Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Sightseeing Along Minnesota's North Shore

Last week I started a new travel series of Wisconsin and Minnesota's Scenic North Shore.  On day one we took a boat tour of the Apostle Islands.  If you missed that post, you can see it HERE.  On day two, we traveled along the North Shore and stopped at so many interesting places that I have too many photos to cover it all in one post, so I am dividing day two into two, maybe three, separate posts.

The Duluth Rose Garden (Leif Erikson Park)

On day two, we woke up in Duluth and had a wonderful breakfast in our hotel.  Our plan was to head out of town toward our next hotel for the night driving along the scenic North Shore enjoying all the sights along the way.  But before we left Duluth, I wanted to stop and enjoy the Rose Garden.  I had been here before (read more about it in this post HERE), but being the flower lover I am, I had to see it again.

It was such a beautiful, peaceful morning.  The perfect morning to stroll through a garden.

The garden sits high above Lake Superior, so you not only have gorgeous floral views, but the beautiful background of the crystal blue lake.  And did you notice the famous Lift Bridge in the background?  I talked about that bridge in last week's post, and even included a video showing how it operates.

The garden has stunning architectural elements.

My favorite is the stone and iron gazebo.

There's a lovely brick walking  path all along the edge of the garden.

Two Harbors (Paul Van Hoven Park)

We continued enjoying views of Lake Superior as we drove along Highway 61.  Within 32 minutes we had our first stop at Two Harbors, Minnesota.

It was still quite early in the morning, and the shops in downtown Two Harbors were all closed, but we saw an old train station down by the lake, and decided to take a look-see.  They had an old train set up for viewing. 

And this is the old train station which is now a museum.  It was built in 1907 and is listed on the Historic Register of Historic Places.  It was the former home of the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad.  It served as a functional station for both passengers and freight until 1961.

Next we stopped at Paul Van Houven park, which is just a short walk from the train station.  They had the cutest vintage tugboats on display but it is here where you get a close up views of the iron ore docs where ships come in and get filled up with iron ore for transport.  There is a viewing area with lots of information explaining how the ore is dumped into the ships. 

Here is one ship docked and ready to be filled with iron ore.

From Paul Van Hoven Park there is a trail you can take to this pier and the Two Harbors Lighthouse, if you're up for a walk.  But you can also just get back in your car and drive the short distance to the lighthouse parking lot.  Here you can walk on this gorgeous, sturdy pier.  I couldn't believe how far out into the lake it goes!  I honestly started to feel vertigo, and had to turn around and walk back when I was about half way out.

There another iron ore ship in the background.

Near the pier is a pretty walking path that takes you through a field of yellow yarrow and onto a rocky beach where you get views like these: 

Aren't these wildflowers stunning?  If I could get wildflowers like these growing in my yard, I would grow wildflowers.  But my gardens would just turn into weeds and not beautiful flowers like this.  I don't know how they do it.

This is the Two Harbors Lighthouse.  It is open for tours during the tourist season, but we were there after Labor Day so it was closed.  We did see another lighthouse that was open later in the afternoon, so it didn't matter to us.  I will share that lighthouse tour in next week's post.

The Two Harbors Lighthouse was built in 1892 and is the oldest operating lighthouse in the state of Minnesota.  It is made entirely of red brick and consists of six structures:  a fog signal building, a skiff home, a garage, an oil house, the lighthouse tower with the attached keeper's home, and an assistant keepers home.

After our stop at Two Harbors, we drove two miles down highway 61 to the "World Famous Betty's Pies". Everyone says you can't visit the area without stopping by Betty's Pies.  They get so busy during the summer that they have an outdoor window where you can just order a slice or whole pie.  

They do have an indoor seating area too because they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It is really cute inside decorated in a 1950's decor with blue and white checkered flooring,  a breakfast bar with swivel stools, and oversized blue leather booths.  We were not hungry at all since we just ate a big breakfast at the hotel, but we did want to try a slice of their famous pies, so we ordered from the window under the blue tent that you see in the background of this photo and we ate at a picnic table outside.

