“I am looking for the people who have always been there, and belong to the places they live. The others I do not wish to see.” – Norman Lewis
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Grand Marais, MN – Exploring the area surrounding Lake Superior is our way of taking a load off from hard work. You might agree, or you might not, but the point is – if you haven’t tried it, we suggest you do. It doesn’t have to be anything special, a simple weekend-trip will do. And if you choose to follow our advice, there’s a place you absolutely need to swing by. It’s called Grand Marais, MN.
This place is one of those small towns that somehow inspires people from the moment they set foot in it (we speak from experience). Grand Marais is a friendly, quaint harbor village that offers plenty more than most would expect. Unique events, natural beauty, and authentic and creative personalities are just piece of the puzzle.
A Picturesque Small Town With An Artistic Soul
For example, Coastal Living Magazine chose the Grand Marais Art Colony as one of the top 10 artist colonies in the country. And that’s just one of its many recognitions. That being said, it’s easy to see why it is regarded as a home for those with an artistic spirit. The nationally renowned North House Folk School, for example, has a home here. It is the same for thousands of artisans, photographers, artists and musicians. Even the area’s unique shops and restaurants all exude an artistic flair.
With a home in Cook County, Minnesota, Grand Marais is beautifully nestled in between Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that this place boasts some pretty impressive photo ops. This small town is actually the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a gorgeous stretch of nature we’ve covered in a previous article. And with a population just under 1,400, Grand Marais is the perfect place to stock up on gear if heading to the BWCAW.
Grand Marais, MN – French Name, French-Like Delicious Food
But, anyone looking to check this place out for whatever reason has got to wonder about the name, right? We did, and it turns out Grand Marais is actually French for “Great Marsh.” This refers to the marsh which existed in early fur-trading times that led to the settlement of the village at the head of the little bay and harbor. But, the town was originally a Native American settlement. Then, it transformed into a fishing camp for European immigrants. Its following iteration became a shipping hub and fur trading post. Finally, Grand Marais today is a popular tourist destination.
When it comes to the “definite must-sees” on this occasion, there’s quite a bit to talk about. My Sister’s Place, for example, is where you want to be if you’re into burgers and thin-crust pizza. The Crooked Spoon Café boasts exquisite service and interesting entrees. The Angry Trout Café is the go-to place for seafood, and the World’s Best Donuts Shop is…well, self-explanatory.
It’ll Be Pretty Hard To Accomplish The Following In A Weekend…But Do Try
On the other hand, Drury Lane Books is a store that speaks for itself, and the Lake Superior Trading Post is your rustic, outdoor-oriented department store. When it comes to art, you’ll be in heaven in Grand Marais. For example, the Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery is a blast, as well as the Betsy Bowen Studio. The Sivertson Gallery is our personal recommendation, just like several events we wholeheartedly agree you should check out. They include the Dragon Boat Festival, the Arts festival, the annual Fishermans’ Picnic and the Moose Madness Festival.
Lastly, lodging options are, as always, numerous. The Aspen Lodge is one way to go. Then you have spots like the East Bay Suites and the Best Western Plus Superior Inn & Suites. The Outpost Motel is also on the list, which includes both the Shoreline Inn and the Devil’s Track Cabins. Finally, Cobblestone Cove Villas, Elsie’s Lakeview Cabins and Croftville Road Cottages all represent good options, as well.