Hello, we completed our Circle Tour of Lake Superior Oct. 4-13, 2014. This final leg of our journey found us staying at great locations along the way: Big Bay MI, Copper Harbor MI, Bayfield WI, Duluth MN, Grand Marais MN, Thunder Bay ON, Marathon ON, Mackinaw City MI.
The stay in Duluth was TWO nights because of our hotel location: South Pier Inn at the foot of the Duluth Harbor Channel Aerial Lift Bridge! We had room 101 and the ships pass so close you can wave at the captain and crew as they pass by.
This was just one of many highlights of our driving trip. The fall colors were great and perhaps most memorable in Michigan. The maple trees were bright red and orange once we approached the Mackinaw Bridge. Also of note was fall colors along the drive up Superior’s Minnesota coastline.
Okay, let’s get to pie tasting: Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors was our first stop after Duluth. Having been told the Great Lakes pie was very popular I ordered just that, while my wife ordered the Chicken & Wild Rice soup. The pie had great flavor and appeared to use cornstarch as a thickener. The top and bottom crusts were lacking a little flavor. The filling too thick with cornstarch. The top crust needed a little browning also. The soup my wife had was outstanding! Homemade and flavorful. She ate a whole large bowl!
Then on to Grand Marais. We spent a night there with breakfast at The Pie Place Cafe. The breakfast food is high-quality bistro style and extremely fresh and flavorful. A little pricey but well worth the cost. Yes..I had pie there also. Peach Crumb was in the case and so I ordered it. Wow is all I could say. Bottom crust had sweetness to it and was obviously home-made. The peach filling was sweet and just slightly exiting from under the browned-off crumb topping. It appeared tapioca was used as a thickener … just my observance.
Of the two Minnesota pie places I’d give an edge to The Pie Place Cafe.
Now on to a dining experience in Thunder Bay, Ontario. We stayed one night off main Hwy. 17 at Thunder Bay Inn on Hwy. 102. Great place with new renovations, very appreciated – and ultra quiet! Just up Hwy. 102 a mile is Sweet G’s restaurant. We ate there Friday evening and had the Lake Superior Pickerel meal for $12.99. Excellent value for a great homemade meal. I also inquired about the pies listed on the board. Due to popularity the only flavor available was coconut-cream pie. Now THAT was a slice of pie! Coconut filling very flavorful and full of coconut in a creamy custard-like pudding. The crust was flaky and very obviously homemade. The top was a homemade cream topping. It was ‘slap-yer-momma’ good. The pie slice indicated it was 1/6th of the whole pie – not 1/8th. And so I give the Canadian pie an edge over the Minnesota favorites! If you stop there also have breakfast as we did the next morning. Homemade flan-cake as smooth as silk. Went well with locally made maple syrup. Regular breakfast food is extremely flavorful, filling and priced exceptionally reasonable.
It was goodbye Thunder Bay and on to several more days and nights completing our scenic drive around Superior. Cannot say enough about the waterfalls and turnouts all the way around Superior. The names all too numerous to include in this memory. Make sure you don’t put off a driving trip of a lifetime …time goes by too fast!
Roland Eckel, Pemberville, OH