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episode 1.5 – chef wally’s beer blog

My girlfriend and I started off the morning with a brisk walk up the always scenic Highway 61.  She wanted to see the wildflowers that are blooming like crazy in our neck of the woods–but me?  I was on a mission.

Okay, the wildflowers were very beautiful, but what I really wanted was coasters.  You heard me.  Coasters.  You know, the ones bravely keeping your cold drinks off coffee tables since time immemorial?

Anyway, I needed a new set since I moved into my new place, but I wanted something….North Shoresy.  So when I came across a Superior Hiking Trail called the Lakewalk, I wasted no time.  I scoured the shoreline for the flattest, most stable rocks I could find.

Behold!  My all-natural, totally organic, green-for-the-environment coaster set, forged by the mighty waves of Lake Superior!

Okay, call it a pile of rocks if you want, but do you know how tricky it is to find four perfectly flat, similarly-shaped, virtually-identical rocks that get concentrically smaller?

Pretty darn tricky.

So now I can comfortably enjoy a cold beverage in my new place.  And I’ve been mighty thirsty lately, what with all the talk of beer around the proverbial water cooler at work.  Why is everyone buzzing about beers at work?  Well, maybe it’s because we have the sweetest beer fest on the shore coming up in a couple weeks!

That’s right, the Hopped Up Caribou Beer Festival is just 10 days away.  And frankly, I’m pumped.  I tried so many awesome beers last year, and this year there’s even more coming and–well, I’ll get into that more next week.

In the mean time, the conversations at work have been drifting to “The Best Beers of All-Time.”  Everyone up here is pretty opinionated when it comes to brews, but I thought it would be cool to ask Wally, the Exec Chef at my restaurant.

Because, let’s be honest, if there’s two things I like talking about, it’s beer and food.

Chef Wally also happens to be my cousin.  Over the years, we’ve sampled many tasty beers.  A couple years ago, when I started my blog, Wally joked he was going to start a beer blog–you know, to trump my blog, cousin-rivalry-style–and over the years we just kept talking about the “Chef Wally Beer Blog.”

Try a good beer?  ”That’s one for the Beer Blog, right, Wally?”

Well, in honor of my cousin and the fast-approaching beer festival, I finally put the big guy on the spot:  What are your 5 favorite beers and what would be the perfect meal to pair them with?

After all, who else would you trust about alcohol and food if not this guy:

So, here you go, Cuz.  The inaugural post of the Chef Wally Beer Blog.  Top 5…go!

#5 Schell’s Pils

Traditionally speaking, Wally loves him some Schell’s beers.  And the Pils is a very traditional Bavarian Pilsner.  Very refreshing and great to wash down a Grilled Salmon Steak dressed in a Lemon Caper Butter.  Yum.

#4 Schell’s Maifest

I told you:  Wally loves Schell’s, especially this light-in-color Maibock.   Wally’s dish on a dish:  ”This is going to go great with Asian food–my pick is Orange Chicken with cracked red peppers to throw in some heat.”

#3 Odell’s Red Ale

While Wally and I tend to part ways on our beer-pinions, we both have an affinity to red ales–and Odell’s is no exception!  The whole Odell’s lineup is something to write home about, but the Red Ale is a standout favorite.  And what’s going to really bring out that crimson flavor:  a Bacon Cheeseburger, with Sharp Cheddar and seasoned with Black Pepper.

#2 Surly Darkness

The crown jewel of local beer aficionados, this heavy stout goes great with game birds.  Wally’s pick:  Smoked Pheasant with Gouda Mashed Potatoes.  Yum!

#1 Tallgrass India Pale Ale

Gamechanger!  Within the last year, Wally discovered Tallgrass Breweries.  These guys put out some excellent beers, but none stuck out for the big guy as much as the IPA.  It’s Hop City and pairs great with anything spicy, but Wally likes a Spicy Shrimp Curry with this bad boy.

There you have it, folks–the top choices from the pro!  It goes without saying that Wally’s excited for Hopped Up since his old reliable, Schell’s, is on the guest list…but he also said Fitger’s brought some great beers last year.  Do I smell a head-to-head?

Cheers, guys!

 

– Mikel

episode 1.4 ~ hyperboreal 4th of july

The other night as I attempted to fall asleep, I was privy to quite the show:  lightning bugs against a sky of lightning.  It wasn’t all at once either; it was a back-and-forth flickering, almost like the sky and the fireflies were taking turns.  I guess maybe Nature doesn’t want to steal its own thunder, so to speak.

