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Tall Ships Duluth

Posted byAlison Aten on 26 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: History, Travel

Tall Ships DuluthHead to Duluth this week for the annual Tall Ships Duluth festival featuring eight historical ships sailing into port on Wednesday, July 28. This is your chance to see and step aboard these magnificent vessels. The event includes music, food, performances, and tours.

For more maritime history, check out Stephen Daniel’s book, Shipwrecks Along Lake Superior’s North Shore: A Diver’s Guide, and the video profile of Daniel  produced by the University of St. Thomas.

Shining Big Sea Water: The Story of Lake Superior by Norman Risjord also offers a grand tour of Lake Superior’s remarkable history.

Shipwrecks Along Lake Superior's North ShoreShining Big Sea Water

Pierre the Pantless Voyageur in Two Harbors

Posted byMary Poggione on 14 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: History, Travel

Pierre the VoyageurAccording to the Duluth News Tribune, the future of icon Pierre the Voyageur (also known as Pierre the Pantless Voyageur) in Two Harbors, Minnesota, is uncertain.

Currently, he stands proud though paddleless in an unused parking lot, often posing for pictures with visitors to the North Shore.

Per the Duluth News Tribune:

“Pierre the Voyageur was born 50 years ago as a way of reminding people of the frontier historical past in Two Harbors. The 20-foot statue was also a large advertisement for a new business in town: Stanley Nelson’s Voyageur Museum and Voyageur Motel.

“It was classic hucksterism as more Americans took to the road in the late 1950s and into the 1960s, looking for wayside curiosities along the way.

“Nelson’s businesses are long gone, but Pierre stands tall off Highway 61 on the west end of town. His longevity and years of producing photo memories for passers-by has made him a Two Harbors legend.

“But Pierre stands apart today, surrounded by nothing but a vacant lot. He’s still a draw for the road-weary, but many wonder what his future looks like after a failed attempt to revitalize the area in which he stands.”

There is talk of possibly moving Pierre, as demonstrated by an interview done with Pierre himself and the Two Harbors Chronicle:

“Q Any thoughts about the idea of moving you to what is expected to be a new visitors center over by Culver’s?

“A Well, I’ve been looking at this view of the cemetery and the ore docks and train yard for 50 years. It’s hard to imagine looking at something else after all that time. But it would make me proud to be a more official part of welcoming people to Two Harbors and the North Shore. And, really, sometimes change is good.”

To show your support, visit Pierre the Pantless Voyageur’s Facebook page. Yes, he has a Facebook page.

For information on actual voyageurs, check out the classic books by Grace Lee Nute, The Voyageur and The Voyageur’s Highway.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Posted byAlison Aten on 14 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: MHS press, Travel

Minnesota Weather AlmanacJune is typically the wettest month in Minnesota, but after days of gray skies we’d like some SUN, please! At least a tornado isn’t in store for us today as it was in 1981:

“Around 4:50 p.m. on June 14, 1981, an F3 (158-206 mph) touched down near Edina in Hennepin County and traveled for 15 miles through portions of Minneapolis and Roseville until it dissipated near Lake Owasso in Ramsey County. It damaged residences in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood near the historic Gibbs Farm as well as the Har-Mar Shopping Center in Roseville, where most of the 83 injuries occurred. Total damages were estimated at $47 million.”

From Minnesota Weather Almanac by Mark W. Seeley (p. 195)

Minnesota Bound Live Loon Cam

Posted byAlison Aten on 03 May 2010 | Tagged as: Nature/Enviroment, Travel

Ron Schara's Live Loon CamDo you miss Lily the bear and her cub, Hope? Get your Minnesota wildlife fix at Ron Schara’s Minnesota Bound Loon Cam.

From Schara’s website:

 ”The LIVE Loon Cam is a live webcam on the nest of a common loon. Located in central Minnesota, USA, this nest has been the site of many incredible moments. Larry Backlund is our resident loon expert and shares what he can see from his vantage point on the edge of his property. This nest is 100% wild and 100% natural!”

Check out the site for links to Larry’s blog and the Loon Cam’s Facebook page!

