We are thankful for you, our customers and we are inviting all to enjoy 20% store wide savings* Monday November 25 thru Sunday December 1, 2013. The 20% discount is for all regularly priced items but we’re not stopping there–when you step up to the cash register, dip into the bowl and pick out your extra present. You can get a coupon for an additional discount off of one item (even sale items). The additional discount can be anywhere from 5% – 35% off. Or you may get one of the fabulous gifts that our elves have been busy gathering. Here’s a little preview of what the elves are offering:
- 1 liter Nalgenes with our logo
- ¾ liter dukjugs with our logo
- $5 and $10 gift cards to Stone Harbor
- Bungee Deelee Bobs
- B.T.McElrath chocolate bars
- Honey Stinger waffle treats
- Teko socks
- Bridgedale socks
- Stone Harbor logo tees
- Contigo Extreme Vacuum mug
- Contigo West Loop mug
- Kavu beer candy
- Grabber hand warmers
- Grabber tow warmers
*Gift cards are excluded from the 20% discount but mail orders are not. You must be present in the store to receive the additional discount or gift from the gift bowl.
Thank you for shopping at Stone Harbor. We hope to see you here Grand Marais soon.
It seems like yesterday we purchased the resort. We took possession on Sept 14, 2001, only 3 days after 9-11. The boys were 1.5 years and 3 years old. We had the world and eternity ahead of us.
Now, into our 13th season, the boys have grown, along with manyof our guests children and grandchildren. It’s been a wonder to watch them all enjoy, experience, care for and learn from the wilderness that surrounds us.
We’ve made countless repairs, improvements and done seemingly endless maintenance but it feels as though we have not made a dent on our neverending resort wishlist. Yet when we sit down and compare what we’ve accomplished to what we want to do, have time to do and money to do – we realize we have done quite well.
We’ve met many people – made many friends, helped many strangers and helped countless people relax and enjoy the woods, nature and create wonderful family memories. Yet in this business you cannot please everyone. Occassionally I hear that we have not met the expectations of a guest. It affects me greatly. It’s even harder when the guest doesn’t talk to us about it. Nonetheless we attempt to learn from it, continue to try our hardest and stretch the money and our time and resources as far as possible.
By far one of the hardest elements of our this particular business is heartbreak. Because we are a small mom/pop operation, we often get to know our guests pretty well. Because the resort it our home we also have come to love our neighbors – whether they visit in the summer or live her year round. We both volunteer as EMS on the local fire department and have at times been called to assist Gunflint Trail Visitors, and heaven forbid a local resident when they are sick or injured. As time passes we hear of their ailments, battles and losses. I’m sure I’m just aging and everyone goes through this feeling as we begin to age.
Today I was reminded of how time passes seemingly unnoticed until something brings it back to our attention. Another long time resident of the Gunflint Lake area passed today – Eleanor Matsis. A lady near and dear to my heart who I can only add to a list of memories of wonderful people I’ve had the opportunity to know.
So at this season of Thanksgiving Season I want to take a moment to thank all of you – friends, relatives, guests, neighbors, visitors, aquaintances and even the unhappy guests. I have learned from you all and promise to continue to strive to become a better person because of the good the bad and the ugly experiences you have helped me live.
If you stop by the resort sometime – check-out the photograph of ” Gunflint Raspberries” hanging in the resort bathroom. It was given to me this past spring by a friend who now owns Eleanor’s cabin here on Gunflint. I was thrilled to get it and be able to share a piece of her passion and history. She loved the Gunflint Trail and all it had to offer.
Rest in Peace Eleanor - I will remember you!
Another 4-5 inches of snow fell last night. This was on top of what we had before. Hopefully the Banadad will be open earlier this year then the last few years. Think more Snow!
Blog post by Maren Webb, Assistant Coordinator of the Moving Matters Project, at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais, MN.
While the North Shore will always be known for its natural beauty, it is also known for its opportunities for adventure. These days, one of the fun, adventurous ways to experience Cook County is on two wheels. Whether you are a serious bicyclist or a casual rider, there’s something to do and see on a bicycle in Cook County.
For you lovers of mountain biking, there are two great locations for singletrack mountain bike trails in Cook County, Britton Peak near Tofte and Pincushion Mountain near Grand Marais. Singletrack trails are narrow mountain bike trails that are approximately the width of the bike, offering an adventurous ride in our beautiful northwoods. There are also two races, the Lutsen 99er in June and the Sawtooth Mountain Bike Challenge in September, for a little competition during your visit. Fun to ride in or watch!
For more casual riders, the Gitchi Gami State Trail has several completed sections in Cook County, from Schroeder to Tofte (3 miles), from Tofte towards Lutsen (5.8 miles), and through Grand Marais (1.5 miles). This paved, non-motorized trail is great for walkers and bikers of all ages and abilities. Grand Marais has also been recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, with its local bike shop (great for rentals!), bike trail, and bike lanes downtown. Check out the Grand Marais Walking and Biking Routes Map for more route ideas, or use a bicycle as your transportation around town. By parking your car and experiencing Grand Marais on two wheels, you’ll see more of our lively and artistic small town.
