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Tips From The Great Lakes Cruising Club: Lake Superior

Published: April/May 2013

For our April/May 2013 issue, focusing on the Great Lakes region, we asked our friends at the Great Lakes Cruising Club what their top picks were for things to see and do in their area. Here's what they recommended.

Photo of a lighthouse on Lake SuperiorPhoto: Wisconsin Division of Tourism

Duane R. Flynn, GLCC Rear Commodore Lake Superior Region:

I am responsible for the Lake Superior region so that covers a very large area. I don't think I can speak for all, but will give you what I'm familiar with. These are by no means all that is going on but a highlight of major happenings. My home port is Duluth Superior but I spend a fair amount of time in surrounding venues. Events in the "Head of the Lakes" are constant all year long. In the summer Duluth starts with a 4th Fest event at Bayfront Park. It includes a music venue as well as one of the largest fireworks display in the Midwest. Almost every community has some form of celebration including fireworks. Examples include a parade on Madeline Island, Apostle Islands.

While visiting the small community of Grand Marais, Michigan, I watched an annual flag burning ceremony sponsored by the local Veterans Association. This is the prescribed method of disposing of damaged or worn out US Flags and was quite inspiring, if you've never seen it before. Duluth's annual Bayfront Blues Festival is a multiday event, usually the first weekend in August. Multiple national superstars perform here every year to the joy of thousands of visitors.

In that same time period, mid-July, the Tall Ships are due to return to the Head of the Lakes with about 12 ships participating in this popular event this coming year. The GLCC summer Rally will be August 16–18 at the Silver Bay Marina. The following weekend, Superior, Wisconsin hosts their annual Dragon Boat Festival which last year involved 100 teams. It includes vendors and music for a festive weekend of fun for a good cause, Cancer research.

Things to see in Superior include the last Whaleback ship on Barker Island. In Duluth near Bayfront, you can see the Great Lakes Aquarium, a fresh water facility exploring our natural resources; and the Depot, with it's historical train museum, including the opportunity to ride on an original steam train. There is also a train ride to Two Harbors, Minnesota, along the beautiful shores of Lake Superior.

Two Harbors is a shipping port which receives large lake carriers on a regular schedule. One of the most visited sites in Minnesota is the Canal Park Shipping Museum located near the historical Lift Bridge and ship canal on Duluth's waterfront. A must see is the Minnesota State Park at Spit Rock on the shores of Lake Superior. This site gives you a window into a lighthouse keeper's life at the turn of the century. The tour of the houses and a restored lighthouse is a worthy use of your traveling time. Other events around the Lake include the annual Fishermans Picnic in Grand Marais, Minnesota, the first weekend in August. Further up the shore one can visit The Old Fort at Grand Portage, Minnesota. If you are in the area, Old Fort William in Thunder Bay, Ontario is always a fun visit with its time period actors to guide you around.

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