Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Right up the road from Mediocre Marais

John, the Night Writer, posted about a wonderful time he had in Grand Marais MN recently (here). MM and I have been to that beautiful town a couple of times ourselves; but the reason for going was not what we would have ever chosen.

My Goddaughter, April, died from Leukemia when she was 25. Her aunt from my sister-in-law’s side lived in Grand Marais, and April loved it up there, particularly the lighthouse area. When her body had been cremated, we took the ashes up to the lighthouse point and had a memorial service for her amidst a little area of trees right next to the lake. It was a surprise when I met the minister who led the service---he was a frat brother of mine at Gustavus, and it had been about 20 years since I had seen him last. We went to visit the site again a few years later; but haven’t been back since. We’ll have to put that on our list of trips and get up there again soon.

John was right on about getting up there before the peak fall colors show. Years ago, pre-MM, a friend and I decided to go up and enjoy a fall weekend along the Norwegian Riviera, or North Shore to the rest of us. We started looking for hotels in Duluth, then drove up about as far as Lutsen; but we could not find any hotels that had a room available. We were told that nearly all the hotels are booked one year in advance for the peak color season in September. We decided to head back, and cut over into Wisconsin and drive back to the cities on that side of the river. Well, just as we’re almost out of Duluth, we saw some old hotel that had a vacancy sign on, and it turns out it had one room left. The highlight of the weekend was going up to Hawk Ridge and hanging around with a bunch of amateur ornithologists who were there to witness the annual hawk migration; unfortunately, the only hawk we saw was the one tethered to a perch. To me, it was somewhat of a wasted afternoon standing on a ridge. To them, it was probably just another fun day at the office.

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