.All Trips / Central USA / Minnesota / North America

A Day in Grand Marais, Minnesota

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Grand Marais is a town of about 1500 residents situated in Cook County, Minnesota.  It rests on the northwestern shore of the largest lake in the world, Lake Superior.  Grand Marais is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer season, and is accessed by Minnesota Highway 61 (North Shore Scenic Drive).  It’s 110 miles NE of Duluth and 40 miles SW of the Canadian/US border.

Grand Marais is French for “Great Marsh”, the name referring to a marsh that was situated in the town long ago which it seems has mostly been filled in.   It has a nice harbor (see photos above and below) and many people like to sail from it onto the unpredictable waters of the Great …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

A visit to the Celestial Seasons Factory, Boulder

52CelestialSeasoningsTeaCenter(36)

My younger son is a PhD student at UC Boulder (astrophysics of all things) and visiting him has given me the opportunity to explore this pretty little city recently.  It’s got some nice attractions, especially it’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountains and a great summertime farmer’s market But there are many Americans who think of tea when they think of Boulder. You heard that correctly — a tea factory in America’s heartland.

Celestial Seasons may not be the biggest distributor of tea in the USA but it unquestionably has the most devoted following and is the country’s largest supplier of herbal teas.  I know several people who would have trouble going to …

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.All Trips / Central USA / North America / North Dakota

Sertoma Park, Grand Forks

08 Grand Forks Sertoma Park (29)

The city of Grand Forks, situated in northeastern North Dakota, is not exactly located on  main tourist paths.  In fact, it’s what most folks would call “flyover” country.  And that wouldn’t bother the friendly people of Grand Forks one little bit.  They know they live in a clean and beautiful city, of which they are rightly proud.

Most of my memories of Grand Forks are from when I was a boy, traveling to it from our home in Winnipeg for shopping weekends.  It had been several decades since I’d last spent any time here and what I found when we recently visited Grand Forks was a pretty city that was extremely family friendly and liveable.

We stopped at Sertoma Park, one of …

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Central USA / Colorado / North America

“Pic of the Week”, July 14, 2017. Airport Art, Denver

10 Denver Airport

When I have some spare time between flights I often walk around airports.  In large part this is to stretch my legs and get a little exercise before the lengthy time spent in a crowded airplane seat.  I’m a fan of nicely designed and interesting airports and like to explore some of their shops, get a bite to eat, and people watch.  Airports also increasingly seem to have interesting collections of art on display.  It makes sense to have such exhibits at airports because these places are often crowded and busy, in the case of Denver, nearly 60,000,000 people traveling through it in a given year.  Admittedly many travelers won’t give something more than a glance but others, like me, …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

Camp Hale, Colorado

07 Camp Hale

Though today it’s mostly just the quiet pastoral scene you see above, with a few scattered concrete ruins as markers of it’s historic past, Camp Hale was once a very busy site with as many as 15,000 soldiers living and training here.  Camp Hale is at an elevation of 9,200 ft (2,800 m) above sea level and was used to train the elite troops of the 10th Mountain Division during the second World War.   

Camp Hale is situated in Colorado’s Eagle River valley between Red Cliff and Leadville. The camp was named in honor of General Irving Hale and was built in 1942 by the U. S. Army at a cost of $30 million.  It was here that soldiers who …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Montana / North America

Signs of Butte

21 Signs of Butte

Often in my travels I wish I could see a destination as it was years before I’ve gotten there — that I had access to H.G. Wells’ Time Machine so I could select exactly when to drop into a city or town.  In the case of Butte, Montana, I would set that Time Machine for circa 1900.  What a grand city I’d find when I arrived!  One of the largest, most developed new cities of the American West, with beautiful lavish hotels, elegant restaurants, theaters and other attractions, Butte was the place to be!  Funded by the wealth harvested from the mines of the “Richest Hill on Earth”, Butte was booming.

Jump forward a century and what you find is quite different.  Most …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 10, 2017: World’s Best Donuts, Grand Marais

‘s Best Donuts

Situated in the small tourist town of Grand Marais, on the northwest shore of Lake Superior, is this ‘mom and pop’ donut shop. The name of the place may seem a little overdone, but the donuts it sells are prepared to perfection. They are indeed among the best I’ve ever had.

World’s Best Donuts has an extensive assessment of donuts, prepared fresh daily and greedily consumed by the shop’s many patrons. The several I’ve tried during my visits were all excellent, although they say their cake donuts are a house specialty. The donut shop opened in 1969 and has been run by the family for almost fifty years.

There are seats outside, but it’s especially …

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.All Trips / Arizona / North America / Southwestern USA / Utah

Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah

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Monument Valley has been featured many times in classic western movies, especially those starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford.  Ford loved the beautiful scenery of Monument Valley and perhaps more than anyone helped put it on the tourist map.  The valley floor is not that large — around a half dozen square miles — but it’s been filmed from so many angles you’ve likely come to think of it as being representative of the entire American West.

You’ll have seen Monument Valley in the movie Stagecoach, this photo including the Three Sisters rock formation….

Stagecoach, 1939, with the Three Sisters formation.

Stagecoach, 1939, with the Three Sisters formation.

And in the classic film, The Searchers…..

The Searchers, 1956

The Searchers, 1956

Henry Fonda’s “My Darling Clementine” (a screening of which my father-in-law told me was the first date he and my …

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