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Things to do in Grand Marais

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The top 7 attractions in Grand Marais

Historical Monuments in Grand Marais
Naniboujou Lodge and Restaurant
Step inside the orange-painted double doors and lead you into the ‘The Dining Room’, where your breath is instantly taken away by the brilliantly painted dining room. Bright reds, oranges, greens and patterns captivate your eye from one end of the room to the next and up to its 20 foot ceilings. The Cree Indian designs and colors were painted by French artist, Antoine Goufee, are the perfect accompaniment for any meal. Built in 1929 as a private membership resort Naniboujou was going to be an all inclusive resort that even included a golf course, with goals of 1000+ members. Unfortunately the great depression happened shortly after its opening and it did not make it. Today it's still a luxury location; lodge and restaurant. It is as true to its original charm as a place could be- still retaining its color and charm- including the largest native rock chimney in Minnesota! Stop in during the week for an excellent experience in British high tea or for a scrumptious Sunday Brunch which includes a cedar-plank salmon with a honey glaze, quiche, homemade granola and yogurt, waffles, several types of meat and even bread pudding! To get there: take Hwy. 61 west, following the Lake Superior coastline for 14 miles out of Grand Marais, MN. You'll know you're there when you see the brightly painted yellow mailbox!
Cities in Grand Marais
Grand Marais
I've spent 57 years of my life traveling to this small but upscale town on the shores of Lake Superior. It was a sleepy little town when I first learned to love the cool, brisk breezes that would blow over the rocky shore up to my grandmother's house. Many a morning was spent waking up to the sound of a lonely foghorn booming out from the gray misty drapes that had been drawn over the harbor. Grand Marais has a rich heritage of tough Scandinavians and French Canadians who settled here in the late nineteenth century looking for a new life in a new land. They were fishermen and craftsmen who encourage their families to come to this rugged remote area of Minnesota to live among the pine and birch trees, much like their homeland. Or, they were of Native American descent whose ancestors had lived on the shores of "gichigami" for centuries. Roads were carved out among the rocky outcrops of the shoreline and gradually, the town grew. Many other small communities were built and the area is now a resort-filled haven of restful peace and tranquility--unless you decide to come up on a festival weekend when the traffic can be bumper to bumper! Grand Marais is now considered a community of artists- one can learn about many different crafts at the North Shore Folk House by watching demonstrations or participating in actual classes. There is a lovely quilt shop on the west end of town right on Highway 61 or you can spend your day canoeing, kayaking, sailing, or fishing. The Gunflint Trail heads north out of the village to twist and turn through primeval forests and around hidden lakes to various resorts hidden even deeper away from civilization than one could imagine. The town hosts a myriad of eclectic restaurants to tempt any palette...carnivorous or vegan! One can stay right on Lake Superior and fall asleep to the sound of the waves washing upon the shore....and wake up to the raucous seagulls at sunrise. All in all, Grand Marais is a place of beauty, built with love by settlers long ago who left an indelible mark on the citizens of today. These people will welcome you and invite you to sit and stay awhile and if you do... you will find yourself wanting to return again and again.
Of Touristic Interest in Grand Marais
North Superior Coast Guard Station
Now used a police station the Coast Guard Station isn't available for tours, but is a fixture to the Grand Marais harbor. It's beautiful array of striking white buildings with red roofs stand out from all viewpoints from around the area that look out towards the harbor. There is free public parking near the Coast Guard Station. Park and venture out to explore Artists Point to explore the northern side of the Grand Marais harbor (from which the photo was taken).
Historical Monuments in Grand Marais
Grand Marais Light
The Grand Marais Lighthouse is one of the most widely photographed sights in Grand Marais and northern Minnesota. Especially popular to photograph during storms as the waves crash against it the lighthouse is another historical fixture of the area. Originally lit for the first time in 1922 it now has an automatic light that is still in use today. Located at the end of the eastern harbor breakwater on a non-stormy day you can take a moderately-easy hike right out to the lighthouse and the edge of the breakwater to experience the Grand Marais Harbor from a completely new perspective. Always open for viewing- unless weather and water make it unsafe to do so.
Hiking in Grand Marais
Grand Marais Visitor Information Center
The Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway winds across 57 paved miles in Northern MN along the coast of Lake Superior. It begins at this point in Grand Marais and heads north from there. It's the entrance to the boundary waters at the northern point and is paved all along the way. A great place for biking, hiking and walking in the summers. In the winter the trail is well kept for cross country skiing or snow shoeing enthusiasts. Break out early in the morning and be the first on the trail for a truly unforgettable experience! Bring your camera along- you never know what you'll find behind the next bend! When the trail is not busy it's likely that you will see a wild animal or two. A big red fox perhaps?
Waterfalls in Grand Marais
Judge Magney State Park
The waterfalls of Devil's Kettle, located in the Judge Magney State Park in northern Minnesota are a bewildering mystery as no one knows to where they fall. Numerous tests have been done to try and determine where the falls end, but nothing has ever been determined. Basically anything that gets dropped into the falls and into Devil's Kettle is never seen from again. The state park itself is absolutely stunning with long, very clear walking and hiking trails. Stairs guide you up and down to the Devil's Kettle falls and further. And the best part is that dogs are allowed in the park- so bring along your furry friend and expect to see other dogs as it's a fairly popular spot for walking them!
Museums in Grand Marais
North House Folk School
In one room the hum of sewing machines draws me in - looking closer they are making a type of poncho- the perfect covering for the long wet spring. Below them in a room downstairs the smell of smoked meat wafts through the door- it's a class on preserving meat- from smoking to canning to making jerky- learn to preserve your meats like they used to. Learn to make sausage, restore wooden canoes, make jewelry and so much more at the North House Folk School! Started in 1995 with just a few basic courses the folk school has expanded to a very diverse offering of classes with something to interest everyone. Classes are offered throughout the year- their catalog online has the schedule and you can choose one that fits into your timeframe. If your class is over the weekend make sure to participate in the joint lunch hour and learn/meet other fellow students!