A Beautiful Week in Minnesota

We are a family that travels a lot, but we have always stuck around for Hanukkah and Christmas. I invite my family, my in laws, my step family, my friends (everyone basically) over to my house for an afternoon meal on Christmas and we gorge ourselves, then rest for a few days. My brother and sister live far away and can’t usually make it. After the times we spent together this year being so sad, we decided we should take a vacation together. Also, my mom made a super big deal about us being a family when she was gone. I haven’t been to Minnesota to see my brother in over five years, and he had been out to California so much, so it was time for my brood to make the trip.
Minnesota_ArtistPoint_BTL1454 I am slightly ashamed to admit this, but other than a few drives to sad sledding hills in Southern California, my daughter had never really seen snow. So we booked a trip to Minneapolis where we met up with brother and sister-in-law, and from there we drove up to the North Shore of Lake Superior. Minnesota_SplitRock_MG_8405-Edit I’d never been up to the North Shore and honestly, I don’t even own gloves. I was not prepared for the cold, but we got lucky as it was in the high 20’s most of our visit, which seemed miserable at first but we adjusted rather quickly. All the locals kept telling us it was downright balmy for Minnesota in January. I don’t know about that, but it was rather lovely and a great change of pace from the season-less-ness of Los Angeles. Gap Kids sent Scarlet a jacket and my sister-in-law let me borrow some gloves.Minnesota Family You may remember my brother from years past. I’ve mentioned that he is a nature photographer (as well as a biology teacher). He wrote an amazing post for us: 25 Tips for Taking Great Photographs, and he took the pictures seen above of the Minnesota wilderness. Definitely read through his photography post, it’s so helpful and I refer to it all the time. He is dedicated to his craft. I mean, he spent a good 30 minutes at Goosebury Falls just taking a picture of this one icicle. I thought he was nuts. But… that’s a pretty awesome picture. Minnesota_Ice_BJL2812

More on our itinerary and the truly beautiful stuff we saw in this Minnesota winter…

We started our journey by piling into my brother and sister-in-law’s cars. Scarlet demanded a girl car and boy car and we were happy to agree to that arrangement so I could spent some quality time with Tamy, my sister in law since i was THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. Gah, I am old. Anyway, we drove for a bit and then stopped at Betty’s Pies. This is a Minnesota institution, right? Do we have any Minnesota natives in the comments? I didn’t eat any pie but Carleton ate three flavors. He was a fan. Minnesota Betty's Pies
We arrived at our hotel on the North Shore, the Best Western Superior Inn and Suites in Grand Marais. I woke up for the sunrise… it was cloudy so not as spectacular as I had hoped but I was still so happy to see it. Minnesota Grand Marais Sunrise
Tamy took this picture of Carleton, Scarlet, and I from their balcony. Scarlet was so amazed by the frozen water coming off the lake. Minnesota Grand Marais
We spent our second day on the North Shore driving up to the High Falls trail. This is on the Canadian border and is really cold. So cold. Scarlet loved it! She whined even less than the Minnesota natives. Minnesota High Falls Hike
The falls were worth the hike. Minnesota High Falls
Scarlet and I even took a mommy-daughter selfie :))))) Minnesota High Falls Jaime and Scarlet
The next day we drove the Gunflint trail to the Gunflint lodge. Totally magical! Scarlet saw her first real-live snowman. Minnesota Snowman Lodge
She was clearly loving it. Minnesota Scarlet in the Snow
We moved from there over to Two Harbors for a couple of nights. We went to Split Rock Lighthouse, and even though it was closed, we had fun in the visitor center. Minnesota Split Rock
Carleton and Scarlet practiced skipping rocks on Lake Superior. Minnesota Two Harbors Skipping Stones
We drove to Goosebury Falls and took the short hike to the bottom and top. It was beautiful! Minnesota Goosebury Falls
The dogs love it there! Minnesota Tamy and the Dogs Waterfall
And Carleton and Scarlet claimed this land as their own. Minnesota Carleton & Scarlet Goosebury Falls
We ate some amazing Minnesota Wild Rice porridge for New Years breakfast. Minnesota Wild Rice
We stopped in Duluth to visit the Great Lakes Aquarium. Minnesota Duluth Great Lakes Aquarium
And at Russ Kendall’s Smoke House for the most amazing smoked fish. Minnesota Russ Kendall Smoked Fish
And a few stops along the highway for snowy adventures… Minnesota Offroading
Minnesota Tamy and the dogs
Then headed back to Bruce and Tamy’s place in Stillwater for some sledding. Minnesota Stillwater Sunset Sledding
And of course, breakfast at the local institution (my brother’s favorite spot) Chilkoot Café and Cylclery. Minnesota Chillkoot cafe and cyclery
Scarlet capped off her week of snowy adventure by building her first snowman. She named it Fred. Next to it is barely visible, Fred’s dog which she named Flüd. Minnesota Stillwater Snowman
My brother made many stops along the way to take beautiful photos. I will share some here but to really understand them you have to click over to his site, btleventhal.com. He brings the beauty of Minnesota to light in the most amazing way. Minnesota_GrandMariasDockBnW_BJL2771Minnesota_GrandPortageB&W_BJL2744Minnesota_BaldEagle_BJL8796Minnesota_HollowRock_BJL2606Minnesota_Lighthouse_BJL2139PhiSpiralMinnesota_Ice-Lighthouse_BL02719-EditMinnesota_Lake-Superior_BJL1430

Oh, we had the best time in Minnesota, you betcha. You will too, dontcha know. 😉




I’m a Minnesota native and I love returning to visit family. I’ve never been to the north shore either and I’ve never had tater tot hot dish! Guess I’ll have to make some. I still consider it “home” even though I’ve lived in the South for more years than I lived in Minnesota. Delightful post. Thank you.

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Your tour of Minnesota will begin in Winona, located in the southeastern corner of the state. Visit the historic river towns of Wabasha and Red Wing on your way north along the Great River Road while keeping an eye out for eagles and other birds of prey along the Mississippi River.

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If you want to make a cute and creative Easter decoration, you can try making grape bunnies. It is easy to do, and it will be a great way for your family to bond.

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Excellent website! I’m wondering if there’s a way I can receive notifications whenever a new post is published. I’m eager to stay updated with the latest information. Have a good day!


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