This blog post is unsponsored AF.
Grand Marais looks like a neighborhood that Michael could have designed to be The Good Place.
It’s idyllic. It’s super Scandinavian. People wearing sweaters and holding ice cream cones wander the quiet streets. Someone might wander by holding a freshly caught fish.
The mention of “Grand Marais” throws Minnesotans into a tizzy, a dreamy state of frenzied joy. Those who have been will tell you about the World’s Best Doughnuts (yes, that’s what the shop is called), suggest you eat some lake fish, and share the best places to hike.
After one visit, I’m now one of these people.
I hate shopping, but I love malls.
I enjoy lacing up my tennis shoes and mall-walking with the seniors. The combination of people-watching, bobbing in and out of stores and smelling new clothes mixed with popcorn, Chinese food and Cinnabons thrills me.
One of the malls we actually don’t mind visiting is Twin Cities Premium Outlets, or what we casually refer to as the Eagan Outlet Mall.
There’s a good variety of clothing stores like Banana Republic, Old Navy, Saks Fifth Avenue, Eddie Bauer, etc. Outlet mall pricing is wacky; you’re probably not actually going to save money here, we all know that. But, you’ll find a convenient mix of stores all in one place. I can rarely find clothes that fit but know I’ll at least walk out with something.
They say you can’t go back.
Sometimes you can.
For Jake, this was his first trip back to Fargo since we lived there eight years ago. I’ve returned a couple of times since. Fargo was our home for two years, the first of several job transfers and first time away from home. Well, home-home. Our original home.
At first, I hated living in Fargo. Everything was different and felt smaller. There was that little toll bridge I kept finding at and train tracks that criss-crossed the city. By the end of our two years, we made good friends and found our favorite places. Leaving felt bittersweet.
Disclosure: The Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreational Area and The Drive In Restaurant portions of this post has been sponsored by the St. Croix Valley. We paid for our own meals at The Vegetarian.
Spending a day at an aerial challenge course is not something I would have ever chosen to do on my own.
Earlier this spring, the St. Croix Valley invited me to visit the area, sending me a package of gift certificates and brochures to provide trip ideas.
One of the items provided tickets to try the aerial challenge courses or zipline tours at Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreational Area which functions as a ski resort in the winter.
I invited two friends to try the Aerial Challenge Courses at Trollhaugen. The course consists of over 100 platforms arranged in six courses ranging in five difficulty levels. Two of us were less comfortable with heights while the other was not bothered.
Because of the time it takes to gear up and learn how to use the equipment, guests should make reservations. Each admission fee includes three hours on the course. Reservations also ensure that the courses don’t become overcrowded. We arrived for the first tour slot at 10 a.m.
Castle Danger sounds scarier than it really is.
This very pleasant brewery is located on Lake Superior in the small town of Two Harbors along scenic highway 61.
Of the few breweries we’ve visited between Duluth and Two Harbors, this is our favorite. Jake enjoys the IPA’s and like the nitro stout.
Castle Danger doesn’t serve food (except for chips and salsa) but that’s ok. You can order from local restaurants. Or, you can bring your own.
If you’re heading to Castle Danger from Duluth, stop at Northern Waters Smokehaus, first. Our favorite thing to order are the smoked fish boxes. Simply order whatever portion of smoked fish you would, and they will add saltine crackers and scallion cream cheese.