The whole light show reminded me of the Fourth of July (logical train of thought, right?)  For me, the Fourth usually conjures up images of my grandpa’s backyard, carnival rides, and–most of all–fireworks!

No matter how old I get, fireworks still give me a jolt of excitement.  I mean, it’s exploding fire in the sky, people!  And my hometown has one of the best fireworks shows in the realm.

But nothing compares to fireworks over Superior.

The last couple years I’ve snaked out of work early enough to catch the show down at the harbor in Grand Marais.  First of all, the GM harbor is one of the most beautiful little spots on the planet.

Check out a wonderful fan montage of GM’s harbor on the 4th here!

Second of all, it’s the perfect venue for fireworks.  That ocean of a lake acts as a giant mirror for the pyrotechnics, offering an unrivaled view of the big show.  There’s a sweet parade, glowy necklace thingies, and Kettle Corn!  How can you top that?!

But apparently, Grand Marais isn’t the only big dog in the Independence Day Celebration game.

The last couple years in the restaurant on the Fourth of July, the dinner crowd is in a rush to get to one of two spots:  either GM…or Tofte.

So I did a little digging to find out what all the hub-bub was in Tofte for the Fourth.  Turns out there’s a lot of hub-bub.  But which of the two rules the day you ask?  Don’t worry.  I made a chart:

So technically Tofte has one up on Grand Marais, but GM’s parade glows in the dark so I’m calling it a draw!  Plus it’s Independence Day, not a contest–sheesh!

Either spot offers some really great stuff so if you’re in the area, check it out!  Cheers!

– Mikel

 

episode 1.3 ~ better with a mountain

This week, I was going to write about golf.  But last week I was treated to a wild reality check.  Really gave me some perspective.

I was sent on a mission to put up posters for our super sweet beer festival next month.  A totally noble cause–any PR I can do in the name of beer is all in a days’ work, know what I mean?

However, the mission location was the Twin Cities.  This was a mission behind enemy lines.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Minnesota and the Twin Cities are very cool.  It’s a pretty happenin’ metropolis, without a doubt.  But to a guy that’s spent the last couple years on the North Shore, it’s also a pretty wild ride.

First of all, there’s lanes of traffic.  Second of all, there’s traffic.  I almost forgot what it was like!  Up here, I typically share the road with deer and the occasional fox, not other cars.

At first, it was sort of exciting:  the hustle and bustle of people, the stacked skyscrapers, the Pizza Huts.  But by Hour 5, I was ready to bolt back to the North Shore.

How lucky I am to live up here is a theme I’ve explored at great length in the short run of this blog, but spending the whole day in the Cities really cemented it.  I don’t want to bash the Cities by any means–Minnesota, on the whole, still equals cool in my book.

Having said that, I can see why so many of the visitors checking into my resort are from the Cities.

Lutsen really offers an exotic taste for people on vacation.  We have the same stuff to do up here, but with just a hint of the extreme.

We don’t have marathons, we have Trail Races. Going for a jog takes on a whole new meaning when you’re barreling down a narrow dirt trail, surrounded by trees, inches away from a rushing river.

And we don’t just bike either.  Ever hear of the Lutsen 99er?  It’s coming up this weekend.  Now that’s hardcore.

And golfing?  Forget about it!  You haven’t golfed until you’ve golfed on a mountain!

(Hey, what do you know?  I found a way to work golf in after all.)

But you don’t have to be into a sport to get a kick out of visiting the North Shore.  Even doing some of those everyday activities, like s’mores at a bonfire, can be more extreme with a mountain in the background.

I don’t want to come off as an elitist or anything, I just want you to know how grateful I am to be here.  I know I’m lucky–and I want you to feel lucky too, even if it’s only for a weekend.  After all, everything’s better with a mountain.

I’ve seen your commute.  You should check out mine.

But be warned, it’s kind of addicting.

– Mikel

episode 1.2 – north shore for dads

When I was very young, my Grandpa Chuck used to talk about the Gunflint Trail.  He had this promotional video he got from a sporting goods store; it was about 15 minutes and offered a quick glimpse of the Trail.  Even though there wasn’t much to it, he’d watch it at least once a week and tell me how much he’d love to go there.

I watched the video with him (a lot, actually) and always wondered where the Gunflint Trail was.  I’m sure he told me but, like most directions, they don’t mean much to you when you’re a kid.  To me, it was just kind of a mythical place.  I didn’t even bother to check a map.

