Snowshoeing With the SHTA

Snowshoeing With the SHTA

Snowshoeing is a fun way to explore the winter and is even sort of a team sport. It is fun to do with others because of the company and because the more people who have walked the same path as you the easier it is. The Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA) offers free guided hikes year-round. January through March they lead people down the trails on snowshoes. This is a fun way to get introduced to or return to snowshoeing with knowledgeable people, while spreading out some of the trail breaking work.

“How they work is they are open to the public,” said Jo Swanson, Director of Trail Development at the SHTA. “They normally start at 10 in the morning on a Saturday. Each hike has a hike leader. In the winter they are snowshoe hikes. Sometimes there isn’t enough snow.  So we have to be a little flexible.”

The one thing they require on these hikes is that you bring your own snowshoes and you know how to put them on. If you’re a guest a Larsmont you’re welcome to use a set of ours for free!

These hikes start at different Superior Hiking trailheads. This winter three are planned. They will start at the Normanna Road Trailhead, the Fors Road, and the Oberg Mountain trailheads. There is usually some trail breaking involved, though the tracks show that many people are out snowshoeing on this trail during the winter. The snow also makes it easier to see where other creatures have been.

Snowshoe hare tracks

“What is really fun is to see the animal tracks,” said Jo. “We know that there are snowshoe hares out there but we don’t usually see proof of them. So, in the winter we can see what animals have been there.”

Snowshoeing isn’t fast but allows you to enjoy the backwoods with minimal disruption. This means there is a better chance nature won’t notice you.

“You are quiet out there,” said Jo. “So there is a pretty good chance you will see wildlife more than with some of the other winter sports.”

Even if you see no animals, you still have the scenery. This is rugged country that is densely populated with trees, rocky outcroppings, hills, and ravines. When it is covered with snow it becomes even more magical. There are large sections of smooth snow and places where assorted ice shapes cling to rock faces.  The first hike of this year is a particularly scenic one.

“Our January hike goes from Normanna Road Trailhead to Heron Pond Camp and back,” said Jo. “That is a very pretty area, with some really nice ponds. And the campsites are really gorgeous. That is just a really good snowshoe hike.”

Their guided Gooseberry Falls hike is another great one, with trails that are specifically designed for snowshoeing. Since Gooseberry also has a lot of ski trails, this is a good place to remind you that is important to never snowshoe on groomed ski trails.

The SHTA also recommends snowshoeing the Superior Hiking Trail on your own. Just be aware that not all of the trailheads are plowed during the winter. The SHTA website has complete listings of which trailheads get plowed and which ones do not.

If you want to go out on your own, you don’t even need an official trail to go on. This will increase the work but diminish as you bring more people along. You could really snowshoe anywhere that is public land that has gotten enough snow. Jo recommends a section a little outside of Two Harbors.

“The Lake County Demonstration Forest would be a good call,” said Jo.

If you are staying at Larsmont Cottages you are close to a number of places where you can try out some snowshoes.  If you didn’t bring any, Larsmont Cottages can loan you a pair.


Complimentary snowshoe rental is available for guests of Larsmont Cottages.

Upcoming Snowshoe Activities


06jan10:00 am12:00 pmGuided SHT Snowshoe Hike


17feb10:00 pm12:00 pmGuided SHT Snowshoe Hike


10mar10:00 pm12:00 pmGuided SHT Snowshoe Hike

Photo credits

Snowshoes by Daisuke tashiro licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Snowshoe Hare Tracks by Jim Kravitz licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Bringing Positive Energy to the Outdoors

Bringing Positive Energy to the Outdoors

lars-peo-featurePositive Energy Outdoors is a 501(C) non-profit group, dedicated to encouraging people to expend energy in positive ways. Their efforts keep people moving even in the winter, when nature and people normally slow down. If you are staying at Larsmont Cottages and go on one of their sled dog adventures, you will soon be gliding across vast white vistas while helping others get moving as well.

