Last weekend for our 3rd anniversary we packed up the minivan and headed north. The plan? Explore the north shore of Lake Superior. That was all we knew. The unpredictability of the baby made it hard to have any solid plans.
And that really worked out well.
Parenthood is challenging, in a thousand different ways, but for me particularly, accepting that I can’t control everything, or even most things, is an incredible hurdle to leap. I guess I was always a bit testy, but the hormones, the loss of sleep, and a plan gone off the rails? I get terribly agitated, which is a great understatement.
I had visions in my head of beautiful sun kissed afternoons and us on the craggy rocks overlooking Lake Superior, on hours-long hikes, while the baby happily snoozed and we took little breaks to have a picnic of cheeses and salmon spreads. But the forecast indicated a much different trip, one with coldness and rain. Everything we wanted to do was more or less set in the outdoors. If the weather was shit, the trip would be RUINED. I tried not to get bummed about the trip before it even started, but it was hard.
But, back to this trip. It actually turned out really great! We had one day of really crap weather but still managed to go out and do some stuff. Our little lakeside condo at Bluefin Bay was cozy and spacious. We don’t feel any time was wasted, which in my mind, means the trip was a huge success.
Day 1 was spent driving, walking around Canal Park in Duluth. We ate lunch at Northern Waters Smokehaus and grabbed beers at Canal Park Brewery . We then took a pit stop at Tettegouche State Park. We stayed at Bluefin Bay for the trip.
Day 2 started sunny, but quickly turned to rain. We rode the new gondola at Lutsen and got lunch and beers at the Summit Chalet. Later on, we took Alex swimming for the first time in the hotel pool.
Day 3 we got breakfast at Coho Cafe (and every morning subsequently!) and hiked around Temperance River State Park in the drizzle. After naps, we ventured to Grand Marais to eat lunch at The Angry Trout and explore Artists’ Point. Before heading back we got beers at Voyageur Brewing. And later, more swimming!
Day 4 we went to Cascade River State Park, followed by lunch at Cascade Restaurant.
Day 5 we packed up and headed home with a brief pit stop at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.
It’s easy to forget how much beauty is in your own state. I can’t recommend the North Shore enough for a family getaway. I think going later in the summer would’ve given us a wider range of opportunities for activities, but I’m glad we got to go when it was still pretty quiet and cool.