Spring At North House Folk School

Learn Something New

Learn a true traditional Northern craft this Spring. The North House Folk School in Grand Marais is leading the way with courses offered in birding by ear: mid-migration, market basket weaving and build your own fishing rod to name a few. Check out the North House Calendar

FYI, Students Save 10% on Lodging at East Bay Suites!

Courses You May Want To Consider

Black Ash Market Basket – Instructors: Kerry Lamberston & April Stone


The market basket will take you many places: from the market to the beach, from picnics to grocery stores.

3-Day Course: Fri, May 17th, 2019  –  Sun, May 19th, 2019 – 9am-5pm

 SPACE AVAILABLE


Design Your Own Small House – Instructor: Mark Hansen

If you have ever dreamed of building your own small home, shop, sauna, studio, or cabin, this course is for you.

2-Day Course: Sat, May 4th, 2019  –  Sun, May 5th, 2019

 SPACE AVAILABLE


Crafting the Throwing Axe – Instructor: Cody Myers

Popularized today by many historical reenactors of the fur trade era, the throwing axe is a weapon that is deeply embedded in North American history.

4-Day Course: Thu, Apr 18th, 2019  –  Sun, Apr 21st, 2019

 SPACE AVAILABLE

Black Ash Pack Baskets – Instructor: Ian Andrus

The black ash pack basket: it’s beautiful, highly functional and can be made using simple materials.

3-Day Course: Fri, Jul 26th, 2019  –  Sun, Jul 28th, 2019

 JOIN WAIT LIST


Build Your Own Fishing Pole – Instructor: Kris Kristufek


There’s that old saying about teaching a man to fish, but this course lets students go a step beyond fishing to building their own fishing rods.

2.5 Day Course: Fri, Apr 26th, 2019  –  Sun, Apr 28th, 2019

 ALMOST FULL

8 Minute Walk to the Folk School from East Bay Suites


Girls Getaway in Grand Marais

FRIDAY

Poplar RiverFirst stop: Waterfalls.

Half of the fun of coming up to Grand Marais for the weekend is the drive up. The drive along the North Shore is gorgeous and there are plenty of places that you won’t want to miss on your way up. One being, the waterfalls. There are more than a dozen waterfalls that you can stop to see along the way. This article about waterfalls near Grand Marais and also includes a map of the others you can hit along the way. Bonus – they’ll serve as the perfect backdrop for a picture with your besties! Trust me, your Instagram feeds will thank you.Read more


Winter Fat Biking

Winter Fat Biking at its Finest

Fat biking in Grand Marais is a great way to shake your winter-time blues. And if you haven’t felt giddiness since you were a kid – try riding a fat tire bike for the first time (you’re guaranteed to giggle at least once).

Beating the Winter Blues

  • Keep Active
  • Get Outside
  • Keep Warm – that won’t be a problem!
  • See the Light

While the thought of bundling up to head outside for a winter bike ride may not sound appealing to many, it’s actually a lot of fun. You get to be outside and go way off the beaten path to experience nature’s wintry glory. Don’t wait until spring to arrive, head north to Grand Marais for stunningly blue vistas and shimmering snow-covered woods. Plunge into all that mood-lifting whiteness!

“Fat biking is suitable for all level of riders and a bucket-list worthy activity for any curious adventurer.” – Jay, Fireweed Bike Co-op


Staying Warm

Unlike traditional mountain bikes, fat bikes are built for stability not speed with wide tires keeping you afloat on the snowy or rocky terrain. Therefore, making for more of a leisure and active ride that is sure to keep your blood pumping. For that reason, even on the coldest of days, overheating is more of a concern than being cold. Nevertheless, you still have to dress for the weather and here are a few basic tips.

Dress in layers – wool or synthetic base layers + outer wind stopping layer. *DO NOT WEAR COTTON!

2 pairs of gloves – thin liner glove + larger mitten will come in handy 😉

Headgear – Helmets are a no brainer of course, but we also recommend a thin hat with a neck gator to block the wind. On cold days you might want goggles.

Footwear – thick warm breathable socks + low profile winter boots. For cold days add some toe warms – less than $2, find them at Stone Harbor or Lake Superior Trading Post both within walking distance of East Bay Suites.


Biking Around Town

Downtown Grand Marais isn’t all that big, so ditch the car at East Bay and explore this quiet little fishing town by bike!

First Stop – Artist Point

Possibly the best place to catch an amazing sunrise or sunset in town is right here! Take a morning bike ride along the shoreline or take the road leading up to the Coast Gaurd Station. From there you’re on your own because there are no wrong turns. To the left, you have wood trails that are hard packed from hikers to explore and to the right, you have either a frozen bay or break wall to get the adrenaline pumping.  Artist Point is beautiful and drastically different in all seasons – you must visit often! 


Second Stop – Shops

There is a wide variety of shopping opportunities that are truly unique in Grand Marais. You won’t find any malls or big-box stores here. Instead, you’ll find unhurried shopping for just about every taste. You’ll find everything from general stores, wilderness supply stores, bike shops, outfitters to specialized boutique stores for just dogs. We suggest bringing home a memory of your visit.


Third Stop – Lunch

You can’t go wrong with either The Gunflint Tavern or Voyageur Brewing if you’re looking for a crafty experience. If you still want to explore and ride a bit further before lunch, The Wunderbar Eatery &Glampground is a perfect destination. Amazing food and the perfect atmosphere if you want to feel like a local – exactly 1-mile from East Bay Suites back on Hwy 61.