“All the public programming, whether it is going dog sledding, riding on horse-drawn sleighs, kayaking, or voyageur canoeing, it all supports programming for kids,” said Stephanie Love at Positive Energy Outdoors. “We serve about 1200 kids each year and about half of those come from low-income households. So, they get to do programming for free or at a very reduced cost, because of the public in our programs.”

Meet Val, one of the adorable, hard-working dog sled team members. Get to know all the dogs.
Meet Val, one of the adorable, hard-working
dog sled team members.
Get to know all the dogs.

When I talked with Stephanie over the holidays, she was getting ready to introduce a group to the great north woods, on the favorite vehicle of Jack London.

“Right now we are about to go on our Two-Hour Family Tour,” said Stephanie. “On this tour, we can take a group of up to 6. It is designed for either kids or those who have very young children or those who just want an introductory experience.”

Scientists often talk about “useful” energy, as opposed to energy which is out there but isn’t doing us any good. The tours start with the guests learning how to get the dogs to work together as a team in a way that makes their energy useful to us, by getting the sled moving. Stephanie was getting ready to show this family how this is done.

“They are going to get introduced to the dogs and introduced to the equipment,” said Stephanie. “Then, they will work together and harness the team. Then, they hook the team up to the sled.”

Once groups learn to harness the dog’s energy, they put it to good use. Positive Energy Outdoors has a number of packages and options available from two-hour tours to full-day mushing adventures. They take people through bogs, with tall strands of grass struggling to poke their heads above the deep snow, and the flat expanse of snow above the thick ice on Island Lake. The family taking the tour was not just along for the ride.

“They will take turns driving on a bigger beginner-friendly route,” said Stephanie.

The tours are also great for animal lovers. As much as people talk about smart cars and loving their BMWs, these vehicles can’t really think or return this love. Sled dogs can, and that makes the interactions more fun.

“It takes them about two hours to finish the route,” said Stephanie. “When they finish that, they get to come back and feed the dogs treats and then give the dogs water and then get the dogs back to their houses.”

These dogs work hard to give adults and disadvantaged children a good time out in the woods. As a non-profit organization, Positive Energy Outdoors needs help taking care of their four-legged friends. The group is looking for people to sponsor dogs to keep the working dogs well taken care of and to help the older dogs enjoy their retirement.

Positive Energy Outdoors has many other winter activities like horse-drawn sleighing, snowshoeing, and skijoring. They also have a number of activities in the summer. They are ready whenever you want to expend some positive energy, while being outdoors.

Photo of Val courtesy of Positive Energy Outdoors.

Featured image by Guillaume Baviere licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Larsmont Wine and Cheese Tasting: Savoring the Moment

Larsmont Cheese Tasting

Leisure activities come in two main varieties. Some contain heart-pounding adrenaline-filled moments like riding a roller coaster, kayaking in three foot waves, and going straight down a ski slope. Other activities like watching a sunset, reading a book, or admiring a painting are meant to be savored. “Savor” can be defined in several ways. One of the best definitions comes from Merriam-Webster Online, who say savor means “to enjoy (something) for a long time.” Wine and cheese tasting at Larsmont Cottages is designed to be an experience where you slowly enjoy the smells, textures, and tastes of fine wines and cheeses, while carefully considering the experience.

“It takes about 2 hours,” said Larsmont bartender Tristan Constantine, which as a side note is a pretty good name for a guy who does wine pairings. “It is a great time to stop by the gathering area, spend some time at the bar, spend some time with your friends, and enjoy some great cheeses and pair some great wines with them. Everyone seems to love it.”

The wine and cheese tasting occurs at the bar in the main gathering area. Cheese and crackers are complimentary during the happy hour between three and five. For 15 dollars a person, you can get three different wines paired to go well with the cheeses. Guests can either enjoy Tristan’s pick of wines or one that he helps them pick.

“I usually pick three wines or choose based on a conversation with you,” said Tristan. “It depends on what your preferences are. Then, we can pick it together or you can just pick it off of the wine list as well.”

