The picture of Lake Superior in my mind was rough water with whitecaps and huge waves - most likely it came from the song by Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. If you're familiar with the song, which is about a real life shipwreck on Lake Superior in 1975, you know there is a line about " the gales of November came early." But there was hardly a ripple on the lake that day. (and I couldn't get that song out of my head for days!)
The first town we came to was Two Harbors, Minnesota.It's a very bustling town in the summer with typical fast food chains and a little downtown with some mom and pop places, too. We stopped at an incredibly friendly little visitors center to get the lay of the land. They suggested we go down to the lake and check out a park. Next to the park was this Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast. We already had plans for the night but it looks like a very cool place to stay!
Saw some wildlife!
When I was doing research on the drive, I ran across Betty's Pies. I knew that was right up my alley! So Mr. UR obliged my desire for dessert and we stopped. Holy Crowds Batman! No place to park and a very long wait. I decided on take-out - and cherry as my flavor of pie- which only took about 10 minutes. But if you want a home-style meal and you're at the North Shore, try Betty's. Just know that you should be prepared for a wait - even on a summer weekday afternoon.
Now it was time for lunch - and dessert - so we took our picnic lunch to a state park pull-off called Flood Bay Beach and ate overlooking the lake. (By the way, I was too full for pie so I had it later) This was our view at lunch. (That's Superior Shores Resort - find more info Here)
One of the main attractions on the North Shore is Gooseberry Falls State Park. It includes an upper, middle and lower falls with a short walk to an overview of the falls. You can also wade in the water if the water isn't flowing too fast(. The park also includes some of Lake Superior's shoreline which we didn't visit)
The main attraction of Lake Superior's North Shore is Split Rock Lighthouse. Started in 1905 and completed in 1910, this lighthouse is one of Minnesota's most well-known landmarks. A National Historic Landmark, it's housed in Split Rock State Park. We drove into the state park and perused the visitor center. We didn't visit the actual lighthouse as it was a separate $9 fee per person in addition to the state park fee. We did get good views of it, however, from a pull-off before you get to the state park. Very beautiful and I'm sure in autumn it's spectacular.
Shortly after that we reached The Norwegian Riviera and Bluefin Bay Resort. (Read more about our stay there, here) In all, I think it took us about 3 hours to drive The North Shore including stops. A very enjoyable drive! If you haven't been to the world's largest freshwater lake, put it on your travel list. Very friendly people, beautiful scenery and some history thrown in - you can't go wrong!
Travel Tips for The North Shore:
- For a wealth of general information, go to www.northshorevistor.com
- Be prepared for traffic and construction in summertime. There can be delays.
- Watch out for wildlife. We only saw deer but when we arrived at Bluefin Bay, we were able to see an owl that had been hit by a car and was in rehabilitation. The rescue worker explained that animals were hurt every year on the roads.
- There are many resorts along The North Shore. Some are all-inclusive and others include lots of extras - ours had s'mores by the fire every night and kayaking included - so save some time at your hotel to do the activities provided.
- We stopped in Tofte. You can continue on this All-American Road all the way to the international border with Canada at Grand Portage. Just remember to bring your passport if you are heading into Canada.
I'm linking up with Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Friday Postcards at Walking On Travels, Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute and Weekend Wanderlust at A Brit and A Southerner! Go give them a look-see!