When I turned 30, I knew that I wanted to spend it deep in the woods. With a January birthday that can get a bit hairy, but I’m nothing if not up for adventure. So we packed our entire closets to layer with (not joking) and headed up to the North Shore for the weekend. I found a fantastic deal on a hotel, Grand Superior Lodge in Two Harbors, Minnesota and other than a group of wedding guests, I think we were the only people there. It was bliss. We had a room that overlooked the lake (ahem, only if you turned your head around the corner of a gutter!) but we didn’t really plan on spending much time in the room anyway, so the accommodations were perfect.
One of the things we love to do when we travel is hit up a local brewery. We had been itching to try Castle Danger Brewing Co. and it didn’t disappoint. We did a couple flights, and I wish I could remember my favorites, but any IPA is good with me!
Where we hiked: Our main reason for choosing the North Shore was to snowshoe, and Tettegouche State Park had rentals for a small fee (Support your state parks!! These are awesome perks.) We trekked around looking for a waterfall that the guide in the Visitors Center told us about, but we never found it. (Turns out, we walked like RIGHT by it. But add it to the list for next trip, I guess!) We got to Shovel Point at the very end, and it was absolutely beautiful. We wandered around the beach there for a bit, and cooled off.
Yes, cooled off. It was -9 degrees (my camera lens kept frosting up, so I didn’t even get to take as many pictures as I would have wanted to!) that day without wind chill, but snow shoeing is an amazing workout, and I found myself sweating despite the sub-zero temps.
We stopped and had lunch where we were introduced to cranberry wild rice bread, and that jump started a complete obsession with it. It is seriously so. good. We searched for it on every menu the rest of the trip, and even bought more to bring home with us.
Our hotel was only about a mile from Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls, so we visited those quick before the sunset for the day. The biggest thing we learned this trip, other than always get the sandwich on cranberry wild rice bread, was that if your under layers get sweaty, you will absolutely FREEZE when you are exposed to the cold wind again. We didn’t spend as much time at Split Rock because we were so cold, and there aren’t a lot of trees so you are more exposed. Luckily, Gooseberry was a little more protected, so we were able to hike around there for awhile as the sun was starting to set. After dinner (see below for my rave review) we sat in the sauna and soaked in the hot tub to thaw out.
What we ate: There are some good dive bars in the smaller towns up and along the shore, and they usually have pretty good food, but if you are in/around Two Harbors/Castle Danger, you need to eat at Rustic Inn. We ate there for dinner after our hike, and breakfast before we left, and I would have eaten there for the rest of the week if I could have. I legitimately made a fool of myself raving over how good the Wild Rice Meatloaf was, and Tom had three slices of pie in the two visits we made there, and breakfast was the same story. They kept the fire going, and the wine glasses/coffee cups filled, and that’s all we ask for!
Minnesota winters can get a bad rap, but I can honestly say that if you are hibernating all winter and not getting out and enjoying the beautiful parks in the state, you are truly missing out. We have already decided that we will be making this trip a yearly thing. But I mean, if it wanted to be like…15 degrees, I would be fine with that!!