A Most Unusual Summer Excursion
Covid-19 is sneaking into all of our lives, everywhere. You can’t see it. You can’t feel it, and you can’t smell it.
We fled Florida because we knew what was happening and what was going to happen under the current leadership. Cass County, Missouri has only few cases and last year we had already planned to spend three weeks in Two Harbors. Turns out that Lake County, MN has no deaths and only a few cases. It is a good place to hide from the virus. The day we arrived the governor gave orders for everyone to mask up!
Where is Two Harbors?
It is about thirty minutes north of Duluth, Minnesota on Minnesota 61. Two Harbors has a population of just over 3,000, and Duluth is a major hub with 85,000 people, where you can find all the supplies you need. The drive to Two Harbors along Lake Superior is also spectacular! Visit Spirit Rest Area in Duluth for the best view of the lake.
Why vacation in Two Harbors?
If you like water sports, hiking, birding, bicycling, golfing, lighthouses, visiting state parks with awesome waterfalls, and a great view of Lake Superior, this is the place to land. Two Harbors has created a state-of-the art campground with sites overlooking Lake Superior. The view is mesmerizing and awesome! Day trips can get you to places you have always wanted to visit. Lakeview golf course is right across the street and there is a Dairy Queen within walking distance. And … the weather is mostly cool, clear, and calm! Locals are friendly!
Two Harbors is a Gem!
Almost every day I walk a path down to Agate Bay and back. Sometimes I walk through the town and inspect what it is like to live in Two Harbors. At other times, I take a more rugged path that ends up on rocks behind the lighthouse. The views are stunning. Only a few people walk the path or the streets, so it is very refreshing. The best hiking path in the world (for me) is in Hoonah, Alaska. Crisp air and sea meet towering black reflective mountains along Icy Straight! Ah! The path at Two Harbors has to be my second best hike. It is clean, paved, groomed and welcomes you with sparkling sights. I look forward to it every day!At the end of this blog, I will take you on a walk with me!
I wondered about the economic situation of Two Harbors. Many of the houses are crumbling along with streets and sidewalks. In many places in town, you have to walk in the street because the trees hang low to the sidewalks. I wondered if anyone lived in those houses?
I thought the median price of a home in Two Harbors would be about $75K. Wrong! It is $140K. I can’t believe it. It looks like there are many houses in the $700K range built on the water. This has to bring the median price up! There is not much industry in Two Harbors and most people earn around $50K. I thought that was pretty good because it is more than the median salary in Kansas City. Less than half of the people are employed and the median age is around 40. I wonder if they leave in the winter. (In almost every town we visit, I find a Masonic temple. Two Harbors sports one near the Bay.)
For such a tiny town, they have done wonders to attract tourists. The main drag on 61 is a feast! There are lots of little shops and places to dine. (Of course, there is only take-out now!) We were surprised that it had a large and reasonable grocery store. Burlington Bay campground was financed through a State Bond by a local politician, David Dill. He died before his dream came to life. Thank you Rep. Dill!
Agate Bay has been revisioned from its old mining days where men lost their lives living in tents. In 40 below temperatures they mined ore, rock, and cut wood. All along the bay up the hill are old rooming houses that must have replaced the tents.
Tourist Attractions Abound
We visited Gooseberry Falls and learned about the CC camps that built it in the 1930’s. Of course, all the buildings were closed so there were no souvenirs.
There is so much to discover on Highway 61. You will find the stunning Split Rock Lighthouse, Iona’s Beach, Tettegouche State Park, Lutsen, and the massive taconite harbors that are essentially shut down. Take time to explore the rest of Minnesota too! Several years ago we spent about a month searching out everything we could find in Minnesota, some of it was a shock! especially the mines and toxic waste they left. But everyone was Minnesota Nice!
Thirty-eight years ago, on our honeymoon, we camped through this area. I have mentioned in an earlier blog that there used to be only a two lane rugged pot-holed road between Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth. Today the highways are upgraded but they make you dizzy! I think they have created such a mess that people are afraid to exit and visit Duluth. Highways are on top of each other and turn back and forth!!!
Duluth is a marvel to explore. Built on the side of a hill, the view of Lake Superior is beyond beautiful! Visit Spirit Mountain! Many of its stone and brick structures reminded me of Butte, Montana. I wondered if Duluth had had a fire and it sure did at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1918. After Butte’s fire of 1895, they declared that buildings could only be built of cement, brick, or rock!
We usually hang out around the Maritime Museum and walk to the lighthouses when we visit Duluth. This time we were spooked by unmasked tourists. The numbers of people were overwhelming! And, only one building had public restrooms. We felt at risk for the virus, so we escaped and decided to order take-out somewhere in Duluth.
Bob Dylan Has a Street Named After Him
The best thing about visiting Duluth was finding Bob Dylan’s boyhood home. Forgive me, I have never been a fan of Dylan’s genius. He was too raw for me.
How does it feel?
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?