U.S.: Part 2

Wednesday was a travel day for us, so we caught a taxi to the Metra stop to downtown Chicago to catch Amtrak’s Empire Builder rail service to Minneapolis. We spent quite a bit of time in the lounge car with its large windows, watching the American landscape pass by. We arrived early, to our surprise, and found the ’89 Oldsmobile our relatives kindly lent us for our northerly trip. We hit a freakish blizzard for the first half of the trip, so we were glad to make it in around 1:30 a.m. Thursday was a light day with a dog walk and errands, ending with a sushi dinner.

We all got up early for mini dog sled races that began at 7 a.m. It was super cute with dogs under 20 lbs. pulling miniature sleds hopefully the twenty or so feet to the finish line. Afterwards, we had a light breakfast and took a walk along the chilly Lake Superior shore filled with broken up ice that made beautiful sounds as the waves moved them. DeWitt Seitz marketplace warmed us back up with some inside shopping, as well as some antique shops across the streets and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (caramel apple, yum!). Across the river, we had lunch with my uncle I haven’t seen in at least five years, then we called it a day to prepare for an evening bonfire. Herr provided some homemade gluewein that went over well.

Lake Superior.

Saturday was a big day. My aunt came up from Minneapolis and joined us for the Cutest Puppy Contest. The venue was quite crowded, however, so we didn’t stay too long. An Alaskan Malamut won (she was very adorable and fluffy), although I voted for a Great Dane puppy (the size of those paws… so cute!). The weather was conducive to a sleigh ride (unlike our wedding), so 16 of us piled on a sleigh way out in the boonies and had fun pushing each other off for near an hour. Pretty exhausting, but it’s all fun. We had a good mix of food and roasted s’mores around a bonfire per tradition.

The Beargrease races started on Sunday, but we were pretty worn out from all those activities and chose to instead go for snowmobile runs. Herr and my father took the sleds out to the Buffalo House, and my mom and I met up with them. It was a good day for it, and Herr hadn’t had a real chance to go sledding before. He seemed to enjoy it well enough!

We had to get ready to head up farther north though, so we packed up and drove to Larsmont Cottages on the North Shore Monday afternoon. We took it easy and swam a bit indoors before heading for the outdoor hot tub. Woo! Nothing like sitting in hot water with below freezing conditions to feel like you’re really in Minnesota.

Tuesday started off well with a lazy morning and a scenic walk on the waterfront outside the cottage. The resort provided complementary snowshoes, which we used around Gooseberry Falls. We stopped at Bettys’ Pies for a quick bite before joining my parent for a yummy meal at the New Scenic Cafe. When we were leaving, I noticed just how bright the stars were so far out of the city. What a sight!

Lake Superior.Lakeshore.Gooseberry Falls.

On Wednesday we celebrated our fourth anniversary by nordic skiing, swimming, taking an hour-long professional massage, and then eating at the Rock Edge Grille located at the resort. I did okay for my first time cross country skiing, but as a beginner, I really do not like turns going down hills. The massages were some of the best we had; I’m sure they helped us recover from our outdoor activities.

It was sad to pack up and head back down. The staff at Larsmont are all friendly, and I was getting used to a whirlpool tub. Alas, we stopped in Duluth to have lunch with my grandma and have a chat with my other grandma before hitting the road for Minneapolis. We stayed with my aunt who then kindly brought us to the airport the next morning for an uneventful flight back to Germany.