GALLERY: Goin’ To The Lake Visits Two Harbors
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summer’s not over yet, not by a long shot. So we’re packing our bags at WCCO once again and heading north!
WCCO-TV’s Liz Collin and Lauren Casey and WCCO Radio’s John Williams are Goin’ to the Lake this week! They will be live along the beautiful shore of Lake Superior in Two Harbors during their famed Kayak Festival.
Join John Williams as he delivers a live broadcast Friday from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at Grand Superior Lodge.
Liz and Lauren started things off Thursday at the Duluth and Iron Range Rail Depot on Lake Superior, which is a great first stop as you get into town. From there you can tour the historic Two Harbors Lighthouse, hike some lakeview trails and even watch the big ships come in.
Nearby is the Two Harbors Breakwall, where you can walk out to the lake and watch iron ore ships come in to the docks, which is a pretty cool experience.
Two Harbors is right off of Highway 61 on the shores of Superior. There are a little over 3,600 people that live here year round, but you can imagine how much that number swells in the summer.
Besides all the fun you can have on the lake, there are also plenty of fun shops, restaurants and bars in downtown Two Harbors to keep you busy on those days when the weather does not want to cooperate.
Two Harbors is about a three-hour drive from the Twin Cities, and just about 20 miles past Duluth. Liz and Lauren knew they were going to have a long day up in Two Harbors, so they had to make one quick stop on the way up to fuel up – the Great Lakes Candy Kitchen in Knife River.
The business has been run by one family for three generations. They use family recipes, and all candy is made the old-fashioned way — cooked in kettles and stirred by hand.
Duluth, Two Harbors & The Great Lakes Candy Kitchen
If you are looking for some place to stay up here in Two Harbors that is a little bit off the beaten path, but still provides all the comforts of home – Liz and Lauren found it inside a bunch of converted old box cars.
Unique is certainly the best word to describe the Northern Rail Train Car Inn. Old box cars make up each of the 17 rooms. It is owned and operated by Cyndi Ryder and her husband, Jeff. But they can’t take credit for the idea, which came from the original owner.
The hardest part to building this inn was finding the rail cars and getting them in place. This may not be your typical place to stay on the North Shore, but it has got character and all the amenities you need.
But its best feature just might be the one thing you can’t see — the wonderful peace and quiet.
Cyndi and Jeff say they have had visitors from all over the world, including places like New Zealand, Japan and Russia.
The Northern Rail Car Inn is open all year round, and each room has themes, including Victorian rooms, a Golf Room, a Safari Room and even a Lighthouse Room.
The Northern Rail Train Car Inn
Liz and Lauren went to Agate Bay on Lake Superior, which is not too far away from downtown Two Harbors.
The breakwall gives folks a chance to walk out on the lake and watch the ships come in to iron ore docks, providing a great chance to see the lake from a pretty safe spot. But if you really want to see the beauty of Lake Superior, you have to get on the water.
Liz and Lauren hopped aboard the Historic Wenonah. The boat itself has been a part of north shore history for over 50 years, and it now hosts scenic tours on Minnesota’s Great Lake.
It is easy to see why the views are the big draw on this tour, but you will also learn a little something courtesy of Captain Jay Hanson. He isn’t just the captain of the boat – he’s also the owner. But he knows the Wenonah really doesn’t belong to him alone.
The tour took Liz and Lauren past Turtle Island, right up to Palisade Head and Shovel Point that rise up more than 100 feet from the lake’s surface, and into north shore mining’s harbor where ships stop to pick up taconite.
It is a one-of-a-kind look at what makes Minnesota’s north shore such a popular summertime destination. The two-and-a-half-hour scenic tour is pretty affordable at just $25 dollars for adults, $18 for children and kids 3 and under ride free.
Liz & Lauren Ride On The Historic Wenonah
Lake Superior is actually the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. It is 350 miles long, about 160 miles wide and has about 2,900 miles shoreline. You will find 78 different types of fish in Superior, and it is so clear that you can see the bottom in 24 feet of water. Oh, and the biggest wave ever recorded on Superior was 51-feet high!
Two Harbors has its own city band, and they play at the city bandshell every Thursday night — rain or shine — from June until mid-August. The band was first put together in 1897 and has been going strong for more than 115 years.
Lake Superior Facts & The Two Harbors City Band
Just about 20 minutes north of Two Harbors on Highway 61 is a popular stop with tourists — the Split Rock Lighthouse.
Friday is National Lighthouse Day, and to celebrate the lighthouse is hosting a night hike from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the state park. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight or a headlamp!
Liz & Lauren Visit Split Rock Lighthouse
Two Harbors isn’t the longest drive in the world, but it’s not the shortest either. For that reason, we’ve supplemented Lauren’s selections with a series of incredibly, epically long songs. To be honest, this is a playlist that’s going to get them both there and back.
Listen to their road trip playlist below:
Goin’ To The Lake: Liz & Lauren’s Road Trip Playlist
Stay tuned as we bring you more from their trip.
Here’s a look at the places Lauren and Liz will check out in the Two Harbors area.
More Minnesota Adventures
Watch the past “Goin’ To The Lake” segments here.
Watch the past “Goin’ To The (Frozen) Lake” segments here.