After little debate, we decided to make the drive "all the way" up to Grand Marais. Ravenously hungry, the first order of business was finding an excellent place to enjoy some dinner. Dan had heard of The Angry Trout Cafe, (his brother had eaten there during a past trip to the North Shore,) and remembered where it was located, so after a brief glance through the menu, we settled in at a table overlooking the lake. Angry Trout serves sustainable, locally-grown, mostly organic, incredibly tasty seafood and vegetarian fare. (We're talking so sustainable, they use small cloth napkins to conserve wash water, and only have reuseable, hard-plastic to-go containers -- you leave your name and promise to return the container the next day!) Dan started with a cup of their fish chowder, featuring several of the day's catches, (and Yukon Gold potatoes, which might be one of his favorite foods,) and also enjoyed an order of fish and chips, and I had homemade spinach pasta tossed in an amazing hazelnut pesto, with a huge buttermilk-bleu cheese dressed salad on the side. We also ordered organic hot tea, which was served in gigantic, hand-thrown teapots, with hand-thrown mugs to match. An incredibly delicious, incredibly satisfying meal to end a very busy day. (I couldn't help but order a slice of their lemon-ginger cake to go, which our waitress kindly packed in a waxed paper bag for me, so I didn't have to worry about bringing back the to-go container the next day.)
After dinner, we found a hotel, checked in, went for a walk along the lake, and turned in for the night. (Having cable TV is a nice treat! We watched shows about bears and tigers on the Discovery Channel.) The next morning, after Dan slept in and I had some oatmeal at the free hotel breakfast, we took a walk along the shoreline.
We had noticed this lighthouse the night before:
We decided to wander our way over.
View from the beach:
Puddles along the rocky shore:
A stream trickling through the rock into the lake:
Beautiful, sunny morning:
I thought these rocks, covered with orange iron deposits, were pretty dang cool:
After much meandering, we finally made it to the lighthouse!
Nothing too terribly exciting, but we did meet a cool guy from Israel who asked us to take his picture. He was in Minnesota visiting a friend, and he said he liked Minnesota very much, although it was very, very cold for him!
After our walk, we worked up an appetite and decided to have lunch at Gunflint Tavern. Dan had eaten there during a previous trip, and remembered the amazing food, hip atmosphere, and again, commitment to organics. Unbeknownst to me, Grand Marais is this little, quaint, town full o' hippies in way northern Minnesota! Wahoo! (They even have a co-op!) Anyhow, back to lunch. Dan ordered tap rootbeer and the burger of the day -- covered with sauteed portobello mushrooms and gouda cheese, and I ordered their wild mushroom ravioli, which was served with a side of deliciously simple sauteed veggies dressed in what I think was some kind of balsamic glaze. (Oh yeah -- big salad to start, again.) Dan ordered an espresso after we finished eating, and I couldn't help ordering dessert again -- espresso pot de creme! Sigh. Lunch was amazing . . . and boy was I FULL!
After lunch, Dan let me do a little bit of shopping -- we poked into a couple of stores and an art gallery, where we scored some free herbal tea. (Yum!)
Dan skipped rocks while I browsed in a teeny, local bookstore:
After our shopping adventures and a quick debate as to whether we should head further north or start heading back south, we piled into the car, making the responsible choice to slowly start heading towards home. Southward bound, with two hikes planned for the afternoon.