Fall 2018 - The North Shore

This is the first in several postings about our fall travels.  I love this time of year due to the colors and the joy of photographing the fall landscapes and activities.  Our goal every year is a trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior, usually around the last week of September or the first week of October.  One of the unique characteristics of the North Shore is the difference in colors between the shoreline and inland.  The shoreline has more aspen and birch trees and inland has more oaks and maples.   Add in the many rivers, waterfalls, the lake itself-- and you have a photographer's dream!

One of the backroads in the hills above the lake.


Normally, we stay in Grand Marais, MN due to the location on the shore and the number of restaurants (food is becoming a major factor in our lives as we age).  This year we decided to stay at the Lutsen Lodge, which put us a little more centrally on the North Shore so we could adjust our leaf peeping based on the best locations.  Lutsen holds a special place in our hearts because it is where we spent many summers with our son when he was growing up.  The main lodge is a beautiful old log building with plenty of character and charm.  We stayed three nights in one of the small condos up on the hill above the lodge.  

The "beach" below the Lutsen lodge.


Kathy and I have our favorite places to eat.  On this trip, besides the Lutsen Lodge restaurant, we had dinner at the Harbor House Grill and My Sister's Place, both in Grand Marais.  The Harbor House is very nice for dinner, great food and a nice atmosphere.  My Sister's Place is a bar which serves great burgers and pizza.   We also make a point of eating breakfast at either Blue Fin Bay or the Rustic Inn Cafe.  We managed to hit both on this trip.  


This was an interesting trip from a weather standpoint.  We hit rain and snow on the way to Lutsen!  It was overcast for the vast majority of the stay.  Now that may sound bad, but from the standpoint of fall photography, I kind of like it.  Overcast days are great for making the fall colors pop, and we sure got some good colors.  However, it was cold.  We had to dig out the stocking caps and gloves for most of the trip!  I took a candid shot of Kathy and a posed shot, I just couldn't pick one, so you get both.  This is her "camo" outfit for sneaking up on the wildlife.

"OK, take my picture."
"You're not taking my photo are you?"


Whenever we visit this area, we make a trip to the Wild Country Syrup Company.  They are the nicest folks (nice is a Minnesota thing) and make some of the best syrup we have ever had.  We usually stock up on our supply and get bottles for friends and relatives; we are probably close to being an official wholesaler.  The couple running the business is usually on hand and will give you a tour of the operations if you're interested.  It's also a lovely place to enjoy the fall colors; after all, it's in the middle of a maple forest!  They have a little building where they keep the syrup, and sales work on the honor system for payment.  We've been here during all the seasons, but fall is the best.

One of the owners outside the sales office.

Sunrise, Sunset

All in all, this was one of the best fall color trips we've made to the North Shore.  The colors were excellent, maybe a week short of the peak, but still damn nice.  The North Shore faces east, even though it is called the North Shore, and is normally a good sunrise photography opportunity.  On this trip, due to the weather, there was not a good sunrise; however, I got two very nice sunsets (see the image of Lutsen beach at the start of this post and this image).

Sunset over Grand Marais harbor.

As usual, I have more images from this portion of the trip here: Fall 2018 - Lutsen

I will have at least two more fall posts coming up, including the second leg of this trip where we visit Bayfield, Wisconsin for the first time.

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