Monday, October 13, 2014

fall trip: duluth and grand marais

last week we took a trip to the north shore with the kids. it was sort of an impromptu trip we booked a few weeks ago after our friends becky and jeromy told us about the great place where they stay in grand marais every year. we had been itching to get away somewhere for a few days, so we decided to go for it! it was a fun little adventure with the kids. they were great travelers. azalea never complained about the car ride and ashford only had a couple screaming fits (usually toward the end of the drive). lots of fun family time. the fall colors were out of this world!

we left on wednesday morning after picking up glam doll donuts for a little treat along the way. my happy travelers:

we got to duluth at lunch time and ate at fitger's brewhouse (my favorite duluth restaurant). the bleu cheese burger is amazing. after lunch, we went down to the water and played on the rocks. azalea thought it was super fun throwing the rocks in the water. the weather was gorgeous....50's and sunny.

we left duluth and hit the road for grand marais. we stopped at one rest stop and got to grand marais at dinner time. we checked into our unit at east bay suites, which was super nice with a bedroom, living room and full kitchen. we were tired, so we picked up pizza from sven and oles and brought it back to our suite. 

living the life, watching cartoons while eating dinner
we decided it made the most sense for us all to sleep in the bedroom. azalea, thatcher and me in the king size bed and ashford in the pack n play. azalea begged me to go to bed with her, so I did. at 830pm. haha. this sort of became a theme on the trip. 

on the bright side, it made it easier to get up before dawn with the kids. and we got to see the beautiful sunrise! 

we got ready, had breakfast at the suite and then spent a good hour out on the beach (note: it was in the upper 30's out!).  ashford and i snuggled to keep warm. 

it was a gorgeous morning! (we stayed in the first building on the left, below).

after our tropical beach excursion, we drove 15 miles north to judge cr magney state park. the lady at the front desk at east bay said there was an easy 2 mile hike (i quote "with no stairs") to the falls, so we took it. it ended up being a little more rigorous than we expected (read; lots of stairs). not to mention azalea made thatcher carry her most of the way there and back. ashford slept most of the time in the ergo. the falls were gorgeous, so it was worth it. 

the only family pic we took...

we were starving when we got back to town, so we picked up tacos and took them back to the suites. we intended to go out and do something in the afternoon, but ended up napping most of it away in shifts. in the evening, we walked around town a bit, then went to the angry trout for dinner, which was highly recommended by about a dozen friends. it was a pretty restaurant, right on the water. cozy atmosphere and good food. we enjoyed it! 

i have to note that both kids did so well at every restaurant we went to. dining out with 2 littles is not always super relaxing, but they made it easy on us and i was so thankful! 

 after dinner we picked up smoked trout from a fish house next door to bring home. it was another early to bed night. ;)

friday morning we got ready then headed to "worlds best donuts" across the street from where we were staying.

i'm not sure that they were the world's best, but they were definitely tasty :) we checked out of our suite, then hit the road for duluth. we stopped at gooseberry falls on the way, had a little picnic lunch inside the visitor center, 

she likes to pretend she's talking on the phone sometimes when you take her picture...yeah, i don;t know either....

after lunch we hiked the loop around the falls. this was a much shorter/easier hike than the day before. ashford enjoyed being back carried in the ergo for the first time. 

we made a stop at russ kendall's fish house for more smoked fish (salmon this time, the best!) we checked into our hotel on park point, relaxed for a while then headed to canal park to walk out to the lighthouse, go in the visitor center and browse a few shops. 

for dinner we drove up the hill to burrito union. despite opening the year after I graduated, it's one of my favorite duluth restaurants. it's owned by the same people as fitgers, so that's probably why. after dinner it was only 6:30 so we decided to pay a visit my alma mater, UMD. so much has changed in the 8 years (yikes!) since i graduated. and the students on campus looked sooo young. sigh :) we retired to the hotel at 7:30. bed time was harder, logistically, just having one room, but we survived. 

our last morning we went to amazing grace cafe because it said on their website they had some dairy free bakery items, so thatcher was excited. it was absolutely packed and when we asked about the dairy free stuff they just shrugged and said they didn't have any. umm ok. bummer. i got a mocha and a muffin to share with azalea and we went on our way. our final stop of the trip was "play front park" which is right next to bay front park. it was a bit chilly, but the azalea still had fun. we hit the road after that and the kids slept for most of the trip! 

whew, this got long! sorry about that. it was so nice to escape for a few days and just be together and i'm so glad we made it happen!  


katielookingforward said...

What a bummer about the lack of dairy free options! But the rest of the weekend looks amazing!

~Dawn~ said...

I'm amazed at how much you crammed in with having the two kids. So much fun!! What a beautiful area...I'll have to mark that on our family-trip to do list! We've seen Gooseberry Falls and Duluth, but not since the girls were really little, so it would be nice to go back now where they can appreciate it more.
Also, that picture of Thatcher and Ashford towards the top...precious!! Ashford's smile is so sweet!!

~Dawn~ said...
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~Dawn~ said...
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Sarah said...

What a fun trip! I've been wanting to bring Aubrey to Duluth. I think we'll have to do it sometime soon. She'd love it!

Jen [wonderfully unkempt] said...

I love all the photos! It looks like you guys picked the perfect time to visit!

Becky said...

Yay! I'm so glad you guys had a good time. We love to spread the East Bay love.
Linnea and Azalea would be a good pair. I'm pretty sure Linnea would spend all day throwing rocks in the water if we let her.
"After our tropical beach excursion." LOL!
Angry Trout - yum! Ha ha. We say the same thing about "World's Best" - don't think they are world's best...but they are pretty darn good, and a daily occurrence when we are up there.
We've never been to Burrito Union. We'll have to check it out.
I agree with Dawn - the picture at the top of Thatcher and Ashford is awesome!
I also love the contrast of the first picture of Azalea and the last! Ha ha!

Brittany said...

What a fun time! You guys packed in some fun things in your short time and awesome that the kids did so well too :)


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