We parked our coach at Dakotah Meadows RV Park in Prior Lake, MN on May 8th and stayed put until we headed to Grand Marais on June 13th. Anyone that knows us knows that Grand Marais is a special place for Joe and I and our kids. We started camping in Grand Marais in 1973 with our oldest son, Eric, then 18 months old, in a borrowed canvas pop-up. The brakes went out in our 1971 Chevy Vega as we came into the town and we had to order new brakes that were shipped to us on the Star Tribune truck from Minneapolis. Our intentions were to stay overnight in Grand Marais and then go into Canada. I am a big believer in things happen for a reason. We were meant to stay longer in this beautiful town and fall in love with it. It has become a family tradition for many years with our kids along with my parents joining our family for a week of fun. We don’t make it up there every year and some years not all the kids could make it but this year was one of those years when we could all be together. My mom is no longer with us and my dad couldn’t make the trip but we now have grandchildren and in-laws that enjoy it as much as we do.
Joe and I were fortunate to spend three weeks in Grand Marais this year. Our daughter Cassie and her two kids drove up with us for the first week. Cassie and her family rented a large cabin for the two weeks they were there. Her husband, Aaron, joined us the second week. Our daughter, Amanda and her husband, Ron, came up for a long weekend the second weekend along with our son, Eric. Amanda and Ron stayed in a cute little studio cabin at the same place Cassie’s family was at. Eric pitched a tent behind us. Our son, Zach, and his wife, Lauren, drove from Ohio to spend the second week in their tent. Along with all the kids and grandkids came Izzy, Hope, and Harvey, the kids’ dogs. Joe and I count our blessings all the time but there is no greater blessing than to be able to vacation with your family and everyone has a great time.
Grand Marais was a little chilly at this time of the year. We did have a few warmer days when it got in the low 70’s so we took advantage of those days and did a little hiking. Joe, I, Cassie, Aaron, Zach, Lauren and the two grandkids, Cate and Alex, along with our dog Lily and Cassie’s dog Izzy, did a 5 mile hike in Superior National Forest. We dressed to warm and forgot the bug spray so the hike was not as much fun as we would have liked it to be but I can’t complain. Aaron carried a 3 year old in a backpack the whole way and Cassie carried a 25lb Alex in a front pack the trip. I was exhausted from watching them but of course they are young and we are not. We even had to put our dog Lily in a backpack because she got to tired.
On another nice day we found a remote beach about 9 miles north of Grand Marais that we all went to and spent time exploring and taking some spectacular pictures. It is amazing for all the times we’ve gone to Grand Marais we always seem to find something new to check out.
One day we watched Cate and Alex so the kids could go on a hike without the extra weight. I think they enjoyed that hike a little more. Of course, we did our walk to town many mornings to visit the World’s Best Donut shop. We all ate our share of donuts and even brought some back in the freezer for my dad.
We have always eaten our evening meal as a family at our campsite and the last few years each family has taken a turn in cooking for the gang. It is always good. This year on Zach and Lauren’s night they made pizzas on the open fire. Lauren made pizza dough so we each had our own pizza and they had many, many toppings to pick from. It not only was fun but delicious. It is always fun to see what the kids come up with and I can guarantee that it is always excellent.
It was hard to say goodbye to each family as they took off for home. I think Zach and Lauren were the most ready since they had slept in a tent and got pretty cold at night. The last night they stayed with us in our coach. Zach hadn’t been sleeping because he got to cold at night. Thankfully he got a good night sleep before the long drive back to Ohio.
Joe and I decided to stay another week since we had nothing to get back to and could get a site. We went to Grand Portage and went through Grand Portage National Monument. We also took a short hike to see the highest waterfalls in Minnesota in the Grand Portage State Park. As many times as we had been in Grand Marais we never drove the 35 miles north to visit this state park. We missed out and will definitely go back there again for a little more hiking.
Each time when we leave Grand Marais we wonder will this be the last year the kids will want to come back. Zach and Lauren have a long drive from Cincinnati. The grandkids will get older and have activities they will be in. More grandkids will come along (hopefully). We are grateful each time to have this special time and hope just maybe we will have one more year of fun in Grand Marais.
Hug those you love and as always – stay safe!