Celebrate the Great Outdoors

Posted bypennefesm on 09 Apr 2010 | Tagged as: Nature/Enviroment, Travel

If Minnesota’s recent spring weather has you thinking ahead to summer at the lake–putting in the dock, upgrading your fishing gear, connecting with friends and family on Memorial Day or the Fourth of July–this weekend’s Lake Home and Cabin Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center is just the ticket for further inspiration.

If you go, look for Chris Niskanen, author of Prairie, Lake, Forest: Minnesota’s State Parks, who will tell of “Adventures in Your Back Yard: The Inside Story of Minnesota State Parks” and sign books today at 6, Saturday at 4, and Sunday at 11. Stop by to say hello–and to think about how your spring and summer plans might include an outing or two at sites around the state.

6th Annual Winter Tracks Festival on the Gunflint Trail!

Posted bypennefesm on 26 Feb 2010 | Tagged as: Event, Nature/Enviroment, Travel




Looking for a last-minute getaway for the weekend? The Gunflint Trail Association near Grand Marais offers a fun and unique winter experience.

• Listen to Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux, storyteller
• View snow sculptures on the Gunflint Trail
• Fish in the Ridge Riders’ Trout Derby
• Snowshoe the obstacle course
• Compete in the mini-winter Olympics
• Ride the Snowmobile Poker Run
• Play broomball
• Savor a Mongolian Firepot dinner
• Enjoy winter presentations
• Dine and dance to “Trail’s End Band”

New: Saturday, Feb. 27–Opening of the exhibit of the Winter Plein Air Painting Festival at Gunflint Lodge. This is a great opportunity to mingle with the artists and view/purchase locally painted scenes. The exhibit will also be open on Sunday, Feb. 28, from 10 am-2 pm.

For schedules and more details, visit


Ice House Fish Stew

Posted byAlison Aten on 22 Feb 2010 | Tagged as: Authors, Cooking, Nature/Enviroment, Travel

Yellow Perch, Photo by Layne Kennedy from A Hard-Water WorldGreg Breining, author of A Hard-Water World: Ice Fishing and Why We Do It, with photos by Layne Kennedy, was a guest this weekend on The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Greg talks about “walking on water,” ice fishing on Russia’s Volga River, and the delicate flavor of yellow perch.

You can use your own fresh catch to make Lynne’s Sweet/Sour Ice House Fish Stew.

Twin Cities Literary Scavenger Hunt Finale!

Posted byAlison Aten on 25 Jan 2010 | Tagged as: Event, MHS press, Travel

Around the Literary Twin Cities in Almost 80 DaysThe Around the Literary Twin Cities in (Almost) 80 Days scavenger hunt ended December 26, but tomorrow is the grand finale at the downtown Minneapolis Central Library’s Talk of the Stacks program, where the event organizers (Coffee House PressMilkweed Editions, Graywolf Press, and The Loft Literary Center) plan to announce the winner. The program will feature a conversation about the literary life here in Minnesota with the executive directors of the four organizations mentioned above, moderated by MPR correspondent Marianne Combs.

Fishhouse Parade

Posted byAlison Aten on 18 Nov 2009 | Tagged as: Authors, Event, MHS press, Nature/Enviroment, Travel

Layne Kennedy from A Hard-Water WorldGet your augers and rods ready! Aitkin’s annual World Famous Fishhouse Parade on Friday, November 27, celebrates the coming ice fishing season. The event features wacky and wonderful ice houses displayed on trailers and paraded through downtown Aitkin as thousands gather to watch the yearly ritual procession.

For a glimpse into the quirky world of ice fishing, check out A Hard-Water World: Ice Fishing and Why We Do It, with photographs by Layne Kennedy and text by Greg Breining.

Share Your Photos of Highway 61

Posted byAlison Aten on 16 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Authors, MHS press, Travel

Highway 61 sign in Czech RepublicCathy Wurzer’s Tales of the Road blog, Notes from the Road, features a picture of a sign for Highway 61 in the Czech Republic. Cathy invites readers and fans to share photos related to Highway 61 on the Tales of the Road Facebook page or Flickr. So if you are one of the many families traveling the famous highway on a mini-vacation this weekend for the fall break, stop and take some pics along the road to share!

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