Tag Archives: Smoked fish

Naniboujou Lodge, Cascade River and Temperance River State Parks, North House Folk School, Dockside Fish Market, Casade River State Park – Grand Marais

So glad my friend Denise highly recommended we drop by Naniboujou Lodge, just north of downtown Grand Marais. We didn’t eat brunch there but what a remarkable place! The massive dining room has a high ceiling boldly decorated in zigzaggy stripes of red, yellow, orange, green and blue – and other Cree Indian-influenced designs, plus an enormous fireplace made of cobblestones. As resorts go, it’s not big or fancy. The rooms are reasonably priced, maybe because there aren’t a lot of amenities that I could tell other. The Lake Superior beach front is the main draw.

Grand Marais reminded me of summer resort towns in northern Michigan, with tourist shops and a wickedly good donut shop (World’s Best Donuts). These towns never quite feel like real places to me, although I’m sure they are to the townies. We wandered through the Sivertson  Gallery, full of North Woods crafts and artwork. At the North House Folk School (which offers classes in folk art and traditional northern crafts), I talked with a woman who was boiling wool to use to make hats, shoes and puppets. We also dropped in at smoked fish shop #3 of the trip – -the Dockside Fish Market, which felt very much like a summer resort hot spot with tables in the back overlooking boats docked in the harbor.

On the drive back, we stopped several times to take short hikes along waterfalls and gorges at Cascade River State Park and Temperance River State Park  with strange yellow-brown water, the color of root beer, that I learned later was caused by tannic acid – a natural plant compound used to tan hides and make dry wine. We watched daredevil kids jump off high rocky perches in the woods, way down into a pool of water at the end of one series of waterfalls, near the beach. This reminded me of Ithaca, although the birch and pine forests reminded me of northern Michigan. We also stopped briefly at Betty’s Pies, which was doing a land office business at 5 p.m. Pie before dinner? Why not — we’re on vacation.

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota North Shore

Back in Duluth, we wandered around the imposing Fitger’s Building, a former brewery turned into a hotel and shopping complex.  Behind the building, we sat on a walkway overlooking the water and watched the sun set, then went back into the building for a burger and beer at the pub.  People were lined up outside the Portland Malt Shoppe, in an old lakeside building,  when we left the pub, which was a perfect thing to do on a late summer evening with slightly cool temps and a light breeze. But we were too full for ice cream. Next time.

 

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New Scenic Cafe, Positively 3rd Street Bakery, Leif Erikson Park, Russ Kendall’s Smoke House – Duluth, Knife River

 New Scenic Cafe did not disappoint. Lovely location on a lakeside country road about 12 miles north of Duluth, pretty backwoods decor with lots of wood, local artwork, even stacked tree branches here and there. The food was great — a light interesting cold corn soup, tuna sashimi  tacos with avocado and interesting slaw, frites, a pulled pork sandwich with avocado and queso, a killer sundae with caramel corn, peanuts, hot fudge and locally-made ice cream. When we left at 10:20 p.m. two people were relaxing in low wooden chairs around a fire pit on the front lawn, watching the almost-full moon drop a puddle of light onto the lake.

Before dinner, we ended up by the lighthouse in Two Harbors, which turned out to be a lovely place to watch the sunset over the water as we stood on a long breakwater.

Since  I am

writing a story about smoked fish shops here, we stopped at Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse in Knife River, a famous old roadside joint with a totally different vibe than Northern Waters. Knotty  wood walls,  an old neon sign outside advertising Royal Bohemian Beer and the Smokehouse, smoked fish and that’s about it, although there is a dining area in an adjacent room with tables, an old pinball machine, pool table and bar. (When I asked the woman behind the fish counter if the bar was operational she said no. “My grandfather was killed in a knife fight at the bar so we only sell beer to go,” she explained.

This morning we walked down the hill to Positively 3rd Street Bakery, (named after a song by Bob Dylan, who was born here). A sweet guy with a ponytail sold us a gooey roll and wheat bran muffin, then gave us free coffee that we took down the hill to a lovely rose garden at Leif Erikson Park. We found a bench overlooking the water. The public spaces here are really nice. Lots of lakeside paths and gardens and parks. We got more coffee at Duluth Coffee, a hipster place downtown and set off for Grand Marais on a pretty morning.

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