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Spring is Here, Paddle Safely

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 6:38am

Happy Spring Everyone! Now that spring has sprung most people are able to get out and enjoy some time on the water. It will be awhile before we are able to do so in the BWCA but it’s always a good time for a reminder about paddling safety. Here’s a video from the ACA and US Coast Guard that will help refresh your memory of paddling safely this spring and always.

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Gifts, Northern Lights, and Lynx

Gunflint Lodge - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 6:22am

We got back from the gift show on Tuesday.  It is held several times a year at the Umaga Center in Minneapolis.  We usually go to the March show because it features gifts for resorts.  It takes us 4 days.  The first two days are spent looking at all the showrooms and temporary booths.  As we go through a list is kept of things we may be interested in buying.  The last two days are spent placing orders by reviewing each place on the list.  Things are always added and subtracted.
The one who knows the most about what we have is April from the front desk.  She has reviewed our catalogs and orders from last year.  Then she looks at what it left.  It is nothing we could not all do but April actually does the job.  Also she gives us the viewpoint of another generation.
The point of all this is to remind you to save your money.  Plan to spend some time and money in the gift shop on you visit here.  I am sure there will be something on the shelves that you just can’t live without.
Monday Mike from the front desk drove down the Gunflint Trail.  Near the Tucker Lake Road he saw a large lynx.  We never saw lynx here when I first came up.  Within the last 5-6 years they are regularly seen on the South Gunflint Lake road.  Also we have seen a dwindling population of snowshoe hares.  I must admit that my garden and I do not miss rabbits.  Squirrels and chipmunks are bad enough but rabbits can really make a mess of the garden.  They especially like new leaves on green beans.
A couple years ago I put in this blog a wonderful picture of a lynx at the Gunflint narrows.  One of our guests took the picture by being at the right place with a camera at the right time.  Look back at the blogs a couple years ago to see this magnificent animal.
I was talking with Chris our bartender today.  Last night about midnight he looked out his window so see some northern lights.  He said that they just exploded across the sky.  The lights swirled and the colors changed.  By the time he got a jacket and went out with a camera, they were gone.
So, I have decided to look myself tonight.  Of course last night was a clear sky and tonight will probably be overcast.  Then there is the question of waking up without waking Bruce.  That is almost impossible so we will both be shivering looking out the north windows.  Next week if I don’t write about northern lights or have a picture of them, you will know that the whole thing was a disaster.  Don’t ask what happened.
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Grand Marais wins 1st Place in CNN’s List of “Coolest Small Towns in America” for 2015

Clearwater Lodge Tales - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 2:03pm
Conratulations to Grand Marais!   This month our small town (home to only about 1,300 people) was the number 1 spot on CNN’s “Coolest Small Towns in America” list for 2015. At Clearwater Historic Lodge & Canoe Outfitters, you can have the best of both worlds. There are 32 beautiful …

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Eagles, Antlers & Fire

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 8:05am

What do these three things have in common? Just the fact the Minnesota DNR has provided updates about them in the last week that I want to share with you.

First off is the Eagle Cam.  If I had endless time to watch videos online then I would surely be watching the Eagle Cam.  Live footage of eaglets and their parents in a nest? It doesn’t get much better than this. Those eaglets are so cute and watching the adults bring them food and keep an eye out for danger is very entertaining.

Next is just a little information about deer antlers and why deer shed them each year.

Star Tribune Photo

Question of the week

Q: Why do deer shed their antlers each year?

A: Annual cycles in deer antlers are related to the changing seasons. Deer have adapted their physiology and behavior to respond to seasonal changes, including antler growth and shedding. The environmental cue that regulates antler growth is the amount of day length; the physiological cue is the hormone testosterone.

Simply put, the changing day lengths are sensed by the eyes, which send this message through the optic nerve to the pineal gland located at the base of the brain. The declining day length in late fall and early winter causes a decrease in testosterone, which results in antler shedding.

The actual process of antler shedding involves a thin layer of tissue destruction that forms between the antler and the pedicle, called the abscission layer. The degeneration of the bone-to-bone bond between the antler and the pedicle is considered to be the fastest deterioration of living tissue known in the animal kingdom.

Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program supervisor

Lastly Fire…  Anytime the snow cover leaves the earth earlier than normal there’s a higher chance of fire activity. Fire is a four-letter word that I personally hate to use. Our conditions on the Gunflint Trail are much different than they are elsewhere in the State of Minnesota. We still have snow cover and most likely we’ll receive more wet snow throughout April to keep things wet. After all, we have mud season that seems to last forever so I don’t foresee any fire bans in our region or in the BWCA.  However, it is helpful to know that without regular rain after the ground has thawed conditions can become dry quickly.  Before trees begin to bud is an especially important time to use caution with fire. The DNR suspects an earlier than normal fire ban in some parts of the state so use care when burning brush this spring and make sure you have checked to see if there are any restrictions in place prior to burning.

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The Odds of Aurora

Clearwater Lodge Tales - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 12:55pm
As an adult there is not much that compares to the excitement of a forecast for aurora borealis that contains the phrase “strongest geomagnetic storm of the current solar cycle. This storm is underway now.”  Though forecasts for record breaking blizzards still make me tingle a bit, there is no earth …

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A Canoe as a Casket

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 8:27am

I have to admit I don’t have my entire funeral planned. I have envisioned a Diet Coke Fountain, all you can eat King Crab legs and Bon Jovi singing, “Live While Your Alive and Sleep When You are Dead.” Those are the loose plans and I figured I would probably be cremated and have people scatter my ashes in various locations but that is up to the folks who are left behind and that care what happens to my remains.

Now that I have seen the canoe casket made by Phoenix Boatworks I’m having second thoughts. I wonder if they float? I’m thinking if I die young I could be preserved and floated out in front of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters on the Seagull River.  That way those people who couldn’t make it to my funeral or who just couldn’t bare not to see me there could visit whenever they wanted. I’m not sure about the winter time but I imagine I could be placed at one of my favorite cross-country ski trailheads and maybe I could be incorporated into dog sled races if skis could be placed on the bottom of the canoe casket.

There are so many options I never thought about until now. Thanks for sharing this website with me Mr. Maxwell.  The best thing is I don’t have to buy another normal bookshelf ever again.

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Happy St. Patricks Day

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 6:51pm

The water in the Seagull River wasn’t dyed green today for St. Patrick’s Day and I didn’t see any leprechauns skating on the ice out there either. I’m not Irish but I always wanted to be Irish because they get to celebrate their ethnicity on their very own special day. I suppose I could have ignored my German heritage and adapted the Irish way but it would really only benefit me one day of the year as opposed to my German celebration of Oktoberfest that usually lasts for a few weeks.

In any case I hope you have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


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Grand Marais joins True North Broadband

Arrowhead Electric - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 10:09am

Dear Neighbors in the City of Grand Marais,

We’d like to welcome you to True North Broadband from Arrowhead Cooperative! Homes in the west end of the city are ready for live service from our fiber network. For more information, including specific address areas that are ready, click HERE. We’ll be moving East of Broadway soon! 

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 Going to the dogs

Unorganized Territory - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 1:55pm

Our family is getting back into our normal routine after a fabulous few days playing tourist on the Gunflint Trail. For four years now, we’ve reserved the beautiful, big, Caribou cabin at Hungry Jack Lodge during the Mush for a Cure event, to be near all the fun activities surrounding that celebration. When the 2015 fundraiser was cancelled, we kept our reservation, planning to have a family get-away anyway.

We all fondly remember the first year we stayed up the Trail for the Mush for a Cure. That weekend also ended on a beautiful sunny day with us playing on the ice in snow pants and T-shirts. My grandchildren look forward to the weekend as much as a birthday or holiday celebration. Throughout the year, they ask, “When is Mush weekend?”

When it was cancelled, we were all disappointed. We have hoarded pink clothing and accessories for years, ready to craft a costume to fit in with the Mush for a Cure theme of the year—one year it was the ‘50s; one year a pajama party and last year a somewhat creepy zombie affair.

Well, we were almost all disappointed. My lone grandson Carter wasn’t too sorry that he didn’t have to get decked out in pink along with all his girl cousins.

