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Boreal Community Media

Minnesota Monthly features "The New Grand Marais"

Jun 29, 2019 07:38AM ● By Editor
The article describes "Grand Marais harbor is prime for strolling".  Photo:  Layne Kennedy.

From Boreal Community Media - June 29, 2019

In a major feature article in the July issue of Minnesota Monthly, reporter Reed Fischer describes "updated experiences on the North Shore get you glamping, staying in a boutique hotel, partying on the Gunflint, and more."

Fischer writes "we retreat to this region for spiritual exfoliation and artistic inspiration especially during fair summer weather, only to retreat when the choppy winds pick up and blow winter back into the harbor. (The advent of the snowmobile and the paving of the Gunflint Trail, both in the ’50s, have also stimulated winter pursuits.) It’s a Venn diagram overlapping the love of the outdoors, creativity, and characters."

Fisher quotes 
Linda Jurek, executive director of Visit Cook County, who says “When it comes to the Negative Nellies, I remind them that we are a tourist destination.  Our economy is probably 90 percent based upon our visitors.  We want to build it out with thoughtfulness. When you stand still, you become a desolate little town.”

Fischer profiles several new businesses, accommodations and attractions in a article laced with local business operator quotes and tantalizing photography.  Among the businesses featured, Fischer profiled:

Tre Søstre

Fishcher writes of the six buildings as a mix of ultra modern and ultra modest.  "The buildings can’t help but jut out of the landscape, but not in a bad way, and they embrace the concept of lagom, a Swedish word that means “not too little, not too much, just right," writes Fischer.

The Mayhew Inn

Fischer notes "The Inn’s identity, nodding to Grand Marais co-founder Henry Mayhew, was developed with Minneapolis creative agency Friends & Neighbors. An updated North Shore sensibility utilizes mod furniture, artfully tiled bathrooms, kitchenettes, and stylish common spaces."

Wunderbar Eatery & Glampground

Fischer describes the Wunderbar as "well-preserved vintage furnishings in Wunderbar’s lounge and bar churn up memories of past seasons’ glories. Fitting, then, that the five themed, retro campers aren’t on Airbnb or Vrbo."  He quotes owner Teri Downing as saying "We’re old-school; you have to call and talk to somebody. Everybody gets to talk to somebody about their needs and how can we fulfill them.”

Poplar Haus

Writing about the new destination on the Gunflint Trail, Fischer describes Poplar Haus this way "Though it’s about 30 miles from downtown, Poplar Haus has both a Grand Marais address and spirit. Its gutted and remodeled restaurant and bar, with a sizable deck overlooking Poplar Lake, add to the rewards of heading up on the Gunflint."

While the focus of the article is on newer attractions, Fischer acknowledges the venerable attractions which continue to draw visitors back year after year.  "Standbys like North House Folk School, World’s Best Donuts, the Java Moose coffee shop, the Crooked Spoon restaurant, Cook County Whole Foods Co-op (no ties to the Amazon-owned chain), and Sven and Ole’s pizza are still figureheads. And the Fisherman’s Picnic and the Fourth of July still bring in the masses."

However Fischer continues "But newer businesses, like the chic Upstate MN gift shop, Voyageur Brewing Company, and Hungry Hippie Tacos, reflect the demands of visitors who have never eaten a fish burger, taken a canoe-building class, visited a Cook County art museum, or strapped on a camping backpack. (You can bet that many eventually will.)"

You can read the original article on the Minnesota Monthly website by following this link.

The Minnesota Monthly magazine is on sale at newsstands across the state.