Summer Fun in Two Harbors - 2019 Edition

Summer Fun in Two Harbors - 2019 Edition

Two Harbors Tours

Ongoing, Unique Summer Tours:

Flavorful Events

Lake County Fair
 August 8 - August 11 | $5 Admission 

Enjoy classic fair fun at this year's Lake County's annual fair. Carnival rides and tasty foods by Lucky Brisket BBQ.

Two Harbors 4th of July
Thursday, July 4th | Agate Harbor 

Pulled Pork and Pie on the 4th of July!
Pies by the Rustic Inn from 3-10pm, with drinks and pulled pork for dinner from 5-10!
Live music outside the Community Center from 5:30-8:30!

Patriotic Concert in the Thomas Owens Bandshell, 7:30 pm.
Fireworks over the Harbor at dusk.


Music Events

Ongoing, Unique Summer Live Music:

Even More Fun!

Bay Days
July 13 through July 15 | Downtown Silver Bay

Venture to downtown Silver Bay for a bustling event full of activities. Games, food, music, a parade and more creates an entertaining and family-friendly atmosphere, sure to create memories for years to come. Remember: To top the night off Friday, a fireworks display will light up the sky.

Heritage Days
July 11 through July 14 | Downtown Two Harbors

Two Harbors Heritage Days is the annual four-day event held the first full Thursday through Sunday after the Fourth of July Holiday. The festival offers a three-day arts/crafts show, stage entertainment, a street dance and two parades with Saturday's parade being attended by thousands of local citizens and tourists to the area. Heritage days is also known for many class reunion events held that weekend.

Annual GGTA North Shore Bike Ride
August 17th @ 9 am | Gooseberry Falls State Park 

The 19th Annual Gitchi-Gami Trail Association North Shore Bike Ride will take place on Saturday, August 17, 2018. The recreational ride will again offer 55-mile, 37-mile, and 28-mile route options, as well as an 8-mile family ride on the trail and connecting roads.


Winter Adventure on the North Shore

Winter North ShoreThere is so much to do on the North Shore during the winter months! Check out a few of our favorite activities!


Stay at Grand Superior Lodge and access the best trails in the state. These trails are conveniently located near the resort, are packed with snow and beautifully groomed for the perfect day of riding. Learn More and Find Trail Conditions Here

Cross Country Skiing

Located in the heart of the top cross country ski trails in the Midwest, there’s nowhere else you’ll want to stay this winter. Ski passes are required but can be purchase online at the MN DNR website. Want to find the best spots that only the locals know about? Check out our Cross-Country Skiing Page.

State Parks

One of the best amenities of Grand Superior Lodge is our location, right on the North Shore of Lake Superior and in close proximity to North Shore State Parks. Don’t let the winter weather prevent you from making a trip to one of the state parks this year – they are just as beautiful in the winter as they are in the summer. So, grab a pair of our snowshoes from the front desk on your way out and experience the state parks in a different way this year. Check out our State Park Package!

Fat Biking

With the MN DNR’s project to provide safe trail conditions for fat tire bikers, you don’t have to worry about trying to find safe trails yourself. In fact, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, which is right up the road from our resort, offers 8.7 miles of groomed trails specifically for fat tire biking. If you want to give it a try or don’t want to bring your bike up with you, stop by our front desk to find out more on where to rent fat tire bikes and how you can get a free state park day pass. Learn More.


If you love to walk or hike, you’ll be a natural at snowshoeing. It’s all the enjoyment of a winter walk without sinking in the snow up to your thighs, and snowshoes are complimentary at the Front Desk! Learn More.

Specials and Packages

Not only does Grand Superior Lodge provide fun-filled Northern Minnesota winter activities, but also offers specials and packages to complement those activities. View all specials and packages here! 

A Grand Holiday Season

Mitten Tree

Bring in a warm scarf, hat or pair of mittens to hang on our Mitten Tree. We will donate all the warm weather gear to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Deck the Resort

We’ll be decorating the main lodge and grounds on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. You’re invited to join in the decorating or celebrate the coming season with hot cocoa, hot apple cider and an assortment of cookies at Splashing Rock Restaurant.

An Authentic Northwoods Christmas Tree

Stop by one of the many family run Christmas Tree Farms and bring a little piece of the North Shore home for the holidays.

Holiday Activities & Events

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Holiday Photo Contest

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Contest begins Thanksgiving Day and ends on New Year’s Day.

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Grand Superior Mitten Tree

mitten tree

Grand Superior Lodge Mitten Tree

May you always have a poem, like a pair of cozy mittens;

Knitted by a friend who loves you.