But all of the grandkids were sad that their fun winter adventure might not happen. But none of the grownups—grandma and grandpa or parents—wanted to cancel either, so when Forrest from Hungry Jack called to see if we were still on, we said yes!

And as plans were made, the grandkids excitedly looked forward to “Not Mush Weekend.”

We had a fantastic time, sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, making a snow castle and having snowball fights during the day and playing cards an

One of the young mushers taking part in the Dog Days of Winter.

d board games at night.

It turns out we still got our mushing fix. Sarah Hamilton of Trail Center Lodge rallied Cook County residents to host “Dog Days of Winter,” an event on March 8 just for the fun of it, all on Poplar Lake. It was a delightful event, with not only sled dogs, but skijoring. Seeing the skijoring was fun because we’ve never seen that human-dog interaction before.

It is an amazing sport, with some dogs taking off like rockets, dragging their person along smoothly and effortlessly on skinny skis. Others take a bit of encouragement and although no one fell in the Dog Days of Winter event, I’ll bet skiers do sometimes get tripped by their enthusiastic pups.

We had quite a bit of discussion about whether or not our dogs could skijor. Our younger dogs certainly have the energy, but we decided we’d be risking broken bones if we let them pull us across the lake and through the woods. One sighting of a squirrel and we’d be done for!

We always enjoy watching the sled dogs, but I think the Dog Days of Winter was extra fun because there was so much happening all at once. There were dogs taking off and dogs returning nearly simultaneously. There were dog sleds driven by local elementary school kids with just two dogs and there were adult mushers enjoying a day out with a new team of eight dogs. Most delightful I think were the families mushing together. There were more than one tandem sleds, like a bicycle built for two, with an adult in the back supervising as a child drove the dogs.

It all reminded me of P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go! A dog party!

And of course, uber hostess Sarah had hot dogs, marshmallows and cocoa down on the ice next to the bonfire. It was a great event and if Mush for a Cure doesn’t come back, I hope Dog Days of Winter does.

We agreed that something could be added to make it even more fun, if anyone has the time and the energy. Dog Days of Winter would be the perfect place to offer dog sled rides. I know that a number of kennels and resorts offer day trips, but it isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I plan a day of winter fun. But when I saw the mushers gliding across Poplar Lake, I couldn’t help thinking, “I want to try that!”

A short ride up and down the lake would be the perfect way to try out the historic pastime. Go, dog. Go!


Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?

Jonathan Safran Foer

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Grand Opening Weekend at Voyageur Brewing Company

Voyageur Brewing - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 4:43pm

We invite everyone to join us this Thursday, Friday and Saturday night to help us celebrate our Grand Opening of Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais, Minnesota.  We want you to stop in all three days so you can increase your odds of winning an awesome prize.

Register at the door for a chance to win one of three prizes. You need not be present to win one of these prizes, just have legible handwriting on your registration card.

  • 3-day Completely Outfitted canoe trip in the BWCA for 2 from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.
  • Private party for 25 people including pizza from My Sister’s Place and of course our beer.
  • Free growler fill a week for an entire year.

We’ll also be giving away door prizes every hour so the longer you are there, the better chance you’ll have of winning.  Buy a beer and get an opportunity to throw a bean bag to win another beer.  We’ll have other games in the brewery including Jumbo Jenga, Hammerschlagen and Cat & Mouse.

We’re offering tours on Thursday and Friday at 3pm and on Saturday at 11am.  Come learn about the brewing process and enjoy free samples if you are 21 or older.  Please reserve your space by signing up on our website. 

We’ll have live music all three nights from 8pm-11pm.  On Thursday, March 12th Pushing Chain will be performing, on Friday, March 13th Jim & Michelle Miller will be entertaining and on Saturday, March 14th Eric Frost and Friends will be there.

It’s going to be a fun weekend so please join us each day to help celebrate our Grand Opening.

Tours in Grand Marais, MN

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3.11.2015 Spring skiing conditions

Bearskin Lodge Ski Trail Reports - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 11:57am

Twin Citians are reveling in the record-setting March temperatures in the metro area. Up here in the far north we are also experiencing some warmer days, but unlike other parts of Minnesota, we have a serious base of deep snow.  We’ve seen a little snow melt, especially off our roofs and roads, but as of 5 PM on Tuesday we still have a solid 12 inches of compacted base on the ski trails, with far more than that in the woods.