It’s funny that years later this “imaginary” place that my grandpa mentioned is now my, well, stomping ground.  I mean, I lived on the Gunflint Trail–the very place Grandpa Chuck said was his favorite place in the world.  When I talk to him on the phone, I can tell it just blows his mind that I’m living up here.

That’s why it’s tough, as Father’s Day approaches, to think that he’s never been able to visit me up here.  Nor my dad.  He’s a busy guy and, let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a drive.

I always imagine what we’d do if we just had a day.  I’d take him to all my favorite spots.  Like the Devil’s Kettle, where they still don’t know where the water goes.

Devil's Kettle, 2010. Why yes, that IS a raging waterfall flowing around us. Don't try this at home, kids!

Or Palisade Head, where it’s so high up, but you feel like you’re soaring over Lake Superior.

Palisade Head, 2010. I won't tell you who took the picture--but I will tell you they were too close to the edge!

It’d be a big change from the stuff my dad and I usually do on Father’s Day:  go see a movie, hit up a Chinese Buffet…you know, the usual.

But “usual” is a pretty relative term.  And I started to wonder what “the usual” was up here for Father’s Day, what with the lack of movie theaters and Chinese Buffets.  What do dads do on the North Shore?

So I ran it by my main man, Shem.  Saying Shem’s a good bartender is like saying Mozart wrote good jingles.  He’s legendary.

He also happens to have a pack of strapping young lads at home.  So surely he’d know what a does for fun ’round these parts.

And of course, since he’s a bartender, I opened with what his Dad’s Day drink of choice was going to be.

A Bloody to start, he said, and a champagne Mojito for happy hour.

Good answer.

The rest of his answers were good too.  Surprising to me, although they probably shouldn’t have been.

Shem said his Father’s Day would probably spent by taking the kids and hiking the Temperance.  And later find a nice, quiet patch of beachfront and build a fire.

He said he might paddle a canoe and, if he was lucky, catch a fish for dinner.  Perfect day.

It was so simple.  Peaceful.  Such a juxtaposition compared to what my dad and I would do.  Where the old man and I would at the very least rent a movie and order a pizza, Shem was looking to catch his dinner.  And instead of a movie, his “big screen view” is a bonfire in front of the endless blue-and-white whorl of Lake Superior.

Then I remember how lucky Shem and I are to live where we do.  I was thinking about it all wrong–I was wondering what Shem’s alternate plans were, in lieu of the things my dad and I would normally do.  But it’s not an alternate choice–it’s the best choice!

So I won’t be able to get my dad up here this Father’s Day, but I will get him up here.  Soon.  He’s missed out on this for too long.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!  If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the restaurant.  We’re doing All-You-Can-Eat Ribs and a FREE tap beer for dads!

That might actually get my dad up here this year…

 

– Mikel

 

 

episode 1.2 – north shore for dads

When I was very young, my Grandpa Chuck used to talk about the Gunflint Trail.  He had this promotional video he got from a sporting goods store; it was about 15 minutes and offered a quick glimpse of the Trail.  Even though there wasn’t much to it, he’d watch it at least once a week and tell me how much he’d love to go there.

I watched the video with him (a lot, actually) and always wondered where the Gunflint Trail was.  I’m sure he told me but, like most directions, they don’t mean much to you when you’re a kid.  To me, it was just kind of a mythical place.  I didn’t even bother to check a map.

It’s funny that years later this “imaginary” place that my grandpa mentioned is now my, well, stomping ground.  I mean, I lived on the Gunflint Trail–the very place Grandpa Chuck said was his favorite place in the world.  When I talk to him on the phone, I can tell it just blows his mind that I’m living up here.

That’s why it’s tough, as Father’s Day approaches, to think that he’s never been able to visit me up here.  Nor my dad.  He’s a busy guy and, let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a drive.

I always imagine what we’d do if we just had a day.  I’d take him to all my favorite spots.  Like the Devil’s Kettle, where they still don’t know where the water goes.

Or Palisade Head, where it’s so high up, but you feel like you’re soaring over Lake Superior.

It’d be a big change from the stuff my dad and I usually do on Father’s Day:  go see a movie, hit up a Chinese Buffet…you know, the usual.

But “usual” is a pretty relative term.  And I started to wonder what “the usual” was up here for Father’s Day, what with the lack of movie theaters and Chinese Buffets.  What do dads do on the North Shore?

