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Really Need Your Help Please

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Really Need Your Help Please

Hi from the UK

We are seasoned travellers to the US and have done many road trips but do not really know much about Minnesota and wonder if I could please have some advice.

We want to come to the north woods in mid-September 2010 for approx one week and have a B and B in mind In Ely for a few nights. We also want to drive the Gunflint Trail.

We will be flying into Chicago from the UK and want to break the journey up in somewhere nice before Ely, possibly on the shore of Lake Superior where we could maybe stay a couple of nights as well.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.

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1. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

I think a few days on the north shore would be an amazing complement to your trip.

I would consider spending 3-4 days if you want to explore there - and spend them in Duluth and Grand Marais. If you only have time to choose one, spend a day exploring all the beauty on the shoreline and the rest of your time in Grand Marais.

Grand Marais: As far as lodging, Sweetgrass Cove in Grand Portage is my all-time favorite! Book now if you want to ensure your room. 2nd choice would be East Bay Suites or Nelson's Travelers Rest - both very different personalities & amenities.

Duluth: Larsmont Cottages or Fitgers are what I would recommend for various reasons. However, they have much more lodging there - and you'd probably want to stay in Canal Park or downtown as it's a fascinating area. Check out the TA hotel reviews for more information.

Ely is amazing - spend time day-tripping in the Boundary Waters and stargazing on clear nights. YOu won't believe how big and beautiful the sky is up there!

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London, United...
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2. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

Thank you for your suggestions, really appreciate the help. With regards to the Gunflint Trail - does it run from Grand Marais to Ely - I have had a look on a map, but not in great detail. Thanks

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3. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

Great idea, yes it does. Here's a link:

www.gunflint-trail.com/scenicbyway/…

If you'd like to spend a day, the Gunflint Lodge is reportedly really nice.

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4. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

Thanks - I just had a look at that - looks a fabulous place to stay. Can I also please ask what to expect weather wise arounbd mid-September?

minneapolis
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5. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

Also FYI, I had not previously suggested the Gunflint Trail because in the short amount of time you have up north, I would try to see as much diverse beauty as possible. Ely and Gunflint are both gorgeous, but the change in scenery along the shoreline is a great accent to your trip.

September is a toss-up and can be most anything. This year was the most beautiful Sept. we've had in memory - average daytime temps in the 80s and sunny. August was warm and rainy, October was cold and rainy. Your best bet is to watch the weather as the date gets near, it's so unpredictable. The nice thing about September is the crowds are gone (kids back in school) as are the bugs (unless it's warm & rainy).

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6. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

weather.com/outlook/…USMN0503

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Minnesota

Duluth comes to mind as well. We love the area it has lots to offer.

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7. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

Thank you both so much. Can I ask another bit of advice? When we land in Chicago and pick up our rental car, we want to drive maybe 30-45 minutes out of the city to stay overnight after our flight. Any ideas of a good safe place to stop before we head on? Thanks again.

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8. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

Just to clarify--the Gunflint Trail does NOT run from Grand Marais to Ely. It runs from Grand Marais off into the wilderness, basically dead ending without any turns. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/statemap/

To get from Grand Marais to Ely, you have to backtrack along the lake on highway 61 about 50 miles, and then take highway 1 inland.

Other than that, I agree with the other responders--very special places. Lots of times people say that there is nothing like xxxxxxxx, but for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area its true..

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9. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

Hi Mummabear,

Others seem to have answered most of your questions, though perhaps not as much your question regarding driving 30-45 minutes out of Chicago towards Minneapolis. I am going to speak to that question...

Out of Chicago, I'm guessing you will drive US Interstate 90 westbound towards Minneapolis. If you drive 30-45 minutes, based upon my experience driving this road in the past, I would expect you could get as far as either Rockford, Illinois or Beloit, Wisconsin. Either of these towns offers reasonably comfortable hotels and reasonably safe stops. Neither town seemed to offer a lot as far as things to do, but again a decent stop for a place to rest and find food along the road. I have personally stayed in the Holiday Inn Express hotels in each of these towns and, while nothing particularly exciting, were comfortable stays for the night.

One thing to keep in mind regarding the Interstate 90 from Chicago to the Wisconsin state border: this road is a toll road and I believe they only take cash. You will have about 5 toll booth stops along the way and pay cash at each one. They are manned and can offer change if you stay on the main highway, but I don't believe they take credit cards. Have at least 5-10 US dollars for the toll booths, and ideally coin change to include nickels (or 5 cent pieces). If you need a bathroom break, gas break, or food break, you won't have to get off the freeway/interstate as the State of Illinois has "rest plazas" (or they call it something similar) where you can get all the above, just watch for signs.

Once you cross the border into the state of Wisconsin, you will not have any further toll booths.

I hope that helps offer some ideas for stops along the way towards Minneapolis. From either of those towns, you'll have about a 5-6 hour drive to Minneapolis the next day.

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10. Re: Really Need Your Help Please

Consider BlueFin Bay on the North Shore

www.BlueFinBay.com

then do some hiking

Carlton Peak @ Temperence River State Park

Oberg Loop

Eagle Mountain

Pigeon River Middle Falls Trail near Canadian border

and hang out in Grand Marais

in Ely, be sure to check out the Wolf Center and the Bear Center

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