Early fall is the perfect time to head “Up North.” The fall colors are just peaking, and if you’re lucky, the weather is in the 50s and mostly sunny. For a calm and relaxing weekend where you really feel like you’re getting away from it all, I suggest Grand Marais.
Photo by Amanda Fretheim Gates
Cascade River State Park
My husband and I have stayed at Terrace Point, a group of condos overlooking Lake Superior. The place is beautiful and seems recently renovated with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, a huge gas fireplace and a sweet balcony. If it’s still warm enough to leave the windows open, let the waves crashing on the rocks below lull you to sleep. And, get up early, because the sunrises are amazing.
On the way up to Grand Marais, for a gorgeous view, don’t miss Palisade Head, an off-the-beaten-path lookout along 61. Keep your eyes open; if you’re not paying attention you’ll drive right by.
Spend time exploring downtown Grand Marais with a walk around Artist’s Point. Eat lunch at Gunflint Tavern and choose from soups, sandwiches, burritos and pizza. (Last time I was there, I had a delicious and inventive Cuban sandwich.)
For waterfall views, superb fall colors and great hiking, check out Cascade River State Park. The three-mile loop up to Lookout Mountain overlooks the expansive park, and is the most amazing sight of leaves ablaze. When we took this hike, my husband and I were pleased with it being relative secluded and a bit of a challenge (though not too challenging; I hike infrequently and thought it was perfect). The trails are well marked and the nature is beautiful.
Other great dining spots: superb donuts (semi-crunchy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside) at World’s Best Donuts; a great pub dinner (the North Shore burger, complete with Wild Rice and mozzarella cheese, if offered, is yummy) at My Sister’s Place; and a yummy diner breakfast at Blue Water Cafe, a place where everybody knew everybody else’s name—so small town, so sweet.
Have you been to Grand Marais? What did you enjoy?