Every August since 2007, my parents, my siblings, and our families go on a three-day getaway somewhere within a few-hours drive of the metro. We have stayed at Superior Shores in Two Harbors, Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior, Crooked Willow Lodge in Alexandria, and Fillenwarth Beach Resort on West Lake Okoboji, Iowa. This year the winner was a three-bedroom townhome, complete with amazing lakeviews, at Bluefin Bay in the Lutsen/Tofte area.
I will never—as long as I live—get tired of the North Shore. It’s such a beautiful place. Not only is the scenery spectacular, but there are so many things to do. There were 10 people in our group, ranging in age from one to 61, and not once did I hear the complaint “I’m bored.” We hiked along the Superior Hiking Trail, shared fantastic pizza at the Coho Café (I highly recommend the margherita fresca), visited the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum, strolled along the Tofte Lakewalk, played Quelf (one of the craziest board games I have every played), and listened to a talented singer/guitarist sing Gordon Lightfoot songs while roasting s’mores over a campfire on the beach. Nothing like listening to “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” while sitting just feet from Lake Superior. I’ve never really listened to the words of that song and wow. What an emotional tribute in response to a terrible tragedy—a reminder of the incredible power of the “big lake.”
My four-year-old, Adam, was content throwing rocks in the lake (I’m surprised he didn’t throw out his arm), my one-year-old Ben would’ve been happy to swing, swing, swing at the playground, and I was excited to try a free yoga class one morning while my husband Aaron took advantage of the free bike rental—with attached Burley carrier for the kids—and pedaled along the paved Gitchi-Gami State Trail. No one in our group felt deprived of their favorite vacation activities. My brother and sister-in-law channeled their inner Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams on the on-site tennis court (and challenged Aaron and I to a hilariously bad game of doubles), my dad and brother were psyched to go on a Lake Superior fishing trip through Tofte Charters—my dad even caught a 10-pound lake trout, which we grilled for dinner that night—my 18-year-old niece was all about the heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and my mom was just happy to spend so much quality time with the family (while enjoying the occasional glass of wine from our deck overlooking Lake Superior).
I can’t say the trip was relaxing for me (other than the yoga), since chasing a very, very active toddler is exhausting (insert a few more “VERYs” for the full effect), but it was so nice to get away for a few days, enjoy the beauty and fresh air of the North Shore, and create a special family memory that will stay with me until I’m old and grey. Without a doubt, vacationing at Bluefin was one of the highlights of my summer. And based on the sheer number of activities that are available year-round, I can imagine it is the highlight of those vacationing there in the fall, winter, and spring as well. I can’t wait to go back.