If you’ve been following my blog for awhile you know how much I love Grand Marais. My first post was a few years in the making and man, did I put a lot of love into it. However, even after publishing it I feel like I barely scratched the surface with all the rest of things Grand Marais has to offer.
I decided to team up with Jaye from Cascade Vacation Rentals to do a Ladies Day in Grand Marais. We tapped into some places I haven’t been to yet and crafted a perfect day to spend with your girlfriend in Grand Marais. Even though it is labeled as Girl’s day, this day is perfect for anyone! Read below for our day or you can even listen in as I was guest-hosting with Jaye on her podcast called Exploring the North Shore!
We started the day around 9am with breakfast at South of the Border Cafe. I’ve always driven by it on my trips up but never stopped in! I always kept thinking it was a Mexican food joint. Little to my knowledge South of the Border meant South of the border…of Canada. The restaurant is open 5am-2pm and takes cash only so remember to bring some bills! I had a typical American breakfast with eggs, bacon, and potatoes. It filled us up for what came next!
Around 10am we made our way to the North House Folk School. They have a little yellow house along the highway that serves as their gift shop and first point of contact for this place. This establishment has been around for a little over 20 years and has curated quiet the class catalog. People come from near and far to take courses here year-round focused on traditional crafts with heavy Scandinavian influence. They currently have a course catalog with over 350 class options ranging from basket weaving, herbology, canoe building, wood carving, blacksmithing and so much more. They also offer “try-it” classes for free that are typically a 2-hour class that gives you a small insight into a multi-day course.
We signed up for the Timber Framing try-it course. Before even heading in I had no clue what timber framing was! If you take a walk around the North House campus, you’ll notice a lot of the buildings have a timber frame structure. After listening to our awesome class leaders, we were able to walk around and notice the different types of joinery (the making and installation for non-structural timber) for each frame. In the 2 hour try-it class we briefly learned about the planning, layout, and joinery necessary to construct a traditional timber frame (post and beam) structure. Our class, with about 10 participants, put our skills to the test and built up an 8×8 Timber frame. While it only took about 10 minutes to assemble, it was a good intro to what their 5-10 day courses entail!
After 2 hours of learning and building, we built up (literally) quite the appetite so we headed to My Sister’s Place for lunch. The restaurant is such an eclectic mix of Northwoods decor but it all works perfectly. The menu has several options but their burger selection was what tempted me. As a big juicy lucy fan, I had to try their version of a juicy lucy. It was delicious and I would definitely get it again! Jaye decided on one of the hot dogs topped with Kimchi and other goodies. Both dishes were super tasty!
After filling our bellies we decided to walk it off and do a little shopping! Our first stop was Joy & Co. Be sure to listen to the interview on the podcast – this was one of my favorite parts of the day. Joy & Co features new artist pieces and an ever-changing inventory of art supplies, vintage items, locally crafted jewelry, and antiques. We were lucky enough to meet the owner of this place and learn some fun facts and the history behind the name. You can literally spend hours in here finding knick-knacks and other treasured pieces. Jaye and I enjoyed checking out all the various art supplies and piecing through the amazing racks of vintage clothing. I was stunned to find an old decal from my grandpa’s seed company too! I almost walked out with this old school Jumanji game but waited because I had to come back and bring Eric to the record room!
After Joy & Co we headed into the Mercantile for some sweets (we couldn’t pass up an afternoon treat!) and then headed to Drury Lane Books. I was excited to visit here because somehow I always passed this place up when I visit – but never again! This little house right next to the lake has one of the best locations in town. The store was originally built as a home and has housed numerous shops including a gift shop and an art gallery. In 2002, Joan Drury, opened the book store. I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing selections here. The owner is extremely proud of the great literature available for sale there as she stocks all genres with a variety of new titles and old favorites. I was especially excited to see the section of local authors and books on Grand Marais. After Jaye snagged a great book for her daughters, we decided to make our way to the Betsy Bowen Gallery!
Our last and final stop was up the hill to the Besty Bowen Art Studio. I’ve actually passed this place several times and just thought it was a church – boy I was wrong! Betsy Bowen has her own art studio and gallery in the basement of the church and then upstairs there are individual studios for artists to rent or use. My favorite part about visiting here was finding the Antler Bear Canoe book that I had as a child. It was really surreal to meet the women who created this book that I loved so much as a kid! Also, if you visit make sure to take a peek at the ceiling. Her woodblock prints line the ceiling and it makes for a pretty incredible touch on the space.
To finish up the day we drove up the Gunflint trail to take a moment and appreciate Grand Marais Beauty from the top. A few minutes up the Gunflint you’ll see Pin Cushion Mountain on the right and make sure to swing in there for some epic views! We took in the scenery while enjoying the beautiful day. If you are heading up, there’s plenty of hiking trails as well!
While Jaye and I ended our day relaxing at Pin Cushion Mountain I wanted to mention some options for evening plans to complete the ultimate girls day in Grand Marais! Jaye and I talked about doing a Grand Marais bar crawl which could easily be done – but start early! We suggest heading to Wunderbar – maybe catch some live music or play Tetris and then head to Voyageur rooftop for a brewed beer (with some cheese curds of course!) Make your way by walking to one of my favorites – the Crooked Spoon “rooftop.” Open seasonally, I love heading here for an app and a glass of wine while watching the views of the beach. If you’re needing something a little stronger than beer or wine, head down the block to the Gunflint Tavern to their rooftop. I like to come here for sunset, live music, and to mingle with the locals and tourists! I always meet the best people here! Can you tell I like rooftops? End your night at Grandma Ray’s as they stay open the latest. Always make sure to have a sober ride home or you can do this all by walking too. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this itinerary as much as I did! What else should I include next time? Did I miss any of your favorites? Remember you can listen to our day on the podcast or take a peek at our YouTube Video to pretend you’re there in person. 🙂
Make sure to catch Jaye weekly on her Podcast “Exploring the North Shore!”