A Sunday Drive in Minnesota on the Southern North Shore Drive

We started our Sunday drive after a outdoor Ecumenical service at Silver Bay.  It was held in the same tent as the concert on Saturday night.  It rained during the service but we were all safe, even though it was announced that high winds might come our way.  Thank goodness, it remained calm although a bit wet went we left.

We drove straight to Split Rock Lighthouse about 35 miles south on highway 61.  We watched the historical film, took the guided tour and then roamed the Lighthouse Keeper’s home, climbed the Lighthouse stairs all the way up to the top (it isn’t very far), and walked the grounds and shoreline.

It is a well-kept site and a lot to see and appreciate.  The staff was dressed in period clothing and answered many questions as we roamed.  The Lighthouse Keeper’s and his assistants jobs were really extensive and important; they cleaned the mirrors on the lenses, kept the lamps glowing and had the horn in full preparation at all times.

Three homes were built on site, one for the keeper and assistant and one for the fog horn blower.  The homes were well built with a basement for a wood fired boiler to heat the house.  They were all two stories with a full indoor bathroom including a claw foot tub. Three bedrooms on the upper, and a formal living (parlor) and dining room along with a kitchen and what I might call a multi-use room that was furnished with a desk and a sewing nook. I would consider it the family room!  One of the houses is open for tours, the others are living quarters and still homes for staff.  Someone was actually mowing their lawn while we were visiting.

We viewed the photos of the terrible accidents during a November storm where 14 boats and many their crew were lost to the rocks along the shoreline.  After the lighthouse was built, no boats were lost again!  It saved many lives and countless dollars in iron ore and other goods.

There were stories of tragedy and heroism, none-the-less, the loss of life was sad.

It is a beautiful setting still and due to the shoreline breeze across the cold Lake Superior, it was cold in July.  Our guide said that it is not unusual to have the wood stoves burning to warm the facilities in August due to the cold shoreline.  Lake Superior is ‘deep and wide’!

When the lighthouse was built, it was only accessible by water, then trains and much later a road was built to accommodate the automobile.

Our next stop was Gooseberry Falls.  This state park was awesome. It has a huge fall in three sections; Middle, Lower and Upper Falls.  We walked to each of them on a sprawling trail with wooden bridges and wonderful views.

Minnesota does a fine job with their state parks making the beautiful natural settings available to the public.  Gooseberry was busy with picnickers, hikers, families with children scampering about and there was even an outdoor wedding going on at the same time.

From Gooseberry and all of that walking, it was time for us to eat.  Betty’s Pies has a widespread reputation for good food and of course it is famous for their pies.  Many folks just come for the pies, buy the pie by the piece or buy the whole pie!

We had lunch and desert.  I chose the Pasty (pronounced pace-tee).  It is like a pot pie in a tart shell filled with beef or chicken, potato, rutabaga, carrots, etc., and a bowl of gravy on the side.  For our dessert, I chose the warmed Bumble berry pie ala mode and Phil had his favorite Coconut.  We left Betty’s with happy tummies.

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