And more is yet to come! A new section of the Gitchi Gami Trail, between Grand Marais and Cascade River State Park, is in the works. There is also a new project, called Moving Matters, which is working to make Cook County safer and more accessible for biking and walking. With funding from the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Moving Matters is making bicyclists and pedestrians a priority through policy change.
On your next visit to the North Shore, be sure to bring or rent a bike, so you can experience it all from two wheels.
This past week members of the Banadad Trail Association, the North Star Ski Touring Club and other friends of the Banadad spend Saturday working on the West End clearing the first mile of trail within the BWCA and along the new reroute. Among their other accomplishment was erecting a new Kiosk at the at the new West End trail head (see video http://youtu.be/iIPCxeJbHMk).
Prior to the Saturday Work Day, a four person crew lead by Tom Rice hiked the eight miles western end of the Banadad removing the down trees they came to along the way.
It’s slower than snails, but we have portable internet at the cabin! When I started working from home last fall, our only internet at the rental house was the 3G on my cell phone or I’d have to head down to the gym. That was fine until Mark was laid off for the winter and was spending time at the gym and we both needed to be on-line at the same time. I went for the MiFi Jetpack portable wifi, as if I wanted to spend the day at the beach and work, I could! (I have yet to do that, sigh). While getting a new cover for my phone at Radio Shack the other day, I asked if the MiFi would would with an external antennae and was surprised when Denise said “yes”! Thankfully I had purchased mine last year as the new ones do not have the antennae plug in! While we only get one bar of signal which makes the internet connection S-L-O-W, we have it! I tried to get our cell booster to work with it yesterday without any luck. We can’t find the right wall plug-in for it, but have one for an old electric razor that gave it power, but still didn’t add any extra “oomph” to the service. I’m going to bring it into town and see if I can get the right charger and see if it works at the rental. We don’t get the best signal at the rental house either so we’ll try it there. If I can get a faster, more reliable connection out here, I may just come out more often to work!
Now to get the gym sold so I don’t have to be there every day…
I’m down to my last couple days working here in Grand Marais and on the Gunflint Ranger District………it has been quite a ride here. For those of you who are wondering, I started in Grand Marais in August of 2001 and I’ll be leaving here in a couple days so that makes it pretty much eleven years on the nose that I’ve been here……and my time here has been pretty much spectacular.
The thing about that is, I can’t take a lot of credit, there have been so many people working with me that have really done the work. We have some outstanding employees here in our office and they keep charging forward to help us meet our budget commitments. And then they do more to help us within the community.
Much of our forest is about 100 years old and you’ve noticed the older trees are dying. The Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway committee, the biologists from the State and the Tribes, the County Biomass Committee, the timber industry and several local landowners have worked with us to find ways to restore our forests to a healthier state. One of the facts I learned last Friday is that on the Gunflint District during my time here, we have planted 2.1 million trees, a combination of white, red and jack pine, white spruce, cedar and tamarack will be the next forest we all enjoy.
Speaking of new forests, we have had around 800 volunteers planting and caring for trees during Gunflint Greenup. We have had our challenges, but this community doesn’t say quit. After Ham Lake Fire, there were plenty of reasons for despair, we all could have slumped back to drown our sorrows but another choice was made, a choice to clean up and create a new forest. The Scenic Byway Committee wrote and received a $250,000 grant for the purposes of forest restoration. With that we cleaned up some of the dead trees along the Gunflint, prepared some areas for planting, planted seedlings and seeded jack pine. As you drive up the Gunflint, you can start to see the next generation of forest and it will have a healthy component of pine trees.
Of course Ham Lake was only one of five major fires we had during my time here…..or should I say five major wildfires. If you look back at the blowdown of 1999, no small event, there have been a number of opportunities for us to get together and find reasons to succeed. For several years we got together and worked on prescribed fire, I think totaling about 40,000 acres worth. I’m sure that for many of you it may have seemed like we were coming in heavy handed to get these things done. However from my point of view we worked with a lot of businesses up the Trail and I got to work with a lot of great people. Without you, our work would have been a real challenge, but with you, we accomplished quite a bit.
Then the real fires started. Alpine Lake, Cavity Lake, Redeye Lake, Famine Lake………and then Ham Lake, the most destructive fire in our forest’s history. There were homes, businesses, garages and out building lost, 148 between the US and Canada, but “WE” survived……and through working together have grown stronger because of it. I mentioned Gunflint Greenup, but there is also the Chik Wauk Museum and Nature Center, and our venture with Becoming a Boundary Waters Family. Three great partnerships working together for the good of our forest.
Then there was that peculiar change of events. Toward the end of 2007, we were “as dry as we have seen it up here”…..until September when the rain started. I remember someone telling me their lake went up 14 inches with one storm. Who would have thought that next we would have eight inches in two hours on June 6, 2008? I’m not sure how wide spread that rain was, but it sure was on the slopes above Grand Marais………..and water still flows downhill…….and that much water REALLY flows downhill……really fast….and will move heaven and earth………or at least a lot of earth.