May your poem hold your hands through the blizzard of your living;
Every word a warm blessing.

Written by a soul you’ll never know but somehow understands.
-Amy LV 

On the Friday following Thanksgiving, we will begin what we hope will become an annual holiday tradition – a Mitten Tree – which will be located in the main lodge building at Grand Superior Lodge.  We will be reaching out to the local community, arriving guests, and our owners, to ask for mittens, scarves, hats, socks – any warm and cozies that can benefit those in need in the Two Harbors community.

As you prepare for your next visit, please consider adding items to your bag that can adorn the tree this season, and be of use during this and future winters by someone who needs them.

Best wishes always,

The Staff at Grand Superior Lodge






Fat Biking

Fat Tire Biking

If you are staying at Grand Superior Lodge during winter, you can give fat tire biking a try. This fun way of exploring the area with extra wide wheels is newer but growing fast.

“It seems like it gains traction every year with more and more of the mainstream population,” said Josh Kowaleski, Sales Manager at Spokengear in Two Harbors. “Every day people come in and ask about them and wonder what they are for. As long as that keeps happening that lets me know that the mainstream is catching up to what these bikes can do.”

Spokengear sells and rents fat tire bikes. Two of the rentals are electric fat tire bikes. While the electric ones currently aren’t allowed on any trails, they can be used on roads and in suitable sections of the forest when the conditions are right.

Fat tire biking gives bike enthusiasts a chance to keep biking throughout the winter. The low pressure and large surface area almost makes them like rolling skis. They do not, however, make winter mountain biking exactly like summer biking.

“It is totally a different pace,” said Josh.  “If you go into it expecting it to be like fast single track biking you might get a little disappointed. You can go fast in the winter, but at least for me, it is more exploratory.”

Fat Biking



As fat biking gets more popular, more state agencies and private organizations are making efforts to support this newer Nordic sport. For example, the Superior Cycling Association in Cook County first started grooming trails for fat biking last year. This is the first year they are really advertising this fact. Closer to Grand Superior Lodge, Split Rock State Park recently opened some trails for these bikes. There are also the trails near Two Harbors.

“Two Harbors owns the Ferguson Demonstration forest,” said Josh. “It is a really great loop of trails. They are not too technical and they are groomed with the groomer and you get a really nice firm base on a trail that meanders. So, it is a really nice place to go.”

Spokengear has its own little loop that you can use if you want to test drive one of their bikes. They are located on part of the Two Harbors network of trails. This is a paved trail that is sometimes plowed in the winter. Still, having a fat bike will allow you to pass through slick spots easier. You can stop at different shops and restaurants along these trails and get out of the cold and grab a bite to eat. You can explore the sections down by the harbor or the neighborhoods visitors don’t often see.

Spokengear’s building is also home to Cedar Coffee Company, where you can rest, warm up, and trade biking stories. They serve warm drinks, a number of baked goods, and meals. Naturally bike enthusiasts hang out here a lot. One of them might tell you of some hidden spot which will amaze you.

Winter fat tire biking is usually best for trails, but there are exceptions. Occasionally the snow will become hard and icy enough to support the weight of the bikes. At this point some may just bike through the woods and make their own trail. If you do this, of course, make sure you are on public land.

Fat tire biking is the new sport on the block in the Northland and is one you can try while you are staying at Grand Superior Lodge. It is just one more way you can explore all this frozen wonder.


Ship Wreck Exploration from Grand Superior Lodge

ShipwrecksWhen you stay at Grand Superior Lodge, you have a front-row view of Lake Superior. The lake may be calm and smooth or full of giant waves crashing on the shore. Depending on the time of year, you may be witnessing Lake Superior’s pure force and power.

Past demonstrations of Lake Superior’s power have left a number of shipwrecks along the shore. While it is sad they occurred, they are fascinating to learn about. There are a number of stops on our north shore shipwreck experience tour close to Grand Superior Lodge.

A good place to start is Split Rock Lighthouse, nine miles from the lodge. When you are at Split Rock Lighthouse you can enjoy all the shipwreck exhibits. You can also see a real shipwreck.  Without putting on a wetsuit, you can see the remains of the Madeira.

“It is fairly clear most of the time there so you should be able to see parts of it,” said Viking Diver owner Elmer Engman.

The Madeira is so popular with divers that they have their own parking lot. The place to see it from the shore is a cliff a little north of the parking lot.

The Madeira was one of the many barges at that time. These barges were loaded with cargo and towed by steamships. When the 1905 Mataafa Storm hit, the captain of this barge’s steamship escort cut the line. The Madeira was pushed toward the shore, where it struck Gold Rock.