If you’re coming up to ski in the next few days, you should prepare for spring skiing conditions. Spring skiing is the best, but the sun is powerful at this time of year so even on a chilly day there will be freezing and thawing. Plan ahead for the varying conditions.

Early morning:  The skate lanes and classic tracks will be frozen hard; perhaps the tracks will be icy if they have thawed the day before and refrozen overnight. These conditions are great for fast skating with minimal edge control on hills. Grip tape or waxless skis are your best choice for early morning skiing in these hard tracks.

Mid morning: The sun is softening up the tracks and the skate lanes are still firm. This is the best skiing of the day. When skiing through shade and sun your skis will glide differently; be careful on the hills!  If it’s chilly but sunny, these conditions can last most of the day.

Late afternoon:  As things warm up the snow will start to lose its structure, and you’ll sink in. Because of the released moisture, your kick will be compromised, and skating will get harder due to “suction”. Waxless skis are the best choice for these conditions.

Then, if it drops below freezing at night, the cycle repeats.

The trails are being groomed differently for these conditions.  We plan to continue grooming for as long as possible.  Later in the month we usually open some ski trails to snowshoeing, but we’re not ready for that yet. Our actual snowshoe trails, though, seem fairly unaffected by the temperatures and offer a great additional option if there are any afternoons that seem too warm to ski.

Our musher, Erik Simula, is still taking trips out and should be able to continue for quite a while longer. Like skiing, however, on very sunny days the dog sled trips go better in the morning; the dogs have to work very hard to pull groups through wetter snow.  If you’re planning a dog sled trip in March, earlier appointments are the best choice.

For those of you in the rest of Minnesota, your spring has probably truly started.  Up here, however, we know that the next blizzard could still come at any moment.  We will be extremely surprised if our winter is actually winding down now.

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Test Your Endurance~2015 Boostrom Classic Canoe Marathon

Clearwater Lodge Tales - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 10:14am
As a part of our upcoming Centennial celebration we are organizing a friendly yet challenging event this summer.  We hope it will embody the values of adventure and instill continued appreciation for wild untouched places, but most of all we want it to be fun.  For more information or to …

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Phones out!

Gunflint Pines Northwoods News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 2:42pm

It’s Wed Feb 25th and the phones are out on the trail.

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A Fun Weekend Coming Up

North Shore Art Scene - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:37am

David Johnson took this incredible photo of the ice build-up in the Grand Marais Harbor recently.

This is a potpourri weekend — there’s theater and lots of music, outdoor fun, like fat tire bike racing, downhill and cross county skiing as well as great opportunities for  ice photography … and beer tasting: Voyageur Brewing Co, the new brewery in Grand Marais, has opened, and the reviews are great.

Detail of a quilt by Benedicte Caneill, one of the quilts in the Art Colony exhibit. The exhibit continues through March 9.

There’s also a fun Art Quilt Show at the Grand Marais Art Colony and lots of wonderful paintings on display by Howard Sivertson, Liz Sivertson, Dave Gilsvik and Tim Pearson at Sivertson Gallery. All four artists were featured at the Fireside Chat Weekend at the gallery last weekend.

WTIP is holding its winter membership drive this week with lots of live music scheduled in the studio. (See music listing, below). There’s also some special programming planned, including an interview with adventurer Noah Horak and DJ Beavstar (Andrew Beavers) at 7 p.m. Thursday night and a Radio Waves Music Festival special from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday. Hosted by Cathy Quinn and Deb Benedict, the program will feature live recordings from the popular fall music festival.

Also this weekend, the Frostbiter Fat Tire Bike Race for Easter Seals Kids will be held all day Saturday in Grand Portage at the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino.  The timed event features a 20-mile loop and a more adventurous 40-mile loop.  For more information,contact Rhonda Harrison at 807-345-7622 ext. 4 or Lunch at the Lodge is included.

