Lutefisk

Lutefisk is a culinary delicacy of the Nordic countries. Delicacy might be a bit of a misnomer…

Lutefisk is made from aged fish and lye. It is gelatinous. It is stinky. Its name literally means ‘lye fish.’ Yeah…

As I mentioned in my previous post, after hiking around Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse, we headed into Two Harbors proper to go to Heritage Days. Heritage Days is a multi-day event of parades, music, activities, and general festivity in and around downtown Two Harbors. When we stopped by Two Harbors on Thursday night, we asked directions from someone out on the street, and they told us (after giving directions) to come back the following day for the Lutefisk Throw. It is (and I quote), “the best thing that happens in Two Harbors all year.”

Well, with that recommendation, how could we refuse?!

And that is how we came to be in downtown Two Harbors for the Lutefisk Throw on Friday afternoon.

When we first arrived at Heritage Days, we wandered through a few booths selling clothes, art, knick-knacks, food, etc.

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Finally, we found the music stage where we were told the Lutefisk Throw would be.

You are probably wondering what a Lutefisk Throw is. We were also wondering.

Luckily, the band played an introduction song to the event to help clear things up. The song went like this:

Here comes that Norsky bunch, they’re gonna throw some fish now.
Lutefisk, better stand back, you know they’re gonna throw some fish now.

Lutefisk. Lutefisk. Lute….fisk.

Yes, those are the real lyrics. Here’s the rundown:

Each year the Sons of Norway face off with the Swedes at the Two Harbors Heritage Days Lutefisk Throw. Each team attempts to throw frozen lutefisk (gloves are worn because it is so gross) across a tarp and into a bucket, and the team who successfully sinks the greatest number of lutefisk in the bucket wins.

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There was even an honorary first throw of the game:

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IS THIS REAL LIFE?!

This was not a high-paced game, and when we left (after three rounds), the score was 1-0.

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After leaving the Lutefisk Throw, we stopped by the other big Two Harbors tourist attraction (har-di-har)…the 3M museum! Inside this  building is the most comprehensive and informative exhibit on tape:

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Oh yeahhh.

Even though 3M started with tape, as you are probably well aware, they have now expanded to many other products:

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And they’ve even made contributions to the field of science! Check out these butterfly tracker stickers that 3M created to help scientists learn about migratory patterns.

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My thumb is in the picture to help illustrate the size. Just in case you were wondering. 🙂

On the way out, I met this fellow.

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Why was he in the 3M museum? Still unknown.

Other Two Harbors posts
Betty’s Pies
Grand Superior Lodge
Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse

Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse

Gooseberry Falls State Park was a short 15-minute drive from our lodge in Two Harbors, and we enjoyed a short hike, pictures by the waterfall, and speculating about the interesting geology (we learned that the surface around Gooseberry Falls is volcanic bedrock).

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As we hiked, we got several views of the falls:

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After finishing the hike, we had a quick lunch of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and then took the 20-minute drive (or so) to Split Rock Lighthouse.

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Split Rock Lighthouse is run through the Minnesota Historical Society. After a horrible storm in 1905 left many sailors dead, this light house was constructed. Before the lighthouse, this area was particularly deadly because the magnetic interference of the iron ore within the rocks at Split Rock would throw compasses askew as far as 18 degrees!

Today, you can visit a small history exhibit, take tours of the facility, climb up the lighthouse tower, and see costumed guides showing what the lighthouse and the keeper’s home were like in the 1920’s.

This is what the lighthouse lens looked like from within the tower:

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View from the top:

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Keeper’s home furnished to reflect what it would have been like in the 1920’s:

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After finishing at the lighthouse, it was time to head back to Two Harbors to check out the action in town. Check back soon for a rundown of Two Harbors Heritage Days.

Other Two Harbors posts
Betty’s Pies
Grand Superior Lodge

Grand Superior Lodge

After dinner at Betty’s, it was time to make our way to Grand Superior Lodge where we would be staying for the weekend. The lodge is located on the North Shore of Lake Superior, just a few minutes away from Two Harbors ‘central.’ The quotes are because Two Harbors is a very small town.  Here are some pics:

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They have old school decor:

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Oh, and they like to keep vending machines on the outside of buildings:

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?

Anyway…back to the lodge.

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Welcome to the Love Shack, baby.

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The Love Shack, like most (or all?) of the lodges within the Grand Superior Lodging Complex, was owned by a family who rents it out. The lodge felt very homey and welcoming:

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The family had lots of wall hangings and decorative pieces around the home:

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They seemed to especially like decorating with animals. There were LOTS of animals. Look at this bear peeking in the window:

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It must be a baby bear since its feet don’t touch the ground:

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The lodge we stayed in could sleep six if you wanted to cram. There’s a fully stocked kitchen:

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One bathroom:

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Plus an extra tub inside the master bedroom (we thought this was pretty funny):

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The main living area had a couch (with a fold out bed inside), a chair, and a fireplace:

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There was an upstairs loft area as well with a futon:

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The ceiling was slanted and very low. Note the distance between head and ceiling while sitting on the bed:

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View from our window:

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After getting settled in the lodge, we wanted to check out the rest of the resort property. We left the lodge by our back porch (with a grill!):

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And walked down to the lake:

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We also checked out the swimming pool and hot tub in the main lodge:

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The main lodge also had a small sauna and an extremely tiny exercise room (one treadmill, one elliptical, and a few hand weights). It didn’t take long to figure out the lay of the land, so we headed back to the lodge to get ready for a trip to Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse (post coming soon about these adventures!).

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Two Harbors and Betty’s Pies

Last weekend, Noah and I took a trip to Two Harbors. Two Harbors is a town in Northern Minnesota along the shore of Lake Superior. It’s about a three-hour drive from Minneapolis, and we headed up there Thursday afternoon.

If you have a guide book to Two Harbors (or Google search restaurants…this is the 21st century after all), you are sure to be directed to Betty’s Pies. According to their website, they are world famous. I can’t verify that, but it was listed highly in the Moon guidebook for Minnesota, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.

Since Betty’s Pies was a bit south of the lodge where we were staying (and therefore on our way), we stopped on the way up.

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We had to wait a few minutes for a table, so I checked out their swag shop:

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I could have bought one of these babies:

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After being seated, we checked out the menus and pie case:

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The ‘real food’ menu was surprising extensive with a wide selection of sandwiches, burgers, and pasties (sort of mix between a pot pie and a calzone). The decor was very diner-esque, and the pie theme was played up through decorative rolling pins on the walls:

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After much deliberation, I settled on a chicken and pepperjack cheese sandwich with onion rings, and Noah ordered a turkey sandwich with fries:

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Since Betty’s is a pie joint, we obviously had to try some. I ordered the five layer chocolate (crust with dark chocolate, cinnamon meringue, whipped cream, and chocolate whipped cream), and Noah ordered blueberry:

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Unfortunately, the pie was a little disappointing. I liked the meal a lot better than the dessert. At first I thought it might be because I’m not really a ‘pie-person,’ but Noah is a certified pie-lover and he agreed. So…if you’re in Two Harbors, give it shot. But if you’re traveling the world in search of great pie (someone out there, I know this applies to you), you can probably skip this spot.