Title says it all. Fall is simply the best time to venture a little north. Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, yes; however, those 10,000 lakes are speckled with countless cabins beckoning to each of us to take a breather from the rush of ordinary life. To relax on the lake. To hike through the misty morning. To cozy up around the fire and play a game. To be.
So without much arm-twisting, some grand pals of mine decided to heed to the beckoning call and venture to the north. My mother will insist that I've been to Grand Marais before, yet this may be the first time I knew that I was here...
You've finally arrived. You made it the 4.5+ hours from the cities, equipped with an eclectic playlist, priceless car convos and maybe a little nap. Now what to do? We began our weekend with a leisurely walk around town, after grabbing some coffee and tea at Java Moose. The weather was overcast and misty but surprisingly warm!
The weekend would have been perfect if all we accomplished was some quiet time on the beach and exploring the small town. Every direction you glance, there is something to discover and the most picturesque sight. We gathered pebbles and stacked stones. We climbed the large boulders on shore and braved the cold Lake Superior with our toes. We channeled our inner child and returned to the simple pleasures of nature with laughter in the air.
While walking on the shore was lovely, we finally decided to check out a nearby hike at Cascade River State Park. The light mist in the air made for magical photos and a rather muddy trek. We had to mind the slippery rocks and slick wooded walkways but every sight was worth it!
From the first photo, you can see that the entrance to CRSP appears like an enchanted forest. Distanced from cell phone towers, it kind of is - enchanted with every hikers' full attention to their surroundings rather than the constant updates and notifications. We tried to keep the photo snapping to a minimum to simply enjoy...but I had to take some of these sights home with me.
My favorite part about cabin getaways is the "family meal time." We divide up the weekend in pairs to conquer the kitchen and serve up some tasty eats. I paired with my girl, Rachel, to serve a Savory Leek Eggbake and Apple Cider Pancakes with Caramel Apple Syrup. I'm pretty sure our breakfast changed the lives of all cabin-goers.
When not whipping up some bites in the kitchen, we frequented Java Moose for a cozy drink and World's Best Donuts for, well, the very best donuts. As a special evening out, we opted to patron a restaurant in town for dinner Saturday night. The line was long to get seated at The Angry Trout but once we nestled into our table and ordered some fresh fish and comforting pasta, it was all very worth it. Verdict is that food apparently tastes better when surrounded by nature - whether cooking at "home" or eating out, all flavors were just right.
On the way to Grand Marais, we were hoping and praying to see the northern lights, then thought our chances were squashed when the overcast mist set in. We didn't spot the colorful array of celestial lights, but we were graced with an unbelievable sunset and sunrise over the weekend. Our cabin was tucked back from the town on a smaller lake just up the hill where we marveled at the colorful evening sky - top photo is a raw iPhone picture. Can it get any more beautiful than that?
Sunday morning, we woke before sunrise to scurry out of the cabin in our jammies to watch the sun rise over Lake Superior. There was a small crowd as we played The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun (I'm sure to everyone else's dismay) and sipped on a fresh cup of coffee.
With the dawn of a new day, it looked like we were going to get some great weather for our last few hours in town. After watching the sunrise and indulging in another delicious breakfast, we returned to town to walk along the beach and stroll out to Artist's Point and the Grand Marais lighthouse.
We scored the best of both worlds - the mysterious views of the misty lake on Saturday and the clear, fall colors vividly displayed in the crisp sun on Sunday. Completing our stay with a quick walk around town and the quaint shops, we
There's something about being out in nature that refocuses your attention to the little details, the textures, and colors of ordinary things.
A feather lost on the beach.
A collection of dew on a fallen leaf.
Jagged rocks jutting up from the crashing waves.
Unique pebbles tossed and smoothed from the tide.
Papery bark exposing the tree like unrolled scrolls of nature's poem.
Returning to the ordinary things, I'm trying to bottle up the calm from this weekend to bring a quiet awareness to the beauty around me at all times.
All photos taken with iPhone 6+ and edited with VSCO.
Keep close to nature's heart...and break clear away, once in a while, climb a mountain... Wash your spirit clean