MN is for kids, the 2-legged kind

Just finished our 10-day visit to the kids and grandkids in metro Minneapolis. It’s a blur of action, owing to the MN State Fair, our grandson’s first birthday, visits to the Water Park and grand daughter’s first day of full-day pre-school. Of course the wee ones had to get introduced to the concept of camping via campfires, s’mores, sleepovers and lunch at our tiny dinette…they are now sufficiently longing to go along that we should have no trouble getting them comfortable with a week-long trip next summer.

Just a few last comments about our Lake Superior southern shore drive on the way to MN:

The drive to Copper Harbor was lovely, and worth it for the views.

We had to prioritize our few short hours in the Western UP, so drove 90 min up the Keweenaw from Hancock/Houghton….we promise to return to take you in as well, Seaman Mineral Museum, Quincy Mine Tour and Porcupine Mountains!

Copper Harbor was reminiscent of Ely, MN: an outpost peopled by backpackers and outdoors folk, artists and hardy souls. Views were stunning, everything was clean, undeveloped, rustic and still a habitat for wildlife. While motoring back, we came upon the Monks of the Society of St. Joseph nestled in the forest. Their dome gleams like a honeyed onion in the midst of the spruce woods, and there was a line out the door of their little but oh-so-neat, spartan confectionary shop by the side of the road.

If you go, be prepared for their Thimbleberry Jam, a local specialty, as well as their chocolate and caramel truffles, gigantic pumpkin muffins, abbey cakes and cashew brittle. Luscious treats worthy of the finest sweets makers in Paris! All wrapped up by Brother Basil, quite the understated character with a wry smile and twinkling eyes. And don’t forget a tour of the chapel if you come before Vespers at 5pm.

Last stop before MN was the Apostle Islands of Wisconsin — we’d done Bayfield once before, and it was as charming as before. This time we bypassed art shops and restaurants, going straight for the fish market just on the edge of town. Luscious Lake Trout and Whitefish! To be laid into the deep freeze for winter when we get home. We stayed at Legendary Waters RV park across from Madeleine Island, and it was just perfect. Wonderful waterfront walks, the best bathroom/shower setup we’ve seen, and the sunset was intense across the Lake.

In a nutshell then, to Minnesota: we did our usual “arrive at 8am, leave by 2pm” early tour of the fairgrounds — the livestock barns, most of the fave food booths, the dairy exhibit and the slippy-slide. All good, one of the great fairs of the US.

The rest of the trip is a blur. Sweet corn every night with the family. Swimming when weather permitted. Barbecues and a few communal naps, and it was all kids, all the time. Giggly baths, babysitting, sneaking snacks, chowing on birthday cakes, ice cream and s’mores, riding the Lake Harriet Trolley, shopping for school, on and on. What a delight for g-parents and g-children. And the parents were in there someplace, too!

We’ll be home in a day and a half, with about 20 days to prep for the Next Big Adventure. Be well, folks!

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