Jamie Rabold on this photo of the Frozen Photographers Winter Gathering last year: “A cool shot showing a bunch of crazy photographers making a plan to attack the pile of ice!!”

For those who really like to get out there in frosty weather, the Frozen Photographers Facebook Group is holding their Winter Gathering at Gooseberry State Park on Saturday. More than 40 people have signed up so far, said Jamie Rabold, who started the group, and more could show up.

Frozen Photographers now boosts more than 1,400 members. The only requirement … prove that you have had to get cold to take some photos. The group will meet in the lake view warming house on the park grounds and several local photographers, including John Gregor and Brian Rauvola, will give presentations. Light painting and steel wool burning are also planned for night shooting.

Rabold said in a chat message that this will be an annual event for members of Frozen Photographers for sure. “Frozen Photographers need to get together in the cold to get our cards punched!” he wrote. Stay tuned to see a few photos from the gathering next week.

Catherine Glynn will perform “The Belle of Amherst” at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts on Saturday night.

Then, this Saturday night, Emily Dickinson fans will have a treat when Catherine Glynn performs “The Belle of Amherst” by William Luce. The acclaimed playwright weaves Dickinson’s poems, diaries, and letters into a portrait of one of America’s greatest and most prolific poets. Luce mixes her encounters with close friends and family with the poet’s own, often amusing observations. “Full of passion and poetry and heart,” wrote the New York Daily News.

Glynn is an accomplished performer and has acted with the Austin Shakespeare Festival, Riverside Shakespeare, The Rude Mechanicals, Collaboraction, SPAC, The Commonweal, Chicago Dramatists and The New American Theatre. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $15 adults, students are free. The performance is brought to the ACA by the Grand Marais Playhouse.

In other art news, photographs by Travis Novitsky are being shown in “Spirit Tree, Spirit Place” exhibit at the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul. The exhibit also includes drawings and artwork by Hazel Belvo and Marcia Cushmore as well as words from poems by Joanne Hart. The exhibit continues through Feb. 22, and is being held in conjunction with the Minnesota History Center’s exhibition: “Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison,” which continues through April 26.

The Grand Marais Art Colony is hosting a weekend art excursion to the Twin Cities April 24-26. The tour includes an exclusive guided home tour of Minnesota art collector Tom Arneson, a private tour of NE Studios with Grain Belt Building artist Lynn Speaker and a guided tour of George Morrison’s exhibit at the Minnesota History Center, to name a few. For more info and to register, contact the Art Colony at 387-2737 or visit

A Kickstarter campaign has started to develop Bravissimo, the Music Game.

Ellen Sandbeck of Duluth has started a Kickstarter campaign to further develop a board game she invented to teach children (and adults) how to read music. She and Duluth composer Tyler Kaiser are working to improve and expand it. The game is called Bravissimo. Learn more about it here.

And last, but not least, Grand Marais is still leading the national contest to determine America’s Coolest Small Town — but not by much. Vote here and vote often until Feb. 25 and let’s win this thing!

Visit Cook County won the Travel Marketing Award of Excellence at the Explore Minnesota Conference recently for it’s public transit-based awareness campaign. The award was accepted by Visit Cook County executive director, Linda Kratt, on behalf of Visit Cook County staff and its marketing agency Giant Voices of Duluth.

“We have a great partnership with Giant Voices, our marketing agency in Duluth,” says Kratt. “We received the Explore Minnesota award for wrapping Twin Cities bus shelters with scenes from Cook County, so bus riders could experience in a small way the feeling of being surrounded by the beauty of our area.”  Bravo!

There are lots of opportunities to listen to live music this weekend, too. Here’s the schedule:

Thursday, Feb. 19:

  • Eric Frost & Bill Hanson, Live on WTIP, noon
  • Gordon Thorne, Live on WTIP, 4 p.m.
  • Eric Frost & Bill Hanson, Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Gun Flint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Mills, LaVigne & Viton, Live on WTIP’s Thirsty Boots, 8 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 20:

  • Pete Kavanaugh, Live on WTIP, noon
  • Timmy Haus, Moguls Grille, 4 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Al Oikari & Rod Dockan, Voyageur Brewing Co., 8 p.m.
  • Clearwater Hot Club, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 21:

