Finding Grace, Up North

Each year, we did the same thing for our vacation.  We didn’t go to Disneyland, Six Flags or overseas. We headed “Up North”  which in our case meant Northern Minnesota… And we LOVED it!  I went every single summer from the time I was 4 months old until my first year of college.  Thereafter, as an adult, I began making the annual pilgrimage with my own children.

[1st day...Duluth, MN]

All year long my dad saved change in Folgers cans to be used to buy trinkets, treats and gas!

I remember the little things…Stopping at McDonalds in Duluth (yes, going to McDonalds used to be a BIG deal!) My dad used to say, “No large anything!” meaning we were to save our money for bigger and better things. One of my fondest memories is of this little side of the road attraction, Tom’s Logging Camp, just past Duluth.

[Tom's Logging Camp]

It’s a family owned and operated little gift store with a mock logging camp nestled in the woods adjoining.  Now, we never actually went on the tour they offer.  Instead we spent our frugally-saved funds on a pair of moccasins and a ring …. same purchase, every year.

[Tom's Logging Camp]

After Tom’s logging camp, my family and I would trek about an hour north to camp at Gooseberry Falls or sometimes go even farther, to Cascade State Park.

Yes, I used to camp.

[Grand Marais -- a photo that my mom used to take of me and my brother -- same exact pose and location!]

I found an amazing place in Grand Marais to call home for this week. And get this, the cabin is named “Amazing Grace”

[Girls on the shore outside of our cabin]

My children have not had the camping experiences that I have had; they have only stayed in hotels and cabins…… so far.

[Breakfast and Lunch]

We have only been here two days and already we have seen and done so much. Which means…more posts to come!

This trip is truly a gift, with each day full of enriching, unforgettable experiences that show me the true meaning of the concept ‘amazing grace’.

tawnia - June 29, 2011 - 8:05 am

Oh Duluth. I was born and raised there until I was 5 and continued to visit until my grandma moved. It is still one of my favorite places on earth. Looks as beautiful as always.

Alison - June 29, 2011 - 8:06 am

Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics Amy! What an awesome experience for your family. :-)

andy fjellman - June 29, 2011 - 8:19 am

i love love love northen minn. i, too, used to spend my summers up there and have been glad to carry on the tradition with my kids. your pics are way better though. enjoy your time!

Brad Seidenfeld - June 29, 2011 - 8:58 am

Awesome blog post Amy!!! So happy that you are able to take this little trip. Also inspires me to make a trek up that way. I have heard so many wonderful things. Someday I will make it north of the Metrodome!!

Lindsay Maddox - June 29, 2011 - 5:14 pm

Oh Amy! This post makes me so happy because all of my extended family is from way way up north in Minnesota! I go there every year (about 50 minutes from the canadian border) and have the time of my life. It is so hard to describe what it is like up there! We actually just went to the Duluth, which, no joke, is South of where my family lives! Everything up there is so incredible, I hope you make it to ITASCA!!

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