Biking the Trails

Pincushion Mountian Trails  – See the map


Jay and friends from Fireweed Bike Coop are the local volunteer grooming crew that maintain these trails and they do a fine job! Roughly 5 miles of pure fat enjoyment. These trails wind through deep forest with an occasional surprise view of the great lake they call Gitche Gumee.

Trail Difficulty – The trails are very well groomed, making for an easy ride. Step off the path and you quickly remember how much snowfall Grand Marais has been hit with this winter. The only true difficulty most people have here is holding back a smile or childish giggle. If you like riding single track on hard snow-paved trails then this one is for you.

Trail Notes – The Talus Trail is a fun downhill ride for the most part.  You’ll go through some rolling hills right before you pass over the creek to connect with The Fluvial Trail. From there it’s best to work counter-clockwise around Fluvial so you end the loop going downhill.


Norpine Trail – See the map

This is a shared-use trail with XC skiers that stretches from Lutsen Mountains to Cascade State Park. A 12-mile out & back route that will ease the mind. This is a good trail for beginners because the trails are wide so you don’t have to worry about hitting anything.

Trail Difficulty – Beginner to Intermediate. Grandpa should do just fine if you pick out sections of the trail and not commit to the whole 12-miles. The trail is wide and mostly downhill if you head the right direction.

Trail Notes – This is a super fun trail to pick up some speed and cruise through the woods. Less turns as Pincushion but more rolling hills to keep you entertained. Be sure to slow down around corners and when approaching xc skiers; they’re not to keen on the idea of sharing their trails as this is a new concept.


Spring Run

Fly Fishing in Grand Marais

Spring fly fishing on the north shore is arguably the best time of year to target Lake Superior's trout and salmon species. Experienced fisherman and fly fishing guide James Eagan of Stone Harbor provides his insights into fishing in and around Grand Marais, Minnesota during the Spring Run.

Read more


Day Trip to Grand Portage

Pigeon River High Falls

One short day trip starting at East Bay Suites in Grand Marais can take you a long way into the past.

Grand Portage is about 40 miles from Grand Marais. After Grand Marais, there are few shops and no gas stations until you reach Grand Portage. At some point, you will cross into Grand Portage Reservation.

The original inhabitants of this area have kept this northeastern tip of Minnesota largely undeveloped as the ruggedly beautiful wilderness it is. The topography of this last portion of the US North Shore is particularly scenic.

Grand Portage National Monument is a spectacular look into the history of the area. It consists of the Heritage Center which is open year-round and the Historic Depot which is open from June 4 to October 10.

Grand Portage National Monument by Mark Goebel
Vegetable garden at the Grand Portage National Monument by Mark Goebel.

The Heritage Center has displays related to life here before and after the fur traders arrived. Watching the center’s film is worth the trip alone.

You sit in a room overlooking the cool blueness of the lake. Then panels slide over the windows, leaving the room in darkness.

Then you see an image of the lake’s crashing waves appear and a man’s voice comes in. The narrator starts by talking about how his people enjoyed this lake long ago.

He says, for the most part, the natives got along well with the Frenchmen who were interested in trading more than settlement. This area became a major fur trading post with goods flowing between here and Europe.

The film is authentic and has many native and non-native actors setting the mood for the times while telling the story. The film ends telling how the fur trading here stopped when the US took over. It tells how the reservation seeks to preserve its identity as a sovereign nation while also being part of America.

If it is summer, you can get a good view of the historic depot after viewing the film. This building was modeled after the original depot on the spot the old fur trading post was. From the dock on the pristine bay, you can look up at the post, surrounded by a country that has changed little from the fur trading days. From a dock on this spot, people would unload boats with supplies and load boats with furs.

Outside the buildings with their historical demonstrations is the 8.5-mile trail that gave Grand Portage its name. Fur traders had to carry supplies up and furs down the trail to bypass the falls and rapids in the Pigeon River and connect with a vast network of lakes and rivers going deep into the interior.

A mile or so further up Highway 61 is what has to be one of the most spectacular lookouts on all of Minnesota’s North Shore. From up high you can see far across the lake. On one side is the high pointed peninsula cutting its way into the water. On the other side, a broader peninsula appears to have exploded and fragmented islands form stepping stones for giants going far into the water. People for hundreds if not thousands of years have been amazed by this site.
A few miles up the highway, at the very edge of Minnesota and the US, there is one last wonder. A paved accessible trail leads along the Pigeon River, right across from Canada.

At High Falls you will see one big reason the Grand Portage was necessary. At 120 feet, this is the highest waterfall in Minnesota. Here you can just throw a rock into Canada. This particular export is duty-free.

On Pigeon River there are more rapids and falls that would have required a portage but this is the biggest one. A further hike leads to Middle Falls. If you have your passport with you, you can visit this fall the easy way, by driving to it on the Canadian side. After all, borders are largely made up. This border would have meant nothing to those here a few centuries in the past.

Above the Falls by Sharon Mollerus
Chaos by Sharon Mollerus

Photos

Vegetable Garden at Grand Portage National Monument by Mark Goebel. Licensed under CC-BY-2.0.

Pigeon River High Falls, Above the Falls and Chaos by Sharon Molleros. Licensed under CC-BY-2.0.