Fall Trip to Lutsen
Yet another trip up the North Shore down! I just can't seem to get enough of it. This time we packed up the siblings and stayed at Lutsen Resort for some fresh air and good old fashioned R&R. Yet another great option if you're looking to head North, any time of year!
Not too terribly far up the shore but far enough into the woods that you feel like you can truly unwind, Lutsen is a prime getaway for all seasons; I'm partial to the cooler seasons for this trip though - as the leaves change, the temperature drops just enough to make for the perfect hiking weather or puts you in the mood to cozy up to the fire. The resort has lots of options for lodging depending on the type of trip you're after; old or new, conveniently on site and walkable or tucked in the woods, romantic or group getaway! Overall, Lutsen Resort has every amenity you could ever need – Poplar River Pub and Grand Dining Room, fire pits along the water, surrounding trails through the woods and a spa on site. They also offer tons of free activities, tours, hiking resources, etc. The staff is stellar and extremely accommodating here; you will understand why they have so many returning visitors year after year in this beautiful place.
The Sea Villa townhomes are located about 3 miles south of the Main Lodge; they give a true cabin feel with cozy spaces, wood burning fireplace and a walk out view of Superior water and rocks. If you're looking to hunker down for the weekend and cozy up and wake up to the waves, this is the way to go!
Cliff House Townhomes
The townhomes sit clifftop to boast stunning views of both the main lodge and the water amongst the trees. These are fairly modern, new and are prime location in proximity to the main lodge/dining, spa, firepits and trails.
There are quite a few short but scenic loops and trails around the resort - it's definitely worth a walk - or four!
Castle Danger Brewery (Two Harbors)
We always make a stop at Castle Danger for a beer when we're passing through Two Harbors - they have a nice tap room and of course, more than nice beers. Stop for a glass or a growler to bring to the cabin. My favorite beer of the moment there is the Mosaic Fresh Hop IPA which was just released for fall. I love their George Hunter Stout, but it's a seasonal Winter Beer so catch it in the colder months.
North Shore Winery / Sawtooth Mountain Cider House
This awesome addition to Lutsen just opened in June - the winery and cider house is a small, cozy joint located just minutes from the main lodge down the Lutsen Ski Hill road. Chuck Corliss, a long-time Lutsen visitor and homeowner, and his wife, Kim Schroeder, an avid North Shore fan, are the founders of North Shore Winery and the Sawtooth Mountain Cider House. They make their wine from grapes in California and apples from Minnesota in their hard ciders! I was delightfully surprised at how good it all was. Out of the whites, I loved the chardonnay for it's oaky, buttery flavor. "Lutsen" was my favorite red for it's slight peppery taste and full body and the "Herbie's Cider" was perfectly crisp and refreshing, sweetened with a taste of maple syrup. They do flights which was a perfect way to enjoy them all - what a fun stop!
Temperance River State Park / Superior National Forest
Carlton Peak Trail
What a beautiful fall day for a hike it was. The Carlton Peak Trail at Temperance River State Park is such a fun trail; about 7.5 miles round trip, it's a moderate hike that starts out gradual with some stunning views of the falls along the way and then gets a bit steeper as you get to the top of the peak. The views are phenomenal at the top with what feels like a 360 view of Superior and dense forest.
Grand Marais Day Trip
With Grand Marais being only 30 minutes from Lutsen, it's definitely worth a day trip if you have the time to spare. Be sure to take some time to browse the shops in town, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the views. My two favorite Grand Marais stops are Gunflint Lodge for dinner and Voyager Brewing, but read more in depth about everything to experience in my previous post from Grand Marais!
Caribou Falls Trail
This is a super quick trail with some great views of the falls and easy enough to do on your way in or out of Lutsen. Caribou Falls Trail is in Silver Bay along the Superior National Hiking Trail. You can get to the top views there and back in under two miles; the trail is very gradual and follows the river the entire way, with a payoff of the falls at the end!
New Scenic Cafe (Duluth)
This has been a must-stop for too long! The stars finally aligned and we stopped for lunch on our way back home. New Scenic Cafe is an intimate cafe facing lake Superior; they are focused on organic and local American cuisine and their dishes are phenomenal! The menu is creative and very well done! The Ahi Tacos are always on the menu as a starter and boy, are they worth it; flaky buttery wonton wrappers, fresh tuna strips and a punchy wasabi sauce. Sandwiches and entrees are all given lots of thought - it's well worth a stop.
Russ Kendall's Smoke House | Knife River, MN
A great stop along the way for smoked fish and cheeses, it's been around since the 1920s - tiny spot but huge convenience; grab some snacks for the cabin or some treats for home on your way back! The smoked salmon boasts some rave reviews and the lake trout is sourced locally and keeps people coming back! Even Andrew Zimmern says it's one of the best places for smoked fish and one of his favorite stops along the North Shore. Try the sugar-cured lake trout atop a cracker with a slice of the cranberry or wine cheddar - oh and that homemade salmon spread, mmm.
This is a quick and easy stop with a big payoff; one of the best stops along the way in terms of views! Off highway 61 in Silver Bay, you can drive all the way up the hill to catch these views. There are often rock climbers in this area too; not for me but sure a sight to see.
Hope this adds to your ongoing list of North Shore stops - they never get old!