Just a few thoughts

How to Compromise with a Boundary Waters Trip

How to Compromise with a Boundary Waters Trip

My husband loves camping and hiking and all things nature, exercise, and discomfort. I don’t think I realized quite how much he loved these things prior to marrying him. A red flag should’ve been when he asked if we wanted to do a camping trip in Yellowstone for our honeymoon… I thought he was joking. I told him, “I’ll do something like that for our anniversary trip,” but then when our one year anniversary was approaching he remembered.

We had just gotten back from Iceland so financially we didn’t feel like we could swing another big trip. We decided to do a mini version of the trip on our anniversary weekend. I didn’t want to camp the whole time, so we compromised by spending a few days at a Bed & Breakfast in Grand Marais, MN.


On our first leg of the trip, we went camping at the Jay Cooke State park, near Duluth. It rained for most of the night, so we had to huddle in our tent and play bananagrams and then go to bed early. Before it started down pouring we were able to build a fire and cook hobos quickly.

In Duluth, we walked around Canal Park and had a picnic lunch. We went to the brewery near Canal Park for drinks later. One of our favorite places to eat in Duluth is the Northern Waters Smokehaus, but we didn’t stop there this time.

On our way back home at the end of the trip, we stopped to eat dinner at Bellisio’s Italian restaurant. They have beautiful views over Lake Superior.

Grand Marais

In Grand Marais, we stayed at the MacArthur bed and breakfast. It was centrally located, so we walked everywhere. It was our first time staying at a bed and breakfast, and it was great! The breakfast was incredible. While we were in Grand Marias, we went to book stores and thrift stores, and enjoyed the views of the harbor. We ate at the Crooked Spoon and the Angry Trout Cafe. When we ate at the Angry Trout, we ate on the dock on the harbor. We would highly recommend both restaurants! One night we went to the Voyager Brewery for live music and drinks.

On our way back from the boundary waters, we stopped at Temperance River State Park and went for a hike.

Boundary Waters

There are many different canoe outfitters and places to explore in the boundary waters. We chose to start with Clearwater Outfitters, which was about an hour from Grand Marais. Clearwater also has a lodge and cabins to stay in, which would have been awesome, had we done more research beforehand. We just purchased one of their day trip packages since we had no gear or experience. We spent $20 per person and it included the canoe rental, paddles, life jackets, maps and permits, and bagged lunch and a drink.

Collin and I were just reminiscing about how that sandwich was one of the best sandwiches we have ever eaten– partially because of all of the hard work paddling and hiking we did, and then we were able to eat the sandwich at the top of a 400 foot cliff with stunning views into Canada. I don’t know if I have ever worked so hard for a sandwich. Plus it was on homemade bread. It was well worth it.

Afterwards we joked about how this canoe trip put our marriage to the test. On the way back our canoe was blown all over the lake by some pretty extreme wind gusts, which was not fun and it was very very difficult to maneuver. We yelled and fought and I started crying. But then we succeeded and felt like we achieved something that day. We would love to go back someday, but maybe do more hiking and less canoeing.