  • Roxann Berglund & Brian Morrison, Live on WTIP, 2 p.m.
  • Al Oikari & Rod Dockan, Live on WTIP, 3 p.m.
  • Chris Silver, Papa Charlie’s, 3:15 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Moguls Grille, 4 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik & Briand Morrison, Live on WTIP, 4 p.m.
  • DJ Beavstar, Live on WTIP, 5 p.m.
  • Clearwater Hot Club, Live on WTIP, 6 p.m.
  • Jim & Michele Miller, Papa Charlie’s, 6:45 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Sven & Ole’s Pizza, 7 p.m.
  • Maria Nickolay, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
  • Clearwater Hot Club, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Big Wave Dave and the Ripples, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 22:

  • Good Intentions Bluegrass Band, Papa Charlie’s, 3:30 p.m.
  • Classical Evening of Flute & Harp with Betty Braunstein and Janell LeMire, Bluefin Grille, 6 p.m.
  • Jim & Michele Miller, Gun Flint Tavern, 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 23:

  • Pete Kavanaugh, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Barbara Jean, Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 25:

  • Open Mic Night, Gunflint Tavern, 5 p.m.
  • Jerree Small, Spotlight North, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.

There were lots of great photographs posted this week, too.

Here is a collection of ice photos.

“North Shore Ice at Tettegouche State Park” by Paul Sundberg.


“Plate Ice Paradise” by Travis Novitsky.


“Rock, Ice & Water — Gooseberry Falls” by Jeff Henry.


Frozen Wonderland at Tettegouche State Park by Bryan Hansel.


Ice piles at  Split Rock. Photo by Christian Dalbec.


An icy landscape by Don Davison.


“Ice Sunset” by Jamie Rabold.


“Frozen February” by Travis Novitsky.


“Last Light” by Jeff Henry.


The Northern Lights were popping this week. Here are a few photos we found.

Jamie Thomas Swanson said she took this out of her bedroom window.


Photo by Bruce Johnson.


Northern Lights Pillars by David Johnson.


And we found some incredible sunrise/sunset shots.

Photo by Mary Lou Williams.


“Sunrise in Two Harbors” by Christian Dalbec.


“This Morning,” by David Johnson.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


















Music:That’s Bug Lite!
Voyageur Brewing Company
Friday & Sat
Feb. 20th & 21st
8pm star

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Fireside Chats, Northern Fibers Retreat & Adrian Legg

North Shore Art Scene - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:06am

“Fresh Snow” by Howard Sivertson. Howard, Liz Sivertson and David Gilsvik will be the featured speakers on Saturday  during the Fireside Chat Weekend at Sivertson Gallery. The panel discussion is at 6 p.m. All invited.

There’s a very busy weekend coming up — that’s probably the understatement of the winter. In short, there’s plenty to do, both indoors and outdoors, for everyone. Plus that, Saturday is Valentine’s Day, so plans are being made all over the county to celebrate the romantic day.

For outdoors lovers, there’s lots of snow in the woods and the ski runs are great at Lutsen Mountains.

Cross-country skiers celebrate winter this year with the Pincushion Mountain Winter Festival. It has been pared down somewhat due to predicted cold weather and nasty wind chills this weekend, but there is still plenty to do. The festival is sponsored by the North Shore Ski & Run Club to benefit youth ski programs.

The festival starts on Friday night with a Y-Ski Spaghetti Feed at the Cook County Community Center at 5:30 p.m.

On Saturday, racing starts with kids’ races at noon (12 and under) followed by Classic races and the Skiathlon race at 2:30 p.m. On Sunday, Go Dog North Shore is sponsoring a casual and competitive Skijoring race starting at 10 a.m.  Everyone is invited to join in the fun. For more info and to register, visit

The Northern Fibers Retreat is Feb. 12-15 this year with lots of classes and workshops at North House Folk School, the Grand Marais Art Colony and other local venues. The Northwoods Fiber Guild is also co-hosting the event.

