulous places to eat up there. I see now that Wild Rice must be related to Maggie's. I was vaguely aware that it was up there somewhere, having seen it on an episode of Wisconsin Foodie a while back, but couldn't remember... and I guess I didn't really try. It gives me a reason to return.

In the morning, we walked over to the Rittenhouse Inn for breakfast (I sat next to that glorious fireplace). Most of these sky views are from the iron bridge between Le Chateau and The Inn. Then we walked downtown and peeked into a couple of shops.

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I was surprised by the size of the upstairs yarn shop at Brownstone Centre, and with a good selection of commercial yarns. Alas, I didn't make any purchases there. We went next door for a good cup of coffee, up the hill to an orchard where we bought a big bag of Cortlands, and hit the road!

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The weather was great, though definitely fall.

Have I mentioned that I fell in love with a lake?

 

Comments

No wonder you are having trouble coming back to reality. What a great vacation spot. I felt like I had a little vaca just reading the blog post.

Is that MY lake I spy.... LOVE that lake!

It looks and sounds just wonderful!

Sounds wonderful... but you know that spot a little south-east, Toronto, would have been really good because then we may have met in the flesh! So, maybe next time?

What a great guest house! Lovely vacation -- more photos as you progress around the lake?

There are few places on earth where one can relax like the North Shore. That big lake that is more like a sea, Canada and the wilderness it represents feeling so close...ah!

Great photos - thanks for the mini-vacation!

I ate at Maggie's when I was there last month! We were on a day trip with a few other people from the motorcycle rally. One of the couples is from Thunder Bay, and they had stayed in Bayfield before, and liked Maggie's.

P.S. I had the "President Burger", and it was excellent.

I'm relaxed just reading and looking at your photos.

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