The wine and cheese enjoying experience is not just about picking the wines and cheeses but also understanding them.  Tristan is happy to be your guide in this area. As an experienced bartender he knows the product and loves talking to guests about it.

“I am not a certified wine connoisseur but I know a lot about wines,” said Tristan. “So, I can definitely pair the cheese with the wine and I can tell a little about the wine and what cheese would go great with it.”

The plate usually consists of three cheeses that normally fit into three categories.

“The chef picks the cheeses every day,” said Tristan. “Usually it is a combination of a sharp cheese, a more mild cheese, and a dry cheese. So we might do a fontina, an aged cheddar, and a brie or a blue cheese. It kind of varies between that. But, we always have about 3 different types of cheeses.”

Some guests may want to bring part of the Larsmont wine and cheese tasting experience home with them. Larsmont can sell you a bottle of that wine you really liked and make you a cheese plate to go.

Once home you can enjoy the wine and cheese and remember your time at the cottages. This would be good on a quiet afternoon when you have the time to savor it.

Indoor Fun at Larsmont

Indoor Fun at Larsmont

Sometimes on vacation we want to cram as much back-to-back excitement into every moment as we can. We go from site to site, taking a route that fills as many squares on our bucket list as possible. But, sometimes we just want to relax, sit back, and take in our surroundings. That’s why Larsmont offers calm, simple activities that bring people together.

“We sometimes do balloon artistry,” said Rachel Pritchard at Larsmont. “The balloon artist comes and makes figure animals and so forth out of balloons. It is very good for kids and they really like it.”

Balloon animals have all the qualities kids love. They are colorful, goofy shapes, and can be popped. Even better is something you can eat.

Mrs. Delicious at Larsmont Cottages
Mrs. Delicious at Larsmont Cottages

“Sometimes we do a craft of the day,” said Rachel. “Sometimes it is ice cream.  We have had Mrs. Delicious come in two times this summer. She has her own little truck and a bike that she rides around and sells ice cream.”

Sometimes guests get the chance to make their own ice cream during the craft time. At 3 PM Larsmont does a craft of the day. During this time guest services will think of a fun craft for guests to do, if they want. Some of their past events include driftwood art or other art projects with local materials.

Sometimes guests want to have a lasting memento to remember their time spent with family and friends at the resort. Since rocks on the grounds have managed to survive the waves year after year, they make a good candidate for a keepsake.

Guest can find a big or small rock on the grounds to decorate. The resort provides paint markers for the guests to decorate their little part of nature. During the painting session, guests will often look on resort computers to see what kinds of decorations others have done.

When they are done with the rocks, some take them home and some leave them at the resort. There is an area out front where people leave rocks, hoping to come back and see them later.

“A lot of people come back for their anniversary,” said Rachel. “And so the next year when they come back they can see that rock. Near our front entrance there are rocks. Some are painted and some are not. The painted ones are what the guests have left behind.”

You can play games at home, but it’s often fun to play them during periods of dedicated recreation. The resort has board games you can play in the common area or bring back to the cottages. Sometimes families don’t mind looking a little silly in public while having fun together.

The board game library at Larsmont.
Oh yeah. We’ve got game(s).

“The other day, I had a family playing Twister in the lodge,” said Rachel.  “We have a lot of classic games like chess and another one is checkers. We have other board games that are like card games or have trivia questions. This brings families together.”

The resort also has a movie shelf and a book shelf for more quiet relaxation.

On Saturdays, there is often live music at the resort. Sometimes it is jazz or blues and sometimes it is acoustic folksy guitar. It is all different and all designed to help guests enjoy their stay at Larsmont Cottages. Enjoy it alone or with people you’re close to, but either way sit back and relax.

You Catch It, We Cook It

salmonOn a charter fishing trip in Costa Rica, we hauled in an enormous silver fish.

“Can that be eaten like sushi?” I asked in my mediocre Spanish.