Highlights include a number of Community Gatherings, including a Lunch & Learn session with  Enid Gjelten Weichselbaum, who will demonstrate silk screening techniques at the Community Center at noon on Friday. At noon Saturday, Martha Owen, a sheep farmer and resident fiber artist at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, will give a Lunch & Learn presentation entitled “Wool in Song & Story” at the Congregational Church (across from the Art Colony). Preregistration is required for catered lunch. Call 387-9762 to register.

The Grand Marais Art Colony will hold an opening reception for  Fiber Revolution: Art Quilt Exhibit, from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, followed by a gallery talk by Enid Gjelten Weichselbaum, and then a Show-and-Share hosted by the Northwoods Fiber Guild.

At 7:30 on Saturday, the featured speaker for the Northern Fibers Retreat,  Anna Gunnarsdóttir, will present a talk entitled “Inspired by Nature: Felting from an Icelandic Perspective” at North House Folk School. Gunnarsdóttir is an internationally acclaimed artist from Iceland. The presentation is free.

Then on Sunday, there will be a Soup Potluck at North House at noon. For the complete schedule of classes and events, click here.

“My Place in the Milky Way” by Dave Gilsvik.

To top it all off, this is Fireside Chat Weekend at Sivertson Gallery. It’s a 3-day event starting on Friday night with a reception from 5-7 p.m. and a Trollbeads Party.

On Saturday, River Blend Studio (jewelry by Jesse Furo Pearson and paintings and prints by Tim Pearson) will hold a Trunk Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At 6 p.m. there will be a Fireside Chat Panel Discussion with Howard Sivertson, Liz Sivertson and Dave Gilsvik. And on Sunday, the River Blend Trunk Show continues followed by a Fireside Chat with Tim Pearson at 6 p.m. The public is invited.

Adrian Legg performs at the ACA on Saturday night.

There’s also some great music this weekend when award-winning British acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg, performs at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Legg is a recording artist, performer, photographer and writer as well as being an innovator in guitar design. The concert is sponsored by the North Shore Music Association.

There’s a gala opening at the Definitely Superior Art Gallery in Thunder Bay on Friday night, too, featuring refreshments, artist talks and music by Nancy Pants, a wildy popular band from Montreal. The show includes short, animated films by Julia Potts as well as work by Carly Waito and Dagmara Genta. The exhibits at Def-Sup continue through March 14.

In other news, musicians Teague Alexy & Marc Gartman will perform on WTIP’s The Roadhouse on Friday night. The hosts will also interview Damien Fowler, the author of “Falling Through Clouds,” the story of the plane crash in Grand Marais in 2003, where Grace, 4, and Lily, 3, Pearson survived, but their mother and the pilot did not. “Falling Through Clouds” is about a young father’s fight for his family in the wake of the plane crash that killed his wife, badly injured his two daughters, and thrust him into a David-vs-Goliath legal confrontation with a multi-billion dollar insurance company and the resulting legal battles. The Roadhouse airs from 5-7 p.m.

And to really complicate matters, the Duluth Playhouse is presenting “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” Feb. 12-22 with a special dinner show catered by Blackwoods on Valentine’s Day. Call 218-733-7555 for reservations, or see

Oh, and if you think that Grand Marais is the coolest small town in America, you can vote here and vote often. The winning town will be featured on the cover of Budget Travel Magazine.

Here’s the music schedule for this weekend:

Thursday, Feb. 12:

  • Eric Frost & Bill Hanson, Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Jim Ohlschmidt, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJBeavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 13:

  • James Moors, Moguls Grille, 4 p.m.
  • Jim & Michelle Miller, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Teague Alexy & Marc Gartman, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Jim Ohlschmidt, Silver Bay Lounge, 8:30 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 14:

  • Eric Frost, Papa Charlie’s, 3:15 p.m.
  • Shane Martin, Moguls Grille, 4 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Papa Charlie’s, 6:45 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Jim Ohlschmidt, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Log Cabin Concert, rural Grand Marais, reservations at 387-2919.
  • Adrian Legg, Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m.
  • The Mosspiglets, Gun Flint Tavern, 8 p.m
  • The SplinterTones, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 15:

  • Shane Martin, Papa Charlie’s, 3:30 p.m.
  • Classic Guitar with Scott Fraser, Bluefin Grille, 6 p.m.
  • Briand Morrison, Papa Charlie’s, 6:45 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Gun Flint Tavern, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Sven & Ole’s Pizza, 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 16:

  • Shane Martin, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Meg Hutchinson, Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 17:

  • Shane Martin, Poplar River Pub, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
  • Open Mic Night, Papa Charlie’s, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 18:

  • Open Mic Night, Gun Flint Tavern, 6 p.m.

