I will attempt to finish up my trip to Minnesota in this article.
Ely, Minn., has a farmer’s market that sells items as diverse as the people who live there. There were many people there from Finland and the northern Europe. Their booths represented many areas of their lives such as handmade soaps, crafts, vegetables and home-baked goods. The ladies gave us a taste of their samples and that was all it took to have us looking in our purses to pay for more. We ate a confection there that we all loved and spent several minutes trying to figure it out to duplicate it when we got home. We never could quite figure it out, however.
After we left the Tuesday evening festivities in Ely, we headed back to our cabin on the lake. On the way, we were shown a huge eagle’s nest. We made note of it and decided we would check it out when we left the next day.
We enjoyed another night at the cabin and wished we had more time to listen to the Minnesota state bird, the loon. I had never heard a loon before and was intrigued by the sound. I purchased a pull toy that sounds identical to the loon’s warble. It was my husband’s gift, instead of the usual hat I would buy for him on a trip. I had to have that toy once I heard it. I have had so much fun reliving the sound of the loon each day. (I guess I bought it for me, too.)
Our last night in Ely, we sat out on the deck for a while and watched the beautiful sunset, then sat on the screened in porch until the sound of an animal close by scared us inside. A bear had been spotted at one of the cabin windows two nights previously. When one of us said, “What’s that?” No answer was given but the three of us tried to make a new door as we tried to get inside the cabin all at once. We found out we could still move pretty fast at 64 when we are scared. I still laugh when I remember it.
The next day, we checked out the eagle’s nest. When we were about to drive away thinking that we weren’t going to see one, a huge eagle flew in and within minutes two more followed. I got so excited, it was another great moment of our trip. We got some great pictures and even captured one with something in its mouth.
Then, before we said goodbye to Ely, we went to the National Wolf Center. We got to see two wolves up close that are being studied from birth. It was very interesting and informative. I learned things about wolves I never knew. Actually, I would be even more afraid of one when seen in the wild now.
After we left Ely, we went to Canada, crossing over from International Falls, Minn. We got through customs easily enough and went into the closest town, where we stopped at a lake with picnic tables to snack and take a break. We also stopped at a store much like our dollar store and looked around. Of course, as we went back through customs we were questioned about what we bought and how much we had spent. Canada did not get rich off of us. The closest large city would have been three more hours away and we decided to go back to the U.S. because we still had other places we wanted to visit.
We spent the night in Fargo, N.D., and I was able to add another state to my list. We arrived there both tired and hungry. We ate a really good meal and went to our room. We went to bed early knowing we had a long day ahead of us.
The next day we went to Park Rapids, Minn., where the mighty Mississippi River begins its 2,552 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. This is in Itasca State Park. This park includes 32,800 acres, and is a famous natural and cultural landmark in North America. It is the headwaters of the Mississippi River. We spent the night there in one of the cabins. It would be a great place for a family to spend a week there. The next morning we had breakfast at the historic Douglas Lodge. We got more food than we could eat, and even sampled their wild rice pancakes. Then we went to the headwaters of the Mississippi and we each took a turn walking across the slippery rocks over the Mississippi. I couldn’t resist and had to put my feet into the water down below the headwaters. This was definitely one of the biggest highlights of my life. I have seen the Mississippi in several states and to think I could actually walk across where it began was a thrill for me.
We left there and headed for the Mall of America, which is huge. We saw only about one tenth of the inside of it. We did see the amusement park inside. It is like being at the fair. I had to visit the Lego store so I could tell my grandson about it. To tell you that store was crowded would be putting it lightly. There were children being taught dancing classes just out in the open and it looked as if any child could have joined in.
From what I could see about the Mall of America, any store you have ever seen in any mall is in that mall. If you go, be prepared to drive around for a while to get a parking place. Finding a parking place was not an easy feat. After thinking we had a parking place and be ready to pull in, someone pulled in right in front of us. After about six or seven times, I had had enough. The next time we saw a group walking to their car, I asked them where they were, and told them to hold it for me. Just about the time we got around to pull in, sure enough, another car was going to get it, so I bravely got out and told the driver rather matter of factly, “THIS PARKING PLACE IS OURS!” Needless to say, we got the parking place. We did look to see if our tires were flat when we got back to leave.
We left there and stopped at Tomah, Wis. We had stopped at the very unique Humbird Cheese Store and
we wanted some more of their delicious cheese to bring home. A lady would stand and slice samples. Of course it took us a little longer than most to decide which ones we wanted, (on purpose).
It is the best cheese I have ever eaten. They had a type of beer cheese that was made out of Guinness beer and a type of cheddar. It was totally different than our beer cheese is in Winchester but is just as popular. It was also one of the most expensive per pound. We were lucky enough to find a small square and got the last of it.
Other patrons wanted some of that beer cheese and one even told us, “We wanted some but you all got the last.” My favorite cheese was a type of Humvarti. They added all kinds of different peppers in this one.
Everyone who got to sample some of the cheeses I brought home agreed they were delicious.
We stopped and ate at one of the food courts that is built over the road. I was surprised to see how large those things are on the inside and how many different places there are to eat. From the road below, it looks narrow but it is not that way at all.
Our trip was coming to an end. We arrived back in Winchester on Sunday morning around 12:30 a.m.
Margaret Karen, Deloris, and I are still friends and we all agreed it was a wonderful trip. We have many pictures and memories to never forget the trip or each other.