I took two very different trips to the North Shore over the past year to research locations for our feature, out now, on modern lodgings. One was a family affair, and one was a solo excursion to Grand Marais amid a typical enjoyably manic week of magazine production.
By the time I was driving home on Highway 61 a few days later, I felt like I was floating. I never do voice memos to myself, but I clearly needed to say some things, so I hit record and just rambled for 10 minutes. I’ll spare you the off-the-cuff guided meditation in full—all it needed was some crashing waves and soothing flute—but a point worth sharing emerged.
A Grand Marais trip is one of many Minnesota experiences where you can actually finish a substantial thought—something beyond “I’m hungry,” or “Which app should I open now?” In our day-to-day, deeper reflection often gets caught in a sort of purgatory. If it even starts, it rarely completes. When we get a change of pace, scenery, and behavior, a lot can suddenly come rushing to the surface.
Beyond the prime amenities, experiences, and air quality up north, that access to reflection will keep me going back. I could tell that the Grand Marais hospitality folks I’d interviewed—many of whom have left bigger cities for a slower pace—had perspective and clarity surrounding them like fog over Lake Superior. While I was there, I took numerous walks out to Artists’ Point by the harbor gripping a cup of Java Moose coffee and felt the scale of everything in life shifting with Lake Superior overtaking my view. It was addictive.
By the way, there was one other bit I liked from my iPhone voice memo. Step one: Finish that meaningful thought. Step two: Upon completion, let this be the place where you begin one that is utterly and entirely new.