The Big Lake.

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

The north shore. Lake Superior. [Clean.]

Part of me just wants to write, "Aahhh…" and be done with this post.

Because really, that about sums it up.

While I deeply love this Driftless that we call home, the love I feel for the North Shore of Lake Superior might rival even that.

There is such a deep presence, soul-filling gratitude and sense of place I experience when I stand upon this shore.

The kids and I loaded up the Beetle and headed north last Friday morning. There was a wedding celebration in the woods, hikes along the shore, and tall ships to see. There was cold autumn-like rain and hot summer sun. There were fires to kindle in the wood stove, kitchen gardens to explore, mugs of coffee to drink, and old friends to reconnect with.

Each night we called a different spot home, from a house in town to an off-grid farm cabin, to a campsite alongside Superior, to a cabin bursting with kids and adults back in Wisconsin.

It was a very full and very lovely few days.

As we drove up the lake Sage announced that the North Shore would be his home when he grew up. And I secretly hope he sticks with this dream so that I have a reason to head north more often.

As thought I need an excuse.

And now we're back in the hills and my knitting basket is heavy with Lake Superior stones.

I can't stop turning them over in my palm and feeling that connection to the shore – feeling smitten by her magic – even here, five hours south of the lake.

I think perhaps a project like this is in order. Yes. That seems just right.

Oh, Gitchigumee. I adore you.

And I wonder… Is it possible to have a crush on a lake?

I wager yes.


26 thoughts on “The Big Lake.

  1. kirsten says:

    I grew up on the Canadian North Shore of Lake Superior – those stones and that clear clear water are in my bones and my blood. I live on the West Coast now, but I’m back visiting for part of the summer and being near the lake just brings me back to centre. Aaah, indeed.

  2. Alex says:

    Where exactly did you go and stay?? Going to visit my husband up in WI this weekend and looking for somewhere extra beautiful to visit 🙂

  3. Denise says:

    LOVE the north shore… I remember visiting Split Rock lighthouse with my grandpa as a child. So, my daughter’s middle name even… Marais. 🙂 We now spend a lot of our Lake Superior time in Bayfield around the Apostle Islands – where my husband spent a lot of childhood time. Also a magical place. But, there will always be something special about that north shore. And yes, you can definitely have a crush on a lake.

  4. Christine says:

    Oh, I am in love with it! I attended college in Duluth and had to leave for a job, and oh how I miss it. A piece of my heart remains there forever. My daughter also says she wants to go to college there, as she is smitten with the lake. A reason for us to visit often, or retire there someday…

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    We head up 61 from Duluth, but there is goodness to be found in the Bayfield area. We spent one night at Amnicon Falls State Park. Some road noise but otherwise quiet, beautiful, and sweet.

  6. Amy says:

    This post nearly made me double over with the instant, gut-wrenching pangs of homesickness. I grew up in Northern Michigan, but for the past year have been living in Ohio. I miss my beloved lakes…

  7. chelsea says:

    Love love love Split Rock and Gooseberry Falls. My brother and I would take two weeks camping there over *any* other family vacations my parents proposed, so for at least five years in a row, that was our chosen summer vacation destination. I recently took my little ones back, and no, I can’t get enough. There is absolutely something about *this* lake and the basalt that just gets into your soul… Thanks for sharing the pictures! I’m pretending I’m there, now. =)

  8. Julie says:

    We just returned from Northern Michigan—the Eastern part of the UP. We spent a few days on camping around Lake Superior. Between the 6 of us…we came home with about 100lbs of rocks that we picked from the shore. If you ever get an opportunity visit the Tahquamenon Falls State Park…It is breathtaking!! 20 of us biked to the Falls and camped for a few nights afterward. I was born and raised on Lake Huron (lower peninsula) and went to college in the UP..I so miss the forests and Lakes. I now live in southeast Wisconsin and while there is plenty of forests and water it just isn’t the same as it literally being in your backyard. Loved the picture of the rocks on the back. I am thinking the rocks were warm and felt good. That is exactly what my nieces and nephews were doing too! We literally spent all day walking along the lake shore and picking up rocks and could have spent another few if only work didn’t get in the way of life 😉

  9. Karen says:

    We have passed through the Canadian side of Lake Superior, and once over to the US…gorgeous sums it up. Mighty is another word that pops to mind.
    The rocks we gather each time have a special spot lining our bedroom window sills.

  10. Andrea from ziezo says:

    My answer is YES! Having lived on Lake Superior for 6 years of my life, I do miss it a lot. I am feeling a little homesick when I see the photo’s. . . thanks for sharing and reminding me of beauty and the dangers of this lake.

  11. Mikaela says:

    Yes to crushes on Lake Superior–that’s not just any lake! I grew up traveling from Madison to Northern Minnesota via the North Shore on a regular basis. Definitely one of my favorite spots in the whole world, too. We’re so lucky here in the Midwest!

  12. Danielle | Crafting Connections says:

    I totally have a crush on that lake, too! We visit my in-laws, and their place in Lutsen, MN. My only wish is that someday, I’ll be closer. Five hours seems about perfect, right now its about 14. Too much with these little ones, but we do it anyways, because that Lake, well, the pull is strong.

  13. Sarah says:

    It is indeed possible to have a crush on a lake, especially a Great Lake. I’m with Amy (who commented above): I used to live in a town on Lake Michigan and though I love my new home (and fortunately it even has lakes too), I miss that big water so much. I figure that no matter how at home I might feel anywhere else in the world, I will always feel, when I get back to that shore, that I am truly home. And P.S. I agree that Lake Superior is absolutely stunning (and particularly invigorating, if you choose to swim in it).

  14. erin says:

    I live in the middle of the south shore of Lake Superior, near the Pictured Rocks. Here, we all have this crush….maybe a bit more of a main squeeze attraction, really. I’ve moved back, more than once, to be near her. Now, I won’t live more than a mile or two from her shores.

    We call her Mother Superior. Clear, blue, vast, amazing, chilly, sandy, rocky goodness.

  15. SusanK says:

    We just spent one night in Ashland, WI, on the shore of Lake Superior – on our way from Seattle to Michigan for a family visit. Although there for such a short time, I kind of fell in love with the town. I was so excited to cross “The Bridge” and stop at Lake Michigan to go wading. I do love living in the PNW, but part of me is still here among the Great Lakes.

  16. Kelsey Rothe says:

    I am lucky enough to live and farm a 10 min drive from the lake….and I too have a huge crush on her, 🙂

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