The crew chuckled. Not knowing how to convince them, I just asked again.

When the captain realized I was serious he leapt up, dug in a compartment, and brought out both wasabi paste and soy sauce. It was the freshest fish I’ve ever eaten.

Your charter captain here on Lake Superior may not be quite as accommodating, but fortunately Chef Uriah is. At Ledge Rock Grille, our policy is if you catch it, we’ll cook it.

“Any fish we can prepare for you that you’ve caught,” front desk manager Rena Ross says. “We just need to know ahead of time so my cooks are aware that it’s coming in.”

Whether you catch a trout, walleye, whitefish, or salmon, just get those fillets in a Ziploc bag and call the resort. They will ask how you’d like it prepared and get it ready for you.

There are a few caveats. This offer is only for overnight guests on a charter fishing trip, because we’re already living on the edge cooking fish we didn’t get from a licensed purveyor.

“If you just showed up off the street with a walleye I probably would not do that for you,” chef Uriah says.

But the price is right: $11 a person. Usually it’s a group of four to six people and we will do a few different preparations like baked, fried, and amandine along with side dishes.

If you’re feeling hungry but didn’t catch any fish yourself, don’t worry. We always have a few of our own on hand. Here are some of our regular fish dishes.

Canadian Walleye, Citrus Panko, Beurre Blanc, Wild Rice, Market Vegetable

Salmon, Cedar Plank, Maple Glaze, Garlic Mash, Market Vegetables

Fresh Superior Lake Trout, Shallots, Bourbon, Honey, Cream, Toasted Almonds, Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes, Market Vegetables

Rainbow Trout, Lump Crab Stuffing, Cajun Blackened, Sweet Potatoes, Citrus Beurre Blanc, Market Vegetables

Salmon, Cajun Sear, Red Pepper Bearnaise, Wild Rice, Market Vegetable

Knife River Beach: The Stealth Beach

Knife River BeachWhen you are staying at Larsmont you have beach access at your doorsteps, with amenities like the sauna and massage cottage feet from the lake. Still, there are other beaches near Larsmont with their own unique features and charms. One particularly great beach is within biking distance of Larsmont.

Knife River Beach has a lot of natural features and other curiosities in a small package. This beach is only 3 miles from Larsmont and is one of the area's best-kept secrets. The path to it is not well marked, making it easy to overlook.

The driveway to the Knife River Beach parking area is a bit like the Bat Cave's entrance.
The driveway to the Knife River Beach parking area is a bit like the Bat Cave's entrance.

From Larsmont you first start going south on the scenic drive. After you pass by the old Emily's building and take the bridge over the river, take the first left on Church Road. When you run into the marina, make a left and a quick right. At the end of a short dirt road is the beach.

The beach is a crescent shape about half a mile long. Across about 1000 feet of water from the center of the crescent is a small patch of rock called Knife Island. The island is around 500 feet long and 180 feet at its widest.

Even from the beach you can see the island wanted to be bigger. A visible field of flat shallow rock surrounds the island and a stretch of stones extends just under the surface toward the south tip of the crescent.

You can walk to this tip of the crescent and stand on the rocks above or wade on the rocks in the water. To the south of this crescent is a small finger of water separating you from the land on the other side. Looking west, you can look up a narrow path of water into Knife River Harbor. During the summer you are sure to see sailboats carefully navigating out the narrow straight with engines and then hoisting their sails after reaching open water.

From the south tip of the crescent you will probably notice a cloudy brownness coming from the north tip. You may walk up there to see what it is. Walking north, the beach is a mixture of gravel and sand. To the left, a line of boulders protects the slightly higher ground on days when the waves are high. Eventually the boulders are gone and the sand reaches to the edge of the tree line.

Along this whole beach there are other patches of shallow rock beneath the surface. It forms areas where you can see deep into the water.

You may decide to stop when you reach part of the beach right next to the houses. There is often driftwood to walk over. So, caution is advised.

