Beautiful Grand Marais

We left Duluth and headed up the North Shore to meet with friends. I love the North Shore! There is so much beauty along this stretch, views of Lake Superior, waterfalls, trails, unique rock formations, campgrounds, all waiting for one to behold. I have been visiting this area since my childhood and have had many wonderful kayak adventures along this coastline.  Because Opa was not feeling well, we decided to head straight up to our reserved campsite in Grand Marais. We will have to come back this way again before we head west anyway, and then we’ll take our time and mosey through all the beautiful sights then.

 

Our site at the municipal campground
Our site at the municipal campground

We made our reservations at the Grand Marais Municipal Campground before we even knew that we would be having a truck camper. So for our Excel 5th wheel, we make sure to get a large enough site to accommodate us and try to get full hook ups when possible. After we got the truck camper, I tried to change our reservation for just electric hook up but when I called, everything was full and it was not possible to make any changes. In retrospect, I welcomed the full hook ups which allowed me to take nice long hot showers in my own camper. And the site we were assigned was fairly close to our friends and only steps away from the path to the beach. The sites at this campground are packed in and only a very few spots get a view of the lake. But the advantages to this campground are that you are steps away from the water, the marina, and the city itself. It’s not my favorite campground as it is busy and crowded, but it was convenient.

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Busy seafood restaurant in the harbor. That’s the campground right behind it.
The beach at the campground
The beach at the campground

While we were there, Opa was dealing with a painful skin infection which limited his ability to do very much. Much of the time, he stayed on the bed in the camper and I prepared and changed hot compresses for the infected area. He missed out on a lot. We were able to join our friends for donuts at breakfast and shared dinners and campfires with them but that was it. I felt bad that we got them to meet us there but then we were unable to spend any daytime hikes and adventures with them. During the day I still needed to take Coda on walks, so Coda and I explored the beach and shoreline together and took what should have been a short easy hike nearby. I also walked a short way into the city to explore and take photographs by myself. I didn’t stay too long away from Opa so I could be around to help comfort him in any way possible.

The little city of Grand Marais is absolutely lovely! It is full of fun places to eat and drink. They definitely have great doughnuts (don’t know that they’re really the “World’s Best”), which I truly overindulged in because I rarely get to eat such yummys. The chocolate knot was my favorite, seconded by the banana cream filled chocolate doughnut. One evening we sat on the rooftop patio of two different establishments enjoying beer and wine. There was a lovely restaurant right on the water, serving fish and chips and fresh seafood which was busy all day. And the wonderful market, where I grabbed a smoked trout to enjoy after we left this beautiful place. There is an art school and lots of cute little shops lining the streets of this quaint little city. It even has a beautiful sand beach right beside the marina and walking and biking trails along the lake.

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Grand Marais Lighthouse

Nearby are lots of trails and waterfalls to check out making Grand Marais a great base camp. Just a little further north is the Grand Portage National Monument and a few more steps and you’re at the border crossing to Canada. Make sure you have a passport.

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The North House Folk School offers two hour trips aboard the 50-foot schooner Hjordis.
A view from the trail
A view of Artist’s Point from the trail

As I said earlier, I spent some time with Coda on the rock beach which was a soothing setting with beautiful views. I also took him on a hike that was part of the park, the Honeymoon Bluff Trail. The information I read was that it was a steep but easy trail approximately 2 km with great views of Grand Marais on the lake. Fortunately, I did not find myself alone on this trail which was surprising because it was poorly marked and in terrible disrepair. We climbed over several downed trees and getting back down from the bluff was nearly impossible for me. I had to descend many spots going down on my butt, it was too steep to walk down. I had to let Coda off leash because he was faster than me and was able to navigate routes I was unable to take. I don’t worry about him running off on me, I only leash him because it’s the rules and many people are very scared of him at first sight. I don’t know who is responsible to keep this trail up, but clearly no one was doing it. It was an unnerving experience for me.

P1020953We stayed an extra day longer than we had reserved, hoping that Opa would feel better and then we could continue on our journey west. It was a great time with friends even if we didn’t get to do as much together as we wanted.

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Kids entertaining themselves at the boat dock

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