So I ran it by my main man, Shem.  Saying Shem’s a good bartender is like saying Mozart wrote good jingles.  He’s legendary.

He also happens to have a pack of strapping young lads at home.  So surely he’d know what a does for fun ’round these parts.

And of course, since he’s a bartender, I opened with what his Dad’s Day drink of choice was going to be.

A Bloody to start, he said, and a champagne Mojito for happy hour.

Good answer.

The rest of his answers were good too.  Surprising to me, although they probably shouldn’t have been.

Shem said his Father’s Day would probably spent by taking the kids and hiking the Temperance.  And later find a nice, quiet patch of beachfront and build a fire.

He said he might paddle a canoe and, if he was lucky, catch a fish for dinner.  Perfect day.

It was so simple.  Peaceful.  Such a juxtaposition compared to what my dad and I would do.  Where the old man and I would at the very least rent a movie and order a pizza, Shem was looking to catch his dinner.  And instead of a movie, his “big screen view” is a bonfire in front of the endless blue-and-white whorl of Lake Superior.

Then I remember how lucky Shem and I are to live where we do.  I was thinking about it all wrong–I was wondering what Shem’s alternate plans were, in lieu of the things my dad and I would normally do.  But it’s not an alternate choice–it’s the best choice!

So I won’t be able to get my dad up here this Father’s Day, but I will get him up here.  Soon.  He’s missed out on this for too long.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!  If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the restaurant.  We’re doing All-You-Can-Eat Ribs and a FREE tap beer for dads!

That might actually get my dad up here this year…

 

– Mikel

 

 

episode 1.2 – north shore for dads

When I was very young, my Grandpa Chuck used to talk about the Gunflint Trail.  He had this promotional video he got from a sporting goods store; it was about 15 minutes and offered a quick glimpse of the Trail.  Even though there wasn’t much to it, he’d watch it at least once a week and tell me how much he’d love to go there.

I watched the video with him (a lot, actually) and always wondered where the Gunflint Trail was.  I’m sure he told me but, like most directions, they don’t mean much to you when you’re a kid.  To me, it was just kind of a mythical place.  I didn’t even bother to check a map.

It’s funny that years later this “imaginary” place that my grandpa mentioned is now my, well, stomping ground.  I mean, I lived on the Gunflint Trail–the very place Grandpa Chuck said was his favorite place in the world.  When I talk to him on the phone, I can tell it just blows his mind that I’m living up here.

That’s why it’s tough, as Father’s Day approaches, to think that he’s never been able to visit me up here.  Nor my dad.  He’s a busy guy and, let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a drive.

I always imagine what we’d do if we just had a day.  I’d take him to all my favorite spots.  Like the Devil’s Kettle, where they still don’t know where the water goes.

Devil's Kettle, 2010. Why yes, that IS a raging waterfall flowing around us. Don't try this at home, kids!

Or Palisade Head, where it’s so high up, but you feel like you’re soaring over Lake Superior.

Palisade Head, 2010. I won't tell you who took the picture--but I will tell you they were too close to the edge!

It’d be a big change from the stuff my dad and I usually do on Father’s Day:  go see a movie, hit up a Chinese Buffet…you know, the usual.

But “usual” is a pretty relative term.  And I started to wonder what “the usual” was up here for Father’s Day, what with the lack of movie theaters and Chinese Buffets.  What do dads do on the North Shore?

So I ran it by my main man, Shem.  Saying Shem’s a good bartender is like saying Mozart wrote good jingles.  He’s legendary.

He also happens to have a pack of strapping young lads at home.  So surely he’d know what a does for fun ’round these parts.

And of course, since he’s a bartender, I opened with what his Dad’s Day drink of choice was going to be.

A Bloody to start, he said, and a champagne Mojito for happy hour.

Good answer.

The rest of his answers were good too.  Surprising to me, although they probably shouldn’t have been.

Shem said his Father’s Day would probably spent by taking the kids and hiking the Temperance.  And later find a nice, quiet patch of beachfront and build a fire.

He said he might paddle a canoe and, if he was lucky, catch a fish for dinner.  Perfect day.

It was so simple.  Peaceful.  Such a juxtaposition compared to what my dad and I would do.  Where the old man and I would at the very least rent a movie and order a pizza, Shem was looking to catch his dinner.  And instead of a movie, his “big screen view” is a bonfire in front of the endless blue-and-white whorl of Lake Superior.