We found lots of great photographs this week.

Let’s start with some beautiful ice shots.

“Steamy Sunrise” by David Johnson.


Grand Marais at 30 Below by Steve Harsin.


Red Ice by Ken Greshowak.


Macro window crystals by Amanda Leigh.


Midwinter Panorama by Don Davison.


We found some nice sunrises and sunsets, too.

Lake Superior Sea Smoke Sunrise by Paul Sundberg.



Sunrise Panorama by Jamie Rabold.


Storm Wave Sunset by Bryan Hansel.


And here’s an amazing moonrise.

Split Rock Full Moon Rising at Sunset by Robert Cunningham.


And here is a change of view …


Lake Superior Cobble by Dave Grinstead.


Paul Sundberg caught this great shot during our last wind storm.

Grand Marais Storm by Paul Sundberg.


And here are some great shots of the blue hour.

Photo by Bryan Hansel.


Boat House at the End of the Blue Hour by Jamie Rabold.


And last, but not least, check out this awesome shot of a sun pillar by David Johnson.

Quite the Sun Pillar by David Johnson.


Enjoy your weekend! And Happy Valentine’s Day!
















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We’re Hiring! Museum Manager Opening at Chik-Wauk

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 11:33am

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society is hiring a museum manager for the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center located at the end of the Gunflint Trail.

Responsibilities include oversight of various museum and gift shop daily operations, grant writing, planning and scheduling public programming, oversight of GTHS membership, managing social media, working with general public, reporting to the GTHS board.  A successful candidate will be an independent, self-directed, organized worker with strong interpersonal skills, the ability to learn specific software programs, and proficiency in writing and editing. Candidate must possess an interest in local history and be willing to learn the basics of historic preservation.

Application deadline: February 21, 2015. Click for full job description and application here.

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Day 3 – The Wonderful World of BIRCH!

Sivertson Gallery - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 11:16am

Birch MANIA!!!


Day three of Sivertson Gallery’s 12 Days of Christmas is an ode to our favorite North Shore tree, the birch!

Since we love birch SO MUCH here in the Northwoods, perhaps it is time to take a cue from our friends in Northern Europe. In this region of the world, as well as Russia & China, birch sap is sometimes used in the manufacture of wine and beer.


However, if you’re feeling less ambitious and would rather simply sip out … read more

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Day 2 – Lake Superior Sparkles

Sivertson Gallery - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 1:44am

There are few displays of color that affect me the same was as staring at the big open water of Superior early in the morning, but a beautiful gemstone that sparkles and shines is right up there! There is something absolutely memorizing about a rich piece of Opal. Similar to a cleansing dip in the big lake, the opal is said to bring its water energy to enhance self-esteem and sense of self-worth to the wearer. And don’t even get me started on Monica’s choice in Labradorite, with its purples, greys and … read more

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Day 1 – Howard Sivertson Giclees!!!

Sivertson Gallery - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 10:48am

Welcome to Day ONE of Sivertson Gallery’s 12 Days of Christmas!

We could not have kicked off this journey with anyone other than the one who started it all, our painter in the bright red suspenders – Howard Sivertson! Howard’s work has captivated the joy & beauty of the North Shore for many, many years. Through watercolor, oil and his unparalleled storytelling, Howard is able to transport you to a world long ago. Whether it be to the home of an early pioneer on the North Shore, the canoe … read more

The post Day 1 – Howard Sivertson Giclees!!! appeared first on Sivertson Blog.

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“Early”Winter at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 1:47pm
November 20, 2014- This morning the temperature dipped below zero (-1) for the first time this fall. About 4-5" of snow on the ground. Yesterday Poplar Lake was frozen over. Winter is arriving earlier then we have had in a few years.
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