Betty's Pies has nearly three dozen flavors to choose from, so it was hard to decide what pie to try because there were so many choices.  I ultimately decided on a raspberry rhubarb pie because everyone's rhubarb crops in my area were pathetic this year due to the cold, late spring, and I never got any thing made with rhubarb.  It was so sad.  So when I saw they had rhubarb pie I had to have it.  Hubby ordered Coconut Creme.

Silver Creek Cliff

After our tummies were full of pie, we headed back on 61 for 2.8 miles to our next stop:  Silver Creek Cliff.  
To get to the Silver Creek Cliff Overlook, you first have to drive through the famous Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel.  It goes 1,344 feet through Silver Creek Cliff.  It was completed in 1994 to prevent drivers from having to take the treacherous route near the cliff's edge.

It took three years to complete the tunnel because 500,000 cubic yards of rocks had to blown away.

The photo below shows were the old road used to be until the tunnel was constructed.  Pretty scary indeed!  Now that old road has been turned into a beautiful paved walking path.

Shortly after you exit the tunnel there is a parking lot where you can pull in and stop and enjoy the views of Lake Superior and/or take a short hike along the old highway 61.

The views of Lake Superior are absolutely breath-taking here.  But then again, anywhere along highway 61 are stunning views of Lake Superior.

You also get stunning close up views of the cliff rocks.

The trail is actually part of the Gitchi-Gami trail state trail which is 86 miles long and a biker's dream!

We enjoyed stopping for a break at this well placed bench.

When you reach the end of the trail, you are treated to this exquisite view.  I just love that gazebo down there.  What a perfect place for a gazebo.

 Well I hope you enjoyed our little road trip along Minnesota's North Shore.  Next week I will be back with part two of this adventure:  the best is yet to come!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


  1. Have only visited Minnesota two quick times. Thought the sites I saw were lovely. These photos (minus the shots of the water) remind me of this area with the rockiness. And just north of here in New Mexico where we have forested areas. Beautiful, beautiful nature.

    And coconut creme pie. Sign me up!! My mother made delicious coconut creme and coconut meringue pies. Oh, how I miss them.

    1. It is such a beautiful state! I've been to New Mexico and can't even picture a forest, but like Utah, I'm sure they're there!

  2. Absolutely beautiful! I really do need to plan a trip up north! Oh, and those pies look delicious (I even checked out their site online because I love 50's style diners and they are so hard to find!

    1. Yes it is, and yes you do! And you could stop at my house for a night too and save on a hotel cost. I should have included a photo of the inside of the diner, but we really did just pop in for a peek.

  3. A wonderful post, Amy! I would have loved to see the garden too and the good find with the old train station. However did you manage to choose one flavour out of three dozen?!!


    1. Thank you. It was agonizing picking a flavor. I ultimately decided on rhubarb because I missed having it this year.

  4. What gorgeous photographs! This looks like a beautiful place to visit. It must have been wonderful to walk along and drink in the lovely, natural surroundings.

  5. Enjoyed seeing your pics! The gazebo was awesome and the wildflowers were so pretty! My hubby would have enjoyed the raspberry rhubarb pie, I'd choose the maple walnut. I just looked at their website, some of their pies are available for shipping. Thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 86. Shared.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Oh, that is so interesting! I might have to check that out!

  6. What a lovely part of the world!

    Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!

  7. Wow, so super beautiful. What an amazing place. Very nice.

  8. Hi - Me again. Just popping by to say:
    Thank you for sharing this post in the Talent-Sharing Tuesdays Link-up 38.

  9. Apostle Islands was a picture on my screen saver from Google last week and I immediately recognized it from your last travel post! The pies look yummy and I would much prefer driving through that tunnel and walking that winding road than trying to drive on it. Yikes!

    1. Oh, how cool is that! Yes, that road would have been scary to drive on before the tunnel was created.

  10. Thank you for sharing this post at the Talent-Sharing Tuesdays Link-Up 39.

  11. Wow ! I love these kind of places amidst Nature. Thanks for sharing with Garden Affair


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