Then I remember how lucky Shem and I are to live where we do.  I was thinking about it all wrong–I was wondering what Shem’s alternate plans were, in lieu of the things my dad and I would normally do.  But it’s not an alternate choice–it’s the best choice!

So I won’t be able to get my dad up here this Father’s Day, but I will get him up here.  Soon.  He’s missed out on this for too long.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!  If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the restaurant.  We’re doing All-You-Can-Eat Ribs and a FREE tap beer for dads!

That might actually get my dad up here this year…

 

– Mikel

 

 

north shore quick fix #1 – the luna moth

Look who came to visit me at work this morning!  

Not exactly uncommon in the northern states, but the Luna Moth is still a lucky find!  

Practically glowing green, this moth comes from a silk-producing caterpillar of the same color that hangs out on Birch trees.  We definitely have plenty of those up here!

I’m a big bug nerd from way back and this guy gave me an electric jolt as I was opening up shop!

Nature score!

–Mikel


episode 1.1 – chef justen's fishin' spots

Down in the restaurant, the #1 most-asked question is “What beers do you have on tap?”

But the second most-asked question is “Where’s the good fishing at?”  Oh boy.

There’s a lot of lakes up here and I’m not exactly the “bait my own hook” type.  But there is one guy who knows North Shore fishing spots inside and out.  And luckily for me (and my tables) he happens to be a chef too.  I mean, right there in the kitchen is my go-to guide to Fishing 101.

Being that we’re just past Fishing Opener, I thought I’d ask the big guy if he knew any good lakes I could post about.  In classic Justen fashion, he gets a huge grin on his face and whips out his trusty Area Lake Guide.

Of course he marks every good bite he gets with an X.  Obviously he keeps track of the species.

And if that’s not enough, he throws down his favorite ways to prepare each fish.  Talk about above and beyond the call of duty!

So, what was going to just be a casual blog with directions to a lake has become the Official Chef Justen Comprehensive All-Inclusive Fishing Guide-O-Rama!

Here we go:

#1 – Northern Light Lake

Apparently this lake lives up to its namesake, yielding Northerns as well as Perch, if ye be packin’ a large purple spoon, says Justen.  The lake is also known for its sunfish, bass, and the occasional walleye–but Justen’s had the most luck with Northerns and Perch.  Watch the narrows for lilypad and wild rice patches and rocky bottoms.  And if you’re looking for a moose (my third most-asked question), Justen just saw one a few days ago on the east river bend.  (He marked that too, shh!)

And what does the ‘chef half’ do with Perch?  Keep it simple:  beer batter.  Accented with a Lemon-Dill Aioli on Toasted Ciabatta makes a heck of a sandwich.

#2 – Pine Mountain Lake

Speaking of rocky bottoms–which I try not to–this arrowhead-shaped lake is pretty much known for having one.  Justen’s usual catch here is splake, a hybrid combo of brook trout and lake trout.  He uses a yellow spinner with eyes to snag these bad boys and when he does he smokes’em, whole.  And if you catch one of those Brown Trout, Justen suggests going for a honey-glazed kabob.

#3 – Elbow Lake

Another sweet spot for perch.  And my motto is “If it’s shaped like a fish, it must be good fishing!”  Not really–but if I had a motto, that’d be it.

If taking a canoe up the Gunflint isn’t exactly your cup of tea, Tofte Charters also offers a relaxing fishing excursion out on Lake Superior.  And if you catch it, Chef Justen (or one of the equally awesome Moguls chefs) will even cook it up for you.  Slam dunk, right?

Happy fishing, kids!

–Mikel

episode 1.1 – chef justen’s fishin’ spots

Down in the restaurant, the #1 most-asked question is “What beers do you have on tap?”

But the second most-asked question is “Where’s the good fishing at?”  Oh boy.

There’s a lot of lakes up here and I’m not exactly the “bait my own hook” type.  But there is one guy who knows North Shore fishing spots inside and out.  And luckily for me (and my tables) he happens to be a chef too.  I mean, right there in the kitchen is my go-to guide to Fishing 101.

Being that we’re just past Fishing Opener, I thought I’d ask the big guy if he knew any good lakes I could post about.  In classic Justen fashion, he gets a huge grin on his face and whips out his trusty Area Lake Guide.

Of course he marks every good bite he gets with an X.  Obviously he keeps track of the species.

