So you want to know about secret getaways and hidden gems, eh?
As you have gotten to know me, you have often heard me say that I am more likely to tell you where not to go than where to go. It is a fun thing for me to say for a few reasons. I say that often to direct you away from a large crowd of people, or sometimes it may help you expand your horizons, so you have a chance to see some other options on this amazing North Shore. There are a whole lot of things to do up here. No matter if you like to hike, bike, ski, fish, take casual strolls, see how many different species of birds and wildlife you can identify, or just find a nice spot to chill by the lake for a while, there are many places for anything you wish to do. We hope we can help you find all the best places-the nooks, and crannies during your visits to the shore. The places to go where you may be the only ones and have it all to yourself. Okay, during the busy summer months, you may not have it all to yourself. Over the course of the last year, the number of visits to the North Shore increased very quickly. Those of us that live here have truly never seen anything like it. All of those spots that to us used to be the places to get away truly were suddenly seeing visitors. The horizons are indeed expanding.
The other day I was having a conversation with my counterpart Tia, up at Caribou Highlands, and we talked a little about helping people go places and helping them find these places that would make a trip to the North Shore a memory that will last. Those secret spots are getting harder to find, with all the people seeking out hidden spots to get away from it all. When it comes to the North Shore, it doesn't matter so much that there are many people. What truly matters is that you find the place that will make it memorable. That place may be Larsmont or Caribou Highlands since it is where you may be staying, or it may be at Gooseberry Falls. It may be at the high falls at Tettagouche or taking in the view from the pebble beach at Split Rock lighthouse. These are all fantastic places! It may be a run-up to Grand Marais to eat at the Angry Trout or to get one of the "World's Best Donuts" (this you should do because they are that good), or it may be a stop at Black Beach in Silver Bay.
All of these are well worth the effort and worth seeing, spending some time at, and getting to know. The point of coming to the shore in my eyes is the beauty of it all, and I must admit we do have some fantastic food and beer up here. (The food and beer can be a topic for another time). You may have noticed that all of these are places you know about. Each one of them is an icon of our shore. These are all places you have to visit. Each of them lends a different part to the story. With these places as a part of our story, it's just that it is a very popular story. It is a popular story for a reason. Each of these places is known for its' beauty and history. Some of them are known for the fantastic food or the atmosphere of just being there. These are all places that will add memories in one way or another to your visit.
When I was a kid coming up to the shore myself, we visited all the same places. My Dad used to collect rocks on the shore of the lake, and he would paint on them where they came from and what year it was. I still have those rocks. For me, each of these popular places means something to me. I still go to these places and take it all in, and it hasn't changed for me over time. I like to get away from people just as much as the next guy, but when it comes to these places, for example, I am quite happy to share these places with others. As with all the places to visit on the shore each time you are there, something new can be found as these parks and trails always go beyond that first waterfall and go far beyond the trail lines. The secret to exploring these places is not necessarily getting away from people. The secret is to go beyond what you have done before. Trying something new will open up whole new worlds in all of these places you thought you were already so familiar with. If you see a bunch of people where you are, it's only because this place is just as unique as you thought it was.
As for the secret getaways and hidden gems, you just may have been overlooking them. You may already know them, as for us giving you all of our little secrets. We may share a few now and then, but we have to keep at least a few good ones to ourselves. I mean, seriously—just a couple.
I'll see you at Tettagouche. Jade will be leading the way to the high falls from the other trail. See? That other trail you didn't know about. You have been seeing it this whole time.
As an avid outdoorsman Mark has explored the North Shore from Duluth to Grand Portage. And he's ready to spill the beans on the region's best hikes, vistas, and adventures. Stay tuned to his blog for trail reports, new activities, and more.
Mark runs the activities program at Larsmont Cottages which is open to all guests of Odyssey Resorts.