Just a few minutes up the shore is the Silver Bay Marina. This setting now looks peaceful enough. It is home to majestic sailboats, with breakwaters providing ample protection from the biggest of storms. It was not quite so peaceful in 1905.

That November, the storm caused havoc here and across the lake. Just north of the beginning of the breakwater, not far under water, are the remains of the Hesper. When you go there, you might be lucky enough to see some divers going for a closer look at this well-preserved ruin.

The Hesper was a steamer thrown off course by the 60+ MPH winds. The ship then hit a reef just beyond the current breakwater and sunk.

If you wish to see more results of the 1905 storm, you can drive about 25 more miles up the shore, to the Taconite Harbor Small Craft Harbor. Here is another place where a towed ship sunk. This time the tow-line was not cut. Instead, it broke while the steamship was trying to ride out the storm behind the partial protection of two islands, which now have a breakwater built between them. You’ll see a marker commemorating the lost ship and the three crewmen who didn’t make it.

Not far from here is also the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum, which gives a sense of what life was like decades ago. Then, the scattered settlements relied on the lake and its ships for their very survival. Now we can see the shipwrecks and go back to the comfort of a resort, thankful for those who have gone before us.

fall at GSL

Colorful State Parks Near Grand Superior

fall at GSLFall is a time when the trees prepare to lose their leaves. Unlike the sure and steady evergreens, deciduous trees go through a spectacular display during their final hurrah.

This spectacular display goes well with the spectacular natural features in Minnesota State Parks. There are a number of state parks near Grand Superior Lodge where you can witness these colorful scenes during the fall.

Gooseberry Falls is just down the road from Grand Superior Lodge. It has the most accessible falls, which are wide and full of water. Around Lower and Middle Falls you will see a concentration of yellowing birch trees mixed in with the evergreen trees.

You can also walk up the trail toward Upper Falls and then Fifth Falls and beyond. Further up the hills, along the Gooseberry River, deciduous trees will generally increase and bright red maples will become more plentiful.

The falls of Tettegouche are harder to reach, requiring a brisk fall hike. But it will be a beautiful hike. The falls at Tettegouche
are further into the area where trees like oaks and maples tend to dominate. This is rugged country with great places to look up at the orange, yellow, and red hills or down into equally colorful valleys.

One particularly colorful vantage point is the swing bridge above High Falls. From here, you are right above the powerful Baptism River, which is churned up into white waves by rocks before it thunders over the falls. You can also look down in the valley below, where the water spreads out into a pool and trees spread out on the shore.

After hiking further, you reach the bottom of this valley. Now you can see High Falls from below, and notice the shape of this valley. It is a bit like being at the bottom of a giant soup bowl. While you look toward the falls, you see a wall of stone is wrapped around the valley. There isn’t much growing on these imposing cliffs, but above them you see the brilliant oranges and fiery reds.

George Crosby Manitou State Park is a lesser known park where fall colors are king. At this park, the hardwoods really dominate the landscape. There are sections where only a few evergreen trees are scattered among the deciduous trees. Like
Tettegouche, you need to hike a fair amount to reach the better spots.

While the park has many spots where the water is violent and flows strong, there are places where the water is calm and tranquil surrounded by all the brilliant fall colors.

Benson Lake is a peaceful, pristine, and unpopulated lake surrounded by a good concentration of hardwoods. There are many orange sections and some reds scattered in. As you look higher into the hills there is more red. The lake also has peaceful sections where tall plants are growing out of the water.

The upper Manitou is another section where the water is calm. Here there is a peaceful little lake ringed by small boulders. Here there are solid patches of pines and thick sections of deciduous trees.

At George Crosby Manitou State Park’s Upper Falls, the water rages among the deciduous trees that closely hug the waterfall. While the Upper Falls at Tettegouche go straight down, the water here falls at more of a 45 degree angle along a rock face. Middle Falls looks a lot like Upper Falls.

Lower Falls is more gentle, but has the same colorful arrangement as Upper and Middle Falls. It also has a pool at its base surrounded by large boulders.

The Manitou Overlook offers the park’s most commanding view of the fall landscape. From this high vantage point, you can look down upon a wide expanse of no buildings and miles of mostly hardwoods. To complete the color scheme, the blue Lake Superior is beyond all this land.