But again, we found a way to work together and I could even find one bright spot in all that. Some of you know that I bike to work, at least on the nicer days. Well for much of the rest of the summer, I had a lane on the hill going down the Gunflint pretty much to myself…….or at least that part of the lane that didn’t wash away. Once it was fixed, I again was sharing the road and waving to friends as they passed me.
Friends……..I’d somehow like to acknowledge all the friends I’ve made up here and all I’ve worked with…….. or maybe I should say all of you who put up with me……….but I know if I tried, I’d forget someone and all of you are important. So I’ll generalize a bit and hope you all know how special you’ve made my time here. Before I arrived, I met and was working with Sheriff Dave Wirt and that only got better after I settled in. When he retired in early 2005 and Sheriff Mark Falk took over, we continued that great working relationship. I wondered a few times if Sheriff Dave knew what 2005 would bring with Alpine Lake fire and the beginning of our large fires? Talk about a new Sheriff being baptized by fire……..and the start of a great working relationship!!! Then there are the rest of the office, the deputies and dispatch people I got to know……it has been great!!
Within the Cook County Board of Commissioners there have been a few changes since I arrived. I believe Jan Hall is the only commissioner who has been on the board throughout my tenure here. I have gotten to work with nearly all the commissioners on one project or another and I truly appreciate all that we have done together.
Though maybe not as visible, I have had the pleasure of working with Grand Portage on several issues. Norman DesChampe has been the Chairman throughout my tenure and with his staff we have struck an outstanding working relationship. Norman is one of the great leaders within the Minnesota Chippewa Tribes and I can only think how lucky I’ve been to know and work with him.
I’ve mentioned the support and help we’ve gotten from businesses in the County and that has been nothing short of amazing. There is just no way we could achieve what we do without the support and help from all of you. As strange as it might seem, much of our wildlife habitat management and our fuels reduction goals are accomplished through the timber industry and logging. Most everyone knows Hedstroms and we are very lucky to have them in our back yard, but there are also so many others working in the woods to help us do what we think is right for our forests. As I think about it, the eagle and wolf populations have been successfully restored, and we’re working on the lynx. Our next challenge is likely moose and we’ll keep working with the tribes and DNR to do what we can for that species.
A special relationship we have is with the outfitters, guides and hospitality businesses who help us manage the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as well as our campgrounds. Special because we need those people to help us succeed, but sometimes the policies that come from our upper levels can …………well……..add a little stress. And I am humbled by how patient my business friends can be to find a way to keep going………I think it’s patience…….? But I do know how much I appreciate what they do for us.
Since the volunteer fire departments are………well………volunteer, I’m pretty much talking about many of the same people who work in businesses or other agencies. But the relationship is different when you’re working side by side. Now we meet, train and work together to help all of our friends in Cook County…….as it should be.
The other agencies are many, from the City of Grand Marais to the County, the State, Grand Portage and even Canada. I’ve said this in different meetings, but the way you have all come together during our natural disasters is a model for the nation. Several of the people who have come here to help with those disasters have commented on how they are used to having to bring communities together when they come to help. But in our community ………….well the leaders here pretty much had their acts together and the incoming teams were in awe of what they saw….doesn’t get much better than that!!
There have been a few other adventures that we have worked on together, a snowmobile trail connection with Grand Portage, some other trail reroutes, a county wide ATV plan (which after all the debate, we’ve finally implemented), some work in our campgrounds, a few miles of hiking trail work, biking trails, a few hundred acres of fuels reduction along with a variety of small projects, too many to name, where I’ve had the chance to work with so many citizens of Cook County where I owe you all so much and thank you so much for your help.
The one disappointment I have is that I have to this point been unable to bring a solution for access to South Fowl Lake. As I leave I know I have some co-workers back here who’ll help see that through the final steps. My disappointment extends to the fact that though this really is a fairly small project, I was unable to bring people together for a resolution. We are cleaning up a few details that will support my decision and the final proposal before it is submitted it to the Court.
So as I prepare my next adventure, I leave here grateful for all those who’ve chosen to work with me, grateful to be a part of a resilient community, grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. But mostly grateful for the friends that have welcomed my family and me to be a part of Cook County!
The loon parents are very proud and fairly loud about their new babies. They’ve been feeding and bragging in the bay over the last few days. The chicks are pretty big already and can dive on their own so this is not a fresh hatch.
The photo is not very sharp but you get the idea. We have a pro photographer with a super lens staying here right now so I imagine we’ll get some better shots quickly.
It’s windy and dry but fairly close to another perfect day in a long string of perfect days this summer.
Just had some folks arrive from the Twin Cities. They said they actually made it through Duluth without much difficulty, though on surface streets up the hill a ways. Hwy 35 is still a mess.
They said the rivers along the shore were spectacular. That was what slowed them down.
You can get here.