If you keep going eventually you will reach the north tip of the crescent. Here you see why the brown cloud is there. Here is where the Knife River is flowing into the river, bring brown water into the lake. Here there is also what appears to be a broken peace of stone that must be the remains of an old breakwater.

To the left is a little bay formed by the sandbar blocking most of the mouth of the river. From this point you can look inland and see traffic passing over the river on the Scenic Drive. Many of those who pass by may not even know this little beach of wonders is here. Now you do.


Castle Danger Brewery: Past Meets Present And You Get To Drink Beer

Castle Danger beer on the deckThe story of beer is the story of America. Our country began as a nation of small brewers, and countless colonists brewed their own on the farm or at home. During the years after World War 2, large industrial breweries displaced most of their smaller rivals. But over the past ten years, microbreweries have exploded again, bringing a resurgence in both small-time entrepreneurship and creative flavors.

Castle Danger is a new brewery just over ten minutes from Larsmont. The big red building by the lake is definitely a place for work—the sweet-sour smells of yeast and malt waft out and trucks bring barrels out of the warehouse. In front, the taproom is a relaxed place to sample local flavors, with hardwood ceilings and exposed hanging lights. The sign hanging over the bar—a 10 foot by four foot slice of a tree emblazoned with the brewery’s logo and “dangerously good ales”—is striking, but the flavors even more so.

While some beers stay year round, most of the selections change seasonally. On a recent visit, there were several beers that stood out as notable:

 Nordic (Juniper-Rye Lager, 5.5% ABV)
This was our first holiday beer, brewed in 2011. It is our take on a traditional Finnish beer called Sahti, which is brewed with juniper berries and rye. Clint took our original lager recipe and brewed it with juniper and rye to give it a great twist, which was so popular that it has become a spring seasonal.

Gentleman George Hunter (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout, 8.7%. This beer is named after the brewer’s grandpa!)
Bourbon barrel-aged George Hunter Stout, aged for 8 months in Jack Daniel barrels. Flavors & aromas of molasses, licorice, maple, coffee & cream enhanced with bourbon, oak and vanilla. Served on nitro to add an extra creamy body.

Sommelier George Hunter (Red Wine Barrel-Aged Stout, 10.6%)
A special release of our Big Dumb Stout, Sommelier George has been aging in red and white wine barrels for six months. Aromas of raisins, dark fruit, red wine and dark roasted malts are echoed in the flavor along with hints of vanilla, oak, coffee and chocolate. Sommelier George Hunter Stout is opaque black, deep and resonate – a fine beer worth sipping on a cold winter’s night.

Summer Crush (Summer Ale, 4.7% ABV)
Summer Crush is a beer brewed just for summer. It has a pleasant lemon flavor and aroma from using Sorachi Ace hops, which is a defining characteristic of this Japanese hop variety. The malted barley lends a slightly sweet, biscuity backbone. Summer crush is a sessionable beer, and our take on a shandy without being one. Like a summer crush back in the day, or Minnesota’s short summer season, this beer won’t beer around for very long. Enjoy it while you can!

The taproom doesn’t sell food directly (except chips and salsa) but does one better—it allows outside food and has menus on hand for the many nearby restaurants that deliver to the taproom or are open for pickup. Rather than negotiate with the family for a restaurant everyone likes, you can have a bacon cheeseburger and fries while your teenager has a gluten-free vegan salad or whatever she’s into these days. This is a family-friendly taproom owned by a husband and wife team, so feel free to bring the kids.

Castle Danger taps into an old tradition, but is looking towards the future. It’s a worthwhile place to stop and get a growler as you enjoy the North Shore.

Meet the Castle Danger Brewers at Hopped Up Caribou

July 8-9, 2016 at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen

Beer lovers, meet your makers! The 2016 Hopped Up Caribou Beer Fest features homegrown brewing heroes, live music, chef-prepared barbecue and the chance to save the world… one glass at a time! Make no mistake, this is the northernmost beer festival in the state, and at an elevation of 1300 feet above sea level. Outdoor. Summer. Mountainside. Under a big top.