There are many other state parks near Grand Superior Lodge, in which you can enjoy the already beautiful scenery, enhanced by the temporary colors. Fall is a good time to visit the north shore and stay at Grand Superior Lodge.

two harbors break wall winter

Two Paths in Two Harbors

Two Harbors is famous for its Two Harbors. Now that's deep. During the winter there are also two paths you can take. There are more than two, but let's just discuss two of the best. The first is made for cross-country skiing and the second for good old-fashioned walking. The first involves a vigorous workout and the other a light stroll. So, check out either one, but just remember what Led Zeppelin said about there being two paths and time to switch between them.

Two Harbor's Erkki Harju Ski Trail is actually a series of trails that weave around a golf course. That doesn't sound so good at first. But just wait till you get there.

As soon as you drive into the trailhead parking lot, off highway 2, you will know what I mean. Immediately, you can hardly tell you are near any road. The parking lot is well-ringed with trees. A small wooden structure shows a map of the trail's three main interlocking loops. There are the 3k, the 5k, and the 8k loops as well as the two expert spurs.

The start of a volunteer-groomed trail descends to the right and rises to the left, being swallowed by trees in either direction. Across the trail, is a long expanse of flat whiteness sandwiched between thick evergreens. During the non-frozen season, this is an area to drive dimpled golf balls as far as you can.

The trails weave around these open golfing areas. Most of the time you are in woods and might think you were 100 miles from civilization if you didn't keep getting Facebook alerts.

"Cross-country skiing is about the best exercise you can do," said Joe Trela at the Ski Hut in Duluth. "It gets you outside and one with nature."

But you are still close to the benefits of modern technology. Once you get back to your car you can be back at Grand Superior Lodge in 14 minutes or to one of Two Harbor's cafés in even less time. After you rest and warm up you might be ready for a lower impact trail.

The area surrounding Two Harbor's Agate Bay isn't really a trail but is a great walk in the winter. I walked this area in the middle of January this year. Even with the above average temperatures and below average snowfall, it was still a wonder of ice and snow.

The parking lot by the old lighthouse was a bleak whiteness with a handful of cars scattered across it. Straight across the harbor, the American Integrity was parked at the ore docks for the winter. To the left, the two breakwaters blocked off the water of Lake Superior with the fog allowing a shallow gaze into the open lake.

Two Harbors Breakwater in Winter
Two Harbors Breakwater in Winter

I started my walk to the right. The ore dock towered above the part of the city of Two Harbors that stood high enough to see. I walked off the road across snow that just covered my feet a little. I carefully descended a staircase covered with snow.

I reached a wide circular area, used for launching small craft when it's warmer. I walked down the wooden dock used for launching boats. On either side were sheets of ice, each one about ten feet long, cut with straight edges. Beyond the sheets were many smaller pieces of ice looking like densely packed frozen lily pads. The ice sheets moved back and forth colliding with each other in the light waves.

I turned around and headed up the stairs. It is worth noting that the concrete pit bathroom was still open this time of year. So many places outside have their bathrooms shut down this time of year, assuming people only need to go during summer.
Then, I walked out on the breakwater. Up the shore, from the beginning of the breakwater, the shore looked like a fortress of ice. All along the concrete path, were boulders encased in ice.

Eventually, I left the rocks behind and was higher above the water. I could now see the American Integrity straight on. I reached the end of the breakwater and turned around. The concrete pathway stretched back toward the parking lot almost out of site. The harbor was clear but a thin layer of fog rose out of the lake on the right. I walked back to the car and warmed up, thinking of other paths I could take.

Hannah Rey

Music at Grand Superior Lodge

Grand Superior Lodge can be your castle in the north woods. Like a castle, it is a self-contained experience with everything you need to for enjoyment and entertainment. Even if you never get in your car until your last day, there is plenty to enjoy in these log-cabin-styled walls.

Like a king in the castle, you can let the entertainers come to your court. Grand Superior Lodge brings you live shows that you don't have to drive to see.

"The music is normally on Saturday night from 7 to 9 pm," said Matt Kleive at Grand Superior. It is normally acoustic guitar."
Grand Superior Lodge's Splashing Rock Restaurant is a place for fine dining and fine music a stone's throw away from Lake Superior.

"The music is in our lounge area. It is more interpersonal in there. The restaurant itself sits about 50 feet from the water's edge," said Matt. "It overlooks Lake Superior with a great lake view."

One regular performer is acoustic guitarist and singer Mel Annala. Mel was born in Duluth and plays at many venues in the area. He plays traditional folk songs, rural roots, and some acoustic rock songs.

He performs instrumentals and vocal numbers. He plays original songs and old favorites. These favorites like "City of New Orleans," "All Along the Watchtower," and "House of the Rising Sun" he makes his own, with folksy guitar playing and his versatile voice.

