I have a love affair with Minnesota’s North Shore.
My love for it is still in the new, passionate stage. I know there are many who have a tried and true relationship with the North Shore. Theirs is the kind of love that knows every nook and cranny, every beautiful spot and tourist attraction. They know the secret places.
I’m not there yet. My love is young and passionate. It’s still in the discovery stage.
I’ve been to the North Shore a total of 7 times. Twice were day trips.
The first time I went Tom and I had been married just 4 months. He worked hard to talk me into tent camping up at a place I’d never heard of called the North Shore. Lutsen, to be specific. Ok, I thought. Are there showers? Yes? Alright, I’ll go.
It was October and the forecast looked chilly. It snowed. I was unimpressed and cold. Too cold to even look around and notice my surroundings. The showers were in an unheated 32 degree bathroom. When can we go home?
The next time we talked about going up North I had some input. One non-negotiable piece of input to be exact: No camping. And Tom, being the good sport he is, (and secretly happy that I hadn’t sworn it off altogether after the snowy-camping-night-of-freezing-torture experience) said, “No problem!”
That being the case, I have no idea how we ended up tent camping again on our next trip after the brrrrr, when-can-I-go-home trip. I must have been having a really really good day to go for that. Not to mention that this time we were camping with three kids ages 4, 2, and 1. Nevertheless, we had the best time.
And I suppose the rest is history. We’ve gone back each year since (not camping). We usually spend almost a week in Lutsen (not camping) and the kids beg to stay there forever. That idea sounds pretty good to me too (not camping).
There is something so captivating about Lake Superior. It’s not like any other lake. Nor is it like the ocean. It’s the best of both, but somehow completely unique. I just stare and stare and stare at it.
When we drive around I’m always trying to catch a glimpse of it: a new view, a different look. They’re all beautiful.
The hikes are like something out of Middle Earth, not Lothlorien, no, they aren’t that dramatic. But more of a combination of The Shire and Rivendell, only they go by the names of Cascade and Temperance.
To describe the North Shore in a word is: magic. The food tastes better there (especially The World’s Best Doughnuts). The sky is brighter. The water is more like water ought to be. It’s like stepping out of the wadrobe and into Narnia. Only the wadrobe is the big fog-horn city of Duluth. And it leads you to a different MN world.
Which is why I have a love affair with the North Shore. It’s like stepping into the best story. A story I want to revisit as often as I can. I want to keep dipping my toes in.
And hopefully in 10 or 20 years my love affair will be more of that tried and true kind of love. The kind that knows every nook and cranny. But I’m not hurried to get there. I just want to enjoy discovering and uncovering the places that will be my secret spots.
Have you been to the North Shore? What’s your favorite place?
PS. A post about my love affair with the North Shore would be incomplete if I didn’t mention the Alpine Slide, which is two and a half minutes of sheer high speed enjoyment.
Ah, North Shore, when will I see you again?