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Canal Park, Gooseberry, and Split Rock Lighthouse Highlighted in National Geographic Traveler

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Summer is going to be over before you know it.  I’m sorry, I know.  I shouldn’t even say it.  But it’s also a great reminder to do all the things you promised you’d do this summer, but forgot or didn’t have time to.  Here are a few places you may have said you would like visit to complete your “Summer Bucket List.”  A few regional highlights that even the magazine, “National Geographic Traveler,” included in the August/September 2012 issue! Here’s an excerpt of the article.  You can read the full article HERE.

Canal Park, a onetime warehouse district, is now filled with lakeside restaurants, shops, hotels, and historical attractions. On board the S.S. William A. Irvin, a 610-foot retired ore and coal ship, tour-goers explore everything from the engine room’s brass controls to the sophisticated wood-trimmed visitors quarters. Working ships still dock here, too (about a thousand vessels annually, more than any other Great Lakes port), lending authenticity with their massive, slow-moving presence as they request passage under the 1905 Aerial Lift Bridge, on occasion still letting out deep, vibrating honks—long-short-long-short. Interaction between boats and bridge complements the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center near the bridge’s foot.

About 30 miles up the road, on the east edge of Two Harbors, a faux-log cabin beckons from the side of the road, as it has for the past four decades. One of a handful of smoked fish purveyors along the shore, Lou’s Fish House expertly prepares Lake Superior trout—brined in teriyaki, cured in brown sugar, or worked into a spread. Then it’s on to Gooseberry Falls State Park, the first of eight state parks that line the 150-mile-long stretch between Duluth and Canada. More than half a million annual visitors stop to absorb the thunderous, misting cascades along Gooseberry’s namesake river, one of many that tumble out of the forest and into Lake Superior.

A few more minutes on the road brings drivers to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, 2,200 acres edged with steep shoreline trails. Among them stands the black-capped Split Rock Lighthouse, a beautiful beacon born of tragedy. In 1910, Congress commissioned the lighthouse atop a 13-story hunk of gray cliff after one of the notorious November gales damaged 29 ships, two of which crashed onto the rocky shore. Navigational tools rendered Split Rock obsolete decades ago, but visitors poke around the keepers’ quarters and climb the lighthouse tower, both outfitted as if operating during their 1920s glory days.

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