Learn more about the Weekend Packages



Massages at Larsmont

Have you ever eaten something and said if it only had a certain ingredient it would be perfect? This could be a cherry on a sundae or the wine that goes perfectly with the pasta. Getting a massage at Larsmont Cottages can be an experience that tops off an already great weekend at the resort.

“Some make an appointment when they book their room. Sometimes they are here and say ‘do you have any availability tomorrow’ and we are often able to schedule an appointment for the next day,” said Wellness Director Sarah Marma.

The main theme at Larsmont is relaxation and two of the main massages at Larsmont are Swedish and relaxation.

Sarah points out that Swedish and Relaxation Massages are basically the same thing. They are general all-purpose tried and true massages. They focus on overall massaging of the whole body. Getting one of these massages is like asking for the chef’s special. You can’t go wrong. But sometimes you need more specific attention.

“Then we do deep tissue with people who have problem areas they would like to focus on,” said Sarah.

As we would expect, the Prenatal Massage is meant for only a small percentage of the general population at a given time. Like any massage, hot oil can be added as an additional ingredient to go well with this massage.
massageOne type of massage really fits into Larsmont’s surroundings, or rather fits the surroundings into the massage.

“I guess the highlight here is really the Hot Stone Massage,” said Sarah. “It is kind of a unique experience to get these stones right from near the lake. We do a massage with the stones or just let them sit in one spot. The heat really penetrates deep into the muscles.”

The Hot Stone Massage involves hot stones being strategically placed on key parts of the body. From there they work together to penetrate through muscles and shock and awe the body into relaxation.

The Trigger Point massage is also about targeting key areas. Sarah mentions how the trigger point can target a certain part of the body by targeting a seemingly unrelated other part of the body.


The Couples Massage goes well with one of the usual goal of couples who come to Larsmont—to enjoy their time together. This massage is one of the most popular massages at Larsmont.

The lake and other surrounding in the background go well with the massages and vice versa. While city massage clinics may spend thousands of dollars blocking out the noise in the surrounding environment, at the massage cottage the surroundings are invited in.

“Today, for example, there are waves,” Sarah said. “We always crack the window–even in the winter, even if it is a fourth of an inch–to hear the waves. People comment that this is so nice.”

The massages also go hand and hand with Larsmont’s many other forms of relaxation. Take the sauna. The sauna is also right by the water and also is highly relaxing. Sarah mentions how the heat of the sauna and the massage can act as a tag team to beat your muscle tension. What if you want to take a more active role in opening up your pores?

“We offer a yoga class here Sunday morning,” said Sarah. “A lot of times I will ask the guest how long they are staying and let them know about the yoga class. Yoga and massage go well together.”

Isn’t it great when everything just fits together well? Try adding a massage to your next vacation for the perfect match.


Relaxing with Water, Earth, Air, and Fire

Chemistry students in ancient Greece had it easy. They only had four elements on their periodic table to learn--water, earth, air, and fire. Their less-than-accurate description of nature was probably the result of not having particle colliders or even Wikipedia.

Although this model is flawed, it can be used to characterize the types of amenities offered at Larsmont Cottages. Here we offer relaxation through all four elements.



Let's start with the most obvious element--water.

"There is magic in it," said Herman Melville in Moby Dick. "Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded forever.”

There is something special and mesmerizing about water in all of its forms. From many rooms at Larsmont, Lake Superior is in view all the time. Then, you can go outside.

Spend an hour skipping rocks and reckon it time well spent or kayak for a closer encounter. Or, swim in the indoor pool or immerse yourself in the warm vibrations of the whirlpool.


The element of earth includes the layers of rock that line the shore and hold back the waves. In addition to water, the human mind seems to be wired for jagged, hard, and irregular surfaces. The immovable rock is the perfect counterpoint to the fluid waters.

A hot stone massage is another manifestation of earth. Order one through the front desk and find your tension melting away.


