September 2018 Circle Tour

We started September 7th in Duluth and circled counter clockwise. We had been to Bayfield and Ashland before, so we decided to skip them this time and head directly into Michigan.

Highlights in Michigan: Cold Iron Brewery in Ironwood. Of the breweries we stopped at during our tour, these guys were the best. Also, we recommend eating at Don & GG’s, which offers both vegetarian and vegan options; hiking the Presque Isle River loop in the Porkies; exploring the beach area at the Mary MacDonald Preserve near Copper Harbor; views from the Brockway Mountain Drive on the Keweenaw peninsula. We were a little nervous as the road is often described as steep, but our Prius handled it with no problems.  We enjoyed the hike to Mosquito Falls in Pictured Rocks.  Eat at Fresh Coast Cafe in Paradise. Their sandwiches are delicious. At the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, luck was with us, and we visited the Soo Locks right as a ship was passing through. There’s a viewing platform where you can watch, and we were able to nab one of the last remaining spots on the top level. It took about a hour to watch. While it sounds like it might be a bit boring, we were enthralled the whole time. Check out the 1668 Winery in Sault Ste Marie. They have wines for both dry and sweet fans, and the food was great too.

Highlights in Ontario: Agawa Rock Pictographs hike in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Here, it would be nice if people took turns but unfortunately, they don’t. Expect other groups to show up right behind you — this freaked us out trying to pass them on the way back. In town, we saw a bear cross the road in Wawa.  Other highlights were Aguasabon Falls in Terrace Bay. lookout and Point Trail in Neys Provincial Park and La Luna Cafe in Nipigon. (Another great place to stop to eat if you’re vegetarian) Sleeping Giant brewery in Thunder Bay was our second favorite on this trip. Very nice tap room, and the chai stout they had on tap was amazing.  We discovered pieces of Canadian history by participating in the Ontario Heritage Hide’n’Seek Geotour, though a couple of them did give us some trouble.

Highlights in Minnesota: The Devil’s Kettle at Judge Magney State park near Grand Marais, Hughie’s Taco House and Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais, hiking in Cascade River State Park, Canal Park in Duluth, specifically Hepzibah’s Sweet Shoppe.

Recommendations/tips: From Marquette to Munising, we had decided to take the alternate route (94) instead of 28, in order to stop at a couple of waterfalls. We would not recommend it. Laughing Whitefish Falls requires you to self-register and pay a fee, and Autrain Falls was largely obscured by the trees and has a large pipe running over it. In Ontario, the provincial parks are largely unmanned after Labor Day. That means you’ll have to self-register at each park. The one and two hour passes are not available, nor is the multi-park pass, not that you’ll have many other options, but if you find yourself eating at the Drifters Restaurant in Terrace Bay, pay close attention to prices. The food was fine, but they are ridiculously overpriced. From Paradise to Sault Ste. Marie, we took Lake Superior Shoreline Road. It’s closer to the lake, but slower and only two lanes. If we did this again, we’d skip it and take 28 instead. The route isn’t particularly scenic and we didn’t spend more than 10 minutes at Point Iroquois Lighthouse.

Chris and Michelle, Eagan, MN