And if that’s not enough, he throws down his favorite ways to prepare each fish.  Talk about above and beyond the call of duty!

So, what was going to just be a casual blog with directions to a lake has become the Official Chef Justen Comprehensive All-Inclusive Fishing Guide-O-Rama!

Here we go:

#1 – Northern Light Lake

Apparently this lake lives up to its namesake, yielding Northerns as well as Perch, if ye be packin’ a large purple spoon, says Justen.  The lake is also known for its sunfish, bass, and the occasional walleye–but Justen’s had the most luck with Northerns and Perch.  Watch the narrows for lilypad and wild rice patches and rocky bottoms.  And if you’re looking for a moose (my third most-asked question), Justen just saw one a few days ago on the east river bend.  (He marked that too, shh!)

And what does the ‘chef half’ do with Perch?  Keep it simple:  beer batter.  Accented with a Lemon-Dill Aioli on Toasted Ciabatta makes a heck of a sandwich.

#2 – Pine Mountain Lake

Speaking of rocky bottoms–which I try not to–this arrowhead-shaped lake is pretty much known for having one.  Justen’s usual catch here is splake, a hybrid combo of brook trout and lake trout.  He uses a yellow spinner with eyes to snag these bad boys and when he does he smokes’em, whole.  And if you catch one of those Brown Trout, Justen suggests going for a honey-glazed kabob.

#3 – Elbow Lake

Another sweet spot for perch.  And my motto is “If it’s shaped like a fish, it must be good fishing!”  Not really–but if I had a motto, that’d be it.

If taking a canoe up the Gunflint isn’t exactly your cup of tea, Tofte Charters also offers a relaxing fishing excursion out on Lake Superior.  And if you catch it, Chef Justen (or one of the equally awesome Moguls chefs) will even cook it up for you.  Slam dunk, right?

Happy fishing, kids!

–Mikel

episode 1.0 – meet the voice

Happy Saturday, Everybody!  Man, it’s gorgeous out there!  And it’s like Monarch Butterfly City everywhere you look!

Well, let’s get the introductions out of the way:

Hi, I’m Mikel and I’m addicted to the North Shore.

Just look at that face!

Why?  Well, let me answer that question with another question:  Have you been here before?  I mean besides the endless list of stuff to do, it’s eye-candy in literally every direction.  Waterfalls, mountains, wildlife…and that lake!

You might be thinking I’m a little biased, being a local and all.  But I wasn’t always a local.

Two years ago, I was just a chunky dude living in low-rent housing in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  My time was split between working at a book store, a video store, and eating too many fast-food tacos.  I was a struggling writer–and by ‘struggling’ I mean ‘uninspired to the max.’

Then both my jobs went belly-up.  Apparently the book-selling and video-renting industries are in decline?  Could’ve used a heads-up there.  But it turned out to be the best thing detour I’ve ever hit, because it led me to an awesome gig serving at a happenin’ li’l joint on the mountain called Moguls.

Turns out that most famous celebrities started out serving, so I decided to stick with it.  And even though I loved Lutsen and loved Grand Marais right off the bat, it felt a little like a prison sentence.  I mean, I had to up and leave everything I was used to:  movie theaters, shopping malls, McDonald’s.

Up until I moved back.  After a year and a half, I thought I’d go back to my old stomping grounds–and found out I was just too North Shore for it all.  I missed Lake Superior being right out my door a million times more than I missed traffic lights.

So now I’m back, working at the restaurant I love, at the resort I love, in the area I love.  My book is due out next summer (set here in Lutsen–what a coincidence!) and I get to hike all the trails, run all the rivers, tackle all the waterfalls, and drink all the local beers I want.

But why the life story, Mikel?  Couldn’t have you spared us your autobiography and got to the good stuff?

Okay, okay, maybe I’m a little wordy.  But when you read this blog, I want you to know who’s writing it.  I want you to know what kept me here and what brought me back.  This isn’t a travel brochure or a pitch from the Board of Tourism–it’s a story.  A story that isn’t over.  I’m not done experiencing the North Shore yet, and you might as well come along for the ride.

Because two years ago, I was asking the same question you are now:  What the heck is there to do around a ski hill in the summer?  And what I found out really blew my mind.

And because this place picked me up and saved me.  I owe it one.

So gear up with me for a summer you’ll never forget.  I’ll be here every Monday with all the local scoops, descriptions, and details.  And who knows, maybe I’ll even catch you at the pub!  Cheers!

 

– Mikel

 

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