The element of air is another amenity of the resort. Air is free but the quality varies.

Here the sky is wide open. Looking out over the water you have a very wide-angled view of the sky and the clouds. The air is fresh and the wind blows across your hair. At times this air may chill you.

Bring the wind to your lungs with our exercise room or out in the elements. The resort can get you set up with bikes, Geocaching equipment, lawn game equipment, or snowshoes. You can also hike, bird watch, boat watch, stargaze, and more.


Fire is the fourth element in our universe of unwinding. The fires (both fireplace and bonfire) are examples of this element in its pure state. You can get lost gazing into flames as easy as you can get lost in the waves’ curls.

Fire is also important in Larsmont's sauna.

"It is one of the closest buildings we have on the property to the lake and it is meant to get nice and hot," said Garrett Erickson of Larsmont Cottages. "When you do it right the hot should feel as good as the cold should feel."

Relaxation brings you back in touch with earth, water, air, and fire. In all four seasons

Larsmont will help you relax with the four elements.

All photos courtesy of Odyssey Resorts


Two Harbors Walk Through Time

The name "Two Harbors" implies the town is on water. It also suggests the history of the town probably revolves around shipping. If you are staying at Larsmont Cottages you can drive a short distance to investigate this town's colorful history. For best results, park and get out and walk. Here you’ll find the birthplace of 3M, railroads, an old lighthouse, and more.

The place to start this history tour is near the Two Harbors Light Station. To tell the story of the lighthouse we must first tell the story of the bay.

If you look down you will see sheltered waters near large wooden ore docks. In 1856 Thomas Sexton became the first non-native to settle in this bay.

Away from the Bay and over the lighthouse's hill is another bay, hidden from sight (the second of the Two Harbors). In 1857, a sawmill started at this other harbor. There, the community of Burlington, Minnesota was born.

In 1884, Thomas Sexton's ship, or rather lots of ships, came in. The Duluth & Iron Range Railroad built docks to load big boats with iron ore. His land was suddenly worth a lot more, as it was the only non-railroad-owned land on the bay. He turned that land into "Whiskey Row", the chief location for entertainment and vice for the flocks of new workers. All the buildings in Whiskey Row were destroyed or were forced to move a few years later.

Now you can look at the lighthouse. There were many ships coming in and out of the bay, and it was considered a big plus for them not to run aground. In 1892 the lighthouse began operations. During the summer you can tour the lighthouse and see how this lighthouse operated.

From the lighthouse, you can walk up the parking lot. After the boat launch, make a left on the lakewalk. On the lakewalk you will pass an area to the right behind a fence. This is where Whiskey Row once stood. This area was the site of an extensive archeological dig, a few years back, to see what could be uncovered from Whiskey Row.

You will get a better look at the ore docks and eventually reach the Edna G. tugboat. Just a few years after the lighthouse was built, the Edna G. was operating in this busy harbor.


If you head north straight into town you will see two trains. Since the track they are on goes nowhere, you might note they are not being used much these days.

On the right, the 3 Spot train is on display. It played a big part in building the surrounding town. This locomotive brought men and supplies up to where new track was being laid. Each time it went up, the tracks had moved further inland, a little closer to the mines.

Behind the train is the Depot Museum. The building was built in 1907 and was the headquarters of the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad Company, which built the ore docks and pretty much the town. The museum operates in the summer and one day a week during the winter. The museum has a number of exhibits and artifacts highlighting the history of Two Harbors.


Now that you have been in one building that was home to a big company you can walk a few blocks and see the birthplace of another giant corporation. If you walk two blocks to the north you will reach the 3M Museum. The museum is open in the summer.

This humble building was the birthplace of one of the largest corporations in the world. It started as the Minnesota, Mining, and Manufacturing Corporation. Eventually, it moved to Duluth and then the Twin Cities, and became the global giant it is today.

All this history happened in this little town. So take your time in Two Harbors as you take a walk through time.

Photos from US Library of Congress. See more historic Two Harbors photos.