We have heard there are lots of neat things to do at Tettegouche State Park but for us it was just a place to spend the night. Setting up camp and taking it down again within 12 hours wasn’t something we want to repeat anytime soon. Unfortunately we will. One week from now.
From Tettegouche we headed south on Highway 61 with our first stop being Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Admission was $20, which we were slightly hesitant to pay, but we were glad we did.
The weather people, whomever they are, were right. The skies were clear and the sun was shining!!! As Carter would say, “You don’t see that everyday!”
The views of Lake Superior from the lighthouse were spectacular.
We were also able to go up the winding staircase to the top of the lighthouse where the light mechanism was housed.
Another thing we have learned during our time around the Great Lakes is that beauty is everywhere. You just have to be willing to slow down and take it all in!!
From Split Rock we traveled about 15 minutes further south to Gooseberry Falls State Park. Yet another place that had outstanding reviews and was on my list of “must-stop” places.
In contrast to yesterday’s waterfall stops, where we were the only ones, Gooseberry was crowded. The weather was nice and it was a Friday. We had heard the weather had been kind of crummy for several days in that area so people were taking full advantage of the sunshine.
It is completely free to visit Gooseberry Falls, which is always nice. They have also made the trail to the falls handicap accessible.
The walk from the parking lot to the falls was manageable. We opted against the strollers and let the boys do some walking this time. Everett was ready for his nap before we even got out of the car so he wanted to be held the whole time.
At Gooseberry there are an Upper, Middle and Lower falls. I knew one of them was significantly bigger than the other two but couldn’t remember which one it was. We chose to walk to the middle falls and got lucky.
There were trails leading to many different parts of the river. Some people, using rather poor judgement in our opinion, decided to climb the rocks in the middle of the falls. We found some safer routes which allowed us to get closer to the falls.
This was our last stop on the north shore of Lake Superior and it certainly did not disappoint.
Continuing south through Duluth, we said goodbye to Lake Superior and the Great Lakes. We will see Lake Michigan a couple more times but not for a few days.
After a week and a half around the Great Lakes our next stop was Bloomington, Minnesota and the Mall of America.
Talk about a change of scenery!
We thought about just resting at our hotel that night in Bloomington but had heard horror stories about how crazy the Mall of America is on Saturday’s. We decided to head over to the mall for some dinner and sightseeing.
We decided to take the boys to a neat restaurant called Rainforest Cafe.
In a perfect world, it would be a super-fun place for kids to enjoy a nice dinner while experiencing the sights and sounds of an African rainforest.
In our world, the Rainforest Cafe was an absolute disaster.
For those of you who don’t know, our boys are not very fond of loud noises. They get easily overwhelmed in large crowds and go into shut-down mode.
The boys were anxious, especially Jackson, going into the Mall of America because it is so large and noisy in itself. We go into the restaurant and they’re taking everything in. We’re pointing out all the animals and trying to show them how fun and awesome this place is.
We order our food and then it happens.
The animals all start making noises. Flashes of light (simulated lightning) race across the ceiling. Thunder booms from all corners of the restaurant and the sound of falling rain fills the room.
The boys make it through the first storm but they have gone from enjoying the trees and animals to worrying about when the next storm is coming. We found out it comes every 20 minutes. Our plan was to take the boys out of the restaurant two minutes before each storm.
Our food comes and the boys can’t even focus on eating because they’re worried about how long it will be until the next storm. Unable to get the boys calmed down, Shannon takes the boys outside and I get five to-go boxes. We ended up eating in the food court.
We probably should have seen that one coming.
Definite parenting fail.
Needless to say it was all uphill from there. The remainder of our Mall of America experience was rather pleasant.
We took the boys in the Crayola store, where they got to color a picture of themselves.
They went into the Lego store where boxes of legos came to life on the screen in front of them. There were also enormous statues of lego figures inside the store and hanging from the rafters.
The boys also enjoyed watching the roller coasters zoom by in the seven acre Nickelodeon Theme park.
Our time in Minnesota is coming to an end and we are preparing to see what Wisconsin has in store for us!!