Hannah Rey

Hannah Rey is another area artist who plays along the shore, including at Grand Superior Lodge. Rey was raised near Two Harbors, not far from Grand Superior Lodge. Like Mel, she sings and plays acoustic guitar. Like Mel, she sings covers and original songs.

Besides Grand Superior, she has played at local venues like Bent Paddle Brewing Company, the Homegrown Music Festival, the Castle Danger Brewery, Little Angie's Cantina, Two Harbors American Legion, and the Other Place. She recently played at a book signing for former Duluth Mayor Don Ness.

You can see one of her best original songs on YouTube. "Stay Put" is a song about someone knowing they aren't treated right but not having the confidence or courage to not "Stay Put." Her singing is as sad as the fingerpicked notes, but we are carried along by the sweet sorrow. Keeping with this dysfunctional relationship theme is another original song "Done Better".

Many of her original and cover songs are blatantly honest and full of angst and just plain human feelings. said Hannah is, "Always soulful, sometimes playful” and goes on to say she has made “a nice little niche for herself in the eclectic local music scene."

Hannah often plays with a local band called South of Superior. Their music often adds a strong dose of rock to Hannah's soul.

These and other performances at Grand Superior Lodge are open to both guests and the general public. Everyone can enjoy listening to great music at the Lodge.

6 Tips For Organizing a Family Reunion

How nice it is when we meet an old friend by chance. Afterward, you may promise to meet more often, which might happen. Friends and families can drift apart when they don’t deliberately plan to spend time together.

Family reunions are a good way to strengthen bonds between relatives. They don’t just happen by accident. Someone has to put it all together. This “someone” maybe you. Here are a few things you can do to make your family reunion successful.

#1 Have the event well planned and organized

Nobody wants to reach a point of saying “what do we do now?” This isn’t working. Your job isn’t to keep everyone busy. Still, some structure is needed. We have a family reunion planner who can help you sort out schedules, activities, and lodging (218.728.8060 x104).

“Family members are more satisfied when their reunions are structured, organized, well planned, larger, longer-lasting and less frequent,” said Laurence A. Basirico, Ph.D. about the findings of his Reunion Magazine-sponsored study. “Of all these characteristics though, the real keys to success are structure, organization, and planning.”

But how do you organize the time, place, and the event itself? One way is to pick leaders from different family groups to form a committee. Start by conducting your own survey. Send out questionnaires. Find out who is willing to go, when, and their willingness to spend. Ask what activities they would enjoy.

#2 Invite a wide range of relatives

Before you send out these surveys you need to know who to send them to. Having a wider range of people at your can make it more interesting and a true reunion. Wouldn’t you like to finally meet that 2nd cousin you always heard was so great whenever you screwed up as a child?

“86% of those with 100 people or more are most satisfied,” said Basirico of the same study. “Compared with 47% of those with 30 or fewer people.”

#3 Have a wide range of activities

Juyeon Yun did a Master’s Thesis study on Family Reunions. One part shows the top ten in favorite activities at family reunions, by the group. For all groups, casual chatting and taking family photos are at the top of the list. Children and grandparents actually rated outdoor sports higher than parents. Children were the only group to include swimming in their top ten list. But the other groups listed cooking as being a favorite. At Grand Superior Lodge we often get guests who enjoy catching up on cooking, at the provided kitchens. We also have a “program sharing” option where guests at our resort can do day trips up and down the shore and enjoy activities at our other resorts. We have kayaking, canoeing, bikes, kids programs and more. Still in a rut? Sharing family photos, dining in a restaurant, church services, and sightseeing also appears on the list.

#4 Do activities that bring people together

The same study also looked at activities groups do together. When together most liked sharing family photos more than taking photos. Dining was more popular when done together as was sightseeing. When together, watching family videos appeared on the list.

#5 Have lots of time for just hanging out

The number one activity in all categories in that study was casual chatting. Catching up and just being together is what reunions are all about. Don’t plan so much that there is no time for just hanging out.

#6 Make it longer if possible

Think of your reunion more like an epic film and not a sitcom episode. After all, reunions don’t happen every day or even every decade.

Again Basirico says, “83% of those attending reunions that last four days or more are most satisfied, compared with 42% of those attending reunions that last less than a half day.”[/smp_custom_list]

We offer discounts for longer stays and larger group bookings. Call our coordinator to find out more at (218.728.8060 x104) or email [email protected].

These are just a few tips to get you started. Just remember even the planning of the event can be a way to reconnect with family.