I send Christmas cards to friends on the East and West coasts, and whenever they’re considering a trip to Minnesota, I can’t recommend the North Shore enough. It might seem like an obvious choice to those of us who live here, but to out-of-towners, it takes on an almost other-worldly charm.
We have friends visiting this summer, and we’re strongly considering a trip to Grand Superior Lodge, located just 12 miles north of Two Harbors. There are many North Shore destinations I would recommend (Superior Shores, Bluefin Bay, Lutsen Resort, and Caribou Highlands Lodge), but Grand Superior Lodge seems to truly embody the spirit of the North Shore.
A few years ago my husband and I shared a log cabin with good friends from Michigan and St. Paul, and I think it’s safe to speak on behalf of the other couples and say we all had a fantastic time. The staff went above and beyond to offer outstanding customer service (for example: we mentioned that we forgot ingredients to make s’mores and they gave us a big bag of complimentary Hershey’s bars, graham crackers, and marshmallows), the cabin we stayed in was very clean and comfortable, we never had an issue with overly rowdy/noisy guests (even though we saw two wedding parties the weekend we were there), and we were only a few minutes from visiting Split Rock Lighthouse, hiking through Gooseberry Falls State Park (waterfalls, waterfalls, and more waterfalls!), hiking along the Superior Hiking Trail (named one of the 10 best coastal hikes in the U.S.) and eating dessert at Betty’s Pies (worth the hype—and long lines). We wanted to take advantage of the guided kayaking tours offered by Grand Superior, but the lake was too choppy to safely explore. (Understandably.)
When we weren’t hiking or eating or drinking or laughing, we were relaxing. The pace is slower on the North Shore. You don’t ever feel guilty for relaxing, like you do on some vacations. And even though we stayed in July, it never got too hot with the breeze coming in off Lake Superior.
On both nights we built a little fire down on the beach and sat around chatting about life, letting Lake Superior lull us into comfortable silences every now and then. It’s those moments, when you’re all sitting around the campfire under a blanket of stars, listening to the waves breaking on the rocky shoreline, when you realize how beautiful it is when nature and local microbrews and even better company combine in perfect harmony.