Thursday, August 2, 2007

Home Sweet Home

We've returned from our mini-vacation to the North Shore along Lake Superior. It is so gorgeous up there, just state park after state park and so many waterfalls I couldn't even tell you how many we saw. The photographs are all in my husband's camera so hopefully he'll load those online one of these days and I'll be able to share the amazing scenery.

We are not originally from Minnesota, we've lived here since 1999. There is a big tradition in Minnesota of vacationing 'up north' and of spending summer weekends 'at the cabin'. We had always wondered what all the fuss was about, so we traveled to Duluth and along the North Shore for the first time last summer and were pleasantly surprised enough to return this year and travel further north. I had particularly wanted to visit Grand Marais.

Grand Marais is a little village with a beautiful pebble beach and a well established artist's colony. We ate at a well-known restaurant there, The Angry Trout Cafe which is known for their local menu and the sustainable way they run their business. It is truly amazing to see how committed they are to this way of life and it shows in every aspect of the restaurant. Not only that, but the food is wonderful. I was tempted to buy their cookbook, but decided to see if I could borrow it from the library (I can!).

We visited a tiny bookstore in Grand Marais, Drury Lane Books. I was really impressed with their small but well chosen selection. In particular, I was happy to note that they actually had 2 Virago Modern Classics on their shelves including Elizabeth Taylor's Mrs Palfrey at the Clermont and another by Elizabeth Von Arnim. I own both already, but was very surprised to see these at a little shop in Northern Minnesota. The bookstore puts out a newsletter which included what books the local book groups are reading. I love that! Here are the books we purchased.

I was not planning on buying anything but could not resist My Lady Ludlow by Mrs Gaskell. I have never heard of this before, and again, what are the chances I would come across it in northern Minnesota. The preface states that it was published in installments from June to September 1858 in Dicken's Household Words. Has anyone read this one?

I have just been heartsick since learning of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis yesterday evening. This bridge is about 10 miles from my house and it is just devastating to see a disaster in your hometown. It really started to sink in when friends and family began calling and emailing us to make sure we were fine. Things like this tend to remind me how fragile everything is; cities, bridges, and life itself.


Gentle Reader said...

I haven't read My Lady Ludlow, but I love Elizabeth Gaskell--enjoy! And my heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones in the bridge collapse. What a tragedy.

Jill ONeill said...

Glad to know that you're safe. I haven't read My Lady Ludlow either, so you'll have an eager audience waiting for your feedback on it!

Carrie K said...

Life is far too fragile.

I hadn't even heard of My Lady Ludlow, books turn up in the oddest places!

Robin said...

I'm looking forward to seeing the photos from your trip. That's an area my husband and I have been wanting to visit. I'm going to share your post with him.
What a sad happening, especially for all in the Minneapolis area, but for all of us, too. I'm glad you and your loved ones are safe.

Cornflower said...

Tara, I thought of you straightaway when I saw those awful pictures. So glad to know you're all safe and that you've had what sounds like a lovely trip.

Tara said...

Gentle reader, I also love Elizabeth Gaskell. It is a great tragedy, and eye opening in terms of American infrastructure.

Jill, thanks. It's so interesting that none of us have heard of this book.

Carrie, I agree, I never would have thought I'd come across something like this in MN.

Robin, Thank you. It's a beautiful area, the North Shore. There is really something for everyone there, and plenty to see and do. The information center in Duluth had a lot of great planning information if you're thinking of going.

Karen, thank you for you kind words.

Iliana said...

That sounds like a perfect little bookstore - they even have a newsletter! Do you have any pics from your trip?
I've been watching the news to get the latest on the bridge collapse. It's just awful.

Tara said...

Bookgirl, all the photos are in my husband's new camera which I am barely allowed to touch =) - also he's out of town so I have to wait for him to load them, then I'll post them.

Cath said...

A friend of mine from Ohio goes to Duluth quite often and knows the bookshop you mention very well. It's a very small world.

Tara said...

Wow, Cath, it is a small world! I love coincidences like this.