Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trip To Grand Marais, MN (part 1)

Mark and I are always talking about going on vacations. The problem is we are indecisive dreamers. Luckily a couple months ago a livingsocial deal for a two night stay at the Cascade Lodge in Lutsen, MN popped up and we made the impulse buy.

The next day Mark called to make our reservations so we wouldn't forget to use the deal. We scheduled a June 18-20 stay and then eagerly waited for date to come by researching things to do and places to eat.

Finally, the time to take our trip had arrived. We loaded the car with our luggage, snacks, and list of restaurants to try and were on our way. We were so excited to get to Lutsen we didn't get hungry on the entire 5 hour drive.
Us taking in the view of Duluth from the rest area
We checked into the hotel around 1:30 and were pleasantly surprised at how secluded the place was. I wanted a getaway free from texts, calls, and emails and boy did I get just that and then some with no choice in the matter, which we will get to later. After hauling our luggage up to our cozy room overlooking Lake Superior, we drove the 10 minutes into Grand Marais to get a bite to eat.

After driving around and locating all the restaurants we had on our list (this took all of three minutes), we decided we were in the mood for fish and stopped at Dockside Fish Market. We left feeling energized and ready to explore the town.
Mark excited for his sandwich
Grand Marais is a small port town on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Much like Duluth, all the touristy shops by the waterfront and just hoping with out of towners like ourselves. So we did the touristy thing and checked out all the stores.
Souvenir chef's hat from a shop in Grand Marais

The all-too-common "No Cell Phone" sign we saw on numerous doors
After making our way through the countless, tacky "Grand Marais" tshirts/souvenir shops we came across a store that we really liked called Ben Franklin. Mark was immediately drawn to the ridiculous number of flannel shirts they stocked. Its always a little cold up on the North Shore... I was impressed that they seemed to be an "everything you need" store and even carried Uggs (although I think they might have been knock offs). Upon meeting back up at the front of the store, Mark shows me what he intends to purchase.... You guessed it Yahtzee! pads. Thats right, we drove 5 hours to buy Yahtzee pads.

By the time we were finished at Ben Franklin's it was almost 5 pm meaning some stores would be closing soon. One of those stores, Beth's Fudge & Gifts, advertised that they sold fudge and I just couldn't wait to check it out. We were both impressed by the fact that the fudge was clearly homemade. They had numerous cake pans filled with different flavors behind the counter. We sampled the maple chocolate and rocky road fudge. Given we are huge maple syrup fans, we ended up buying a quarter pound of the maple chocolate.
Maple Chocolate fudge
We were done shopping, but not ready to return to our hotel. So we went into a coffee shop called Java Moose and order tea to keep us warm while we sat on the rocks by the shore. After about a half hour of watching the boats (and people), we were ready to head back to our hotel for some dinner and relaxation.
Us enjoying the view from the rocks

View from the rocks on the shore
As we had already had quite a day, we decided to eat at the pub run by the lodge, the Cascade Restaurant and Pub and rest up for the hike we had planned for the next morning.

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