We are now at the start of the busiest time of the year here on the North Shore. We wanted to share some updates, suggestions, and information to help you prepare for your summertime trek up to Lake Superior’s North Shore. Here are your summer 2022 updates filled with things you probably need to know before heading up to your vacation rental!
EVENTS AND HOLIDAYS!
4th of July celebrations, Bay Days, Heritage Days, Fisherman’s Picnic, Rendezvous Days, and more are all happening this summer. Check out our Events Guide to see when and where our annual events are happening. One specific weekend we wanted to bring to the attention of our guests is the first weekend in August. This week is already busy thanks to Grand Marais’ annual Fisherman’s Picnic, the most popular annual event in Cook County. In 2022, things will get even busier as this is the weekend of the Festival of Sail (formerly the Tall Ships Festival). Due to work being done on Duluth’s Lakewalk, the event was moved from Duluth to Two Harbors. They are expecting up to 100,000 people to converge on the small town of Two Harbors that weekend. As anyone who has traveled the North Shore in the summer knows, the most congested part of the trip up the shore already is Highway 61 through Two Harbors. With numerous stop signs, narrow roads, and no direct way to bypass, you should plan a lot of extra time to get through town if you are heading further up the shore that weekend. Especially if you are driving up Thursday or Friday and driving back on Sunday. How to avoid this? You can either come up earlier (Tuesday would be ideal) or stay longer (until Monday, at least). You can also take Country Road 12 to bypass most of Two Harbors, but we expect this route to also be popular and there may be long back-ups at the end as you do have to come into Two Harbors on the northeast end of town. So, take alternative routes with caution! Plan ahead. Stopping to get gas or food in Two Harbors may be impractical that weekend.
It’s pretty safe to say that the buzz on the North Shore this summer, both literally and figuratively, is the bugs! Black flies start to get less ferocious as the summer goes on and we’ve already started seeing a drop in local reports on the black fly situation. However, mosquitoes are still present and seem to have increased in numbers this year. A good bug spray is essential this year when heading out for your North Shore adventures. If you are heading deep into the woods, consider a head net. Combine with wearing long pants and shirts to help keep you protected from too many bug bites. If you forget to pack your bug spray, don’t worry! We have you covered. Bug spray and head nets can be found at numerous stores locally.
We also recommend keeping doors closed when you’re in your home. Keeping doors open is the fastest way to fill your vacation rental with mosquitoes who will not hesitate to harass you as you try to enjoy your vacation. They like to enter when you first arrive and are bringing in your luggage, especially. It’s helpful to have someone manning the door who can open and close it as quickly as possible for you. Mosquitoes also like to sneak in through deck and patio doors. Especially when you’re bringing food outside for a summertime BBQ. Just remember to open and close doors quickly.
As the joke goes, Minnesota’s fourth season is Road Construction. This year does have some road construction projects that may affect your travels north. From I-35 in Duluth to Pike Lake Road in Grand Marias, there are a few projects you might need to know about. Here is a list of some road construction projects that may affect your trip:
- Duluth I-35 “Can of Worms” Interchange: This project started in 2021 and will go through October of 2023. It affects both sides of traffic on I-35 through Duluth. Expect slow speeds and occasional delays through Duluth.
- Highway 61 Bridge Replacement: This is also a project that started in 2021 and is expected to go through the fall of 2022. Two areas to slow down and be aware is the area right by Betty’s Pies and then just outside of the Silver Creek Tunnel. Speeds slow to 40 mph, often slower. There may be occasional stops and delays.
- Pike Lake Road Closure: Located outside of Grand Marais, this project will specifically affect guests staying at Cabin Sweet Cabin and Woodsy Cabin. Guests at those cabins will take a 20-minute detour to bypass Pike Lake Road. The detour itself adds less than 10 minutes onto the total drive to the cabin, so it’s not too bad. Also, Burt the Yurt guests who want to explore the surrounding area, like the Cascade River. Pike Lake Road will be closed with detours to Pike Lake for the summer of 2021. The Cascade River bridge, which is popular for swimming and hiking, will not be available this summer.
However, there is good news! The 2-year-long Highway 61 project through Grand Marais is DONE! If you visited Grand Marais in 2020 and 2021, you know what I’m talking about.
Summer of 2021 visitors likely recall, very clearly, the fires in the Boundary Water’s Canoe Area Wilderness and along Highway 1 that affected the North Shore. Combined with numerous Canadian fires, the area experienced several weeks of smoke and haze. In fact, the smoke reached as far away as the Twin Cities! Luckily, so far, the summer of 2022 has received more rain and residual moisture from our very snowy winter. We are hopeful that the summer of 2021 will not repeat itself as far as fire danger and smoke.
That being said, July and August are historically drier months than June. As you head up the shore, keep your eyes out for the Smokey the Bear signs showing the current fire danger. If the rating is “High” or above, you may want to avoid having a campfire.
There may also be campfire bans in place at some point this summer. If they happen, we will let you know about it on the Cascade Vacation Rentals Facebook page.
And that’s it, for now, for our Summer 2022 Updates. If anything else comes up, we will add them to this post. So bookmark and check back before your trip Up North! It’s been a beautiful summer so far, we can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer will bring!