Up North

The phrase “Up North” has a transcendental quality to people in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. A drive of two-plus hours north lands one in another world of lakes, the smell of pine, the surprise sighting of wildlife larger than the family dog and laughing loons. The North Shore of Lake Superior has big water qualities: intimidating cliffs, unpredictable weather, sunken ships and a distant horizon. These images are of favorite destinations, including: 

Burntside Lodge, on Burntside Lake near Ely, has been family owned and operated for more than 100 years. Many of the cabins were built from logs grown on site in the 1920s and 1930s. Their longevity is a testament to their builders' craftsmanship.

Sigurd Olson, the naturalist, writer and conservationist, and his wife kept a 36-acre wilderness retreat on Listening Point, also on Burntside Lake. The rustic cabin still stands. Originally built by Swedish immigrants, Olson moved the cabin here piece by piece.

Edwin Lundie designed the main lodge at Lutsen resort in the early 1950s. The footbridge bridge from the lodge over the Popular River is also fashioned in his distinctive Scandinavian timber style. I’ve walked across the bridge for as long as I can remember. While the distance isn’t great, the other side is a lichen-covered rocky shore, and  pools with wild flowers and swimming bugs.

Grand Marais, a town of 1,100 people and a handful of stoplights lies on Lake Superior about 40 miles from the Canadian border. The breakwater and Artist’s Point separate the harbor and beach from the wiles of Lake Superior. On a summer day, temperatures in Grand Marais are often 20 degrees cooler than in the city, thanks to the deep cold water lf the lake. In the middle of town, Joynes Department Store, started in 1941, is operated by the founder’s granddaughter and her husband. The store boasts the theme: If we don’t have it, You don’t need it.