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Friday, June 17, 2011

vacation in review

Before Henry was born, Dameon and I had a conversation about where we would like to go on a family vacation someday. One of my top 5 picks was Lutsen, Minnesota. It's a little getaway town that sits right on Lake Superior about 50 miles south of the Canadian border. My family went there when I was 14 and we had a great time. And I knew it would be right up Dameon's alley because there are so many things to do outdoors while enjoying the gorgeous scenery. So when Dameon's friend, Mike, asked Dameon to be a groomsman in his wedding we were pumped to discover that the wedding would be taking place in...Lutsen!! Well, I should say, "kinda pumped." It was about the time that Henry started regularly screaming his head off in the car (sometime mid-January) that I started to stress about this trip. 18 hours round trip in the car with a screaming baby? No thanks. I even asked the pediatrician at his 2-month check if there was anything I could do to encourage a better experience in the car because we were going to need to drive to northern Minnesota in June. We're not sure the reason but Henry only makes it to Des Moines about 50% of the time without crying. Other than that, he rarely cries. Weird. When we first started planning this vacation, my parents were going to join us. But then as time went on my dad decided he really couldn't be away from work in the middle of June. So it ended up just being my mom who came along. We were determined to have as much free entertainment as possible, so we brought mom and dad's bike rack and two bikes along, too. We left Winterset around 8 on Thursday morning and headed for Boone. Then was the long drive north. Henry fell asleep around Ames and woke up about 30 minutes into Minnesota. Amazing! We stopped at a gas station and pulled out our picnic lunch (Joyce woulda been proud!!) Then back in the car for another few hours before stopping again for a stretch break. Henry slept off and on but he DID NOT FUSS! About an hour before arriving in Lutsen, we came upon a park called Gooseberry Falls. We had visited there when we had come back in 1998, and my mom encouraged us to stop. We pulled out the stroller and starting hiking along the trail. The weather was beautiful and the waterfalls...amazing!

After about an hour, we got back in the Pilot and headed to our destination. We stayed at a resort that was on Lutsen Mountain. There were ski runs right outside our door. We unloaded and then had dinner at a super good restaurant called Moguls. I had white fish that was caught right there in the lake. Delish! The next morning we decided to take Henry to the pool. This was his first time!
He didn't really have much of a reaction, but seemed to be really relaxed in the water! Good thing since his daddy loves water. Thanks for the swim trunks, Auntie Jess!! During naptime that afternoon, Mom offered to stay with Henry so Dameon and I could take a ride down the alpine slide. Good times! Then it was time to shower and get ready for the rehearsal. We met up with the wedding party down on the beach and discovered that the wedding was going to take place right there along the lake! Beautiful! It was pretty windy and chilly that evening, so they moved the dinner indoors and we had a good time enjoying some yummy food and meeting new friends. Then Dameon headed to the beach bonfire while I went back to check on Henry. The next morning we went on a bike ride and just hung out until the wedding. It turned out to be a gorgeous day...perfect weather for an outdoor wedding. And it was sooooo nice to have Mom there so that I could attend all the festivities with Dameon. The bride looked beautiful and everyone enjoyed themselves.
The next day (Sunday) was Mom's birthday, so we planned a few fun things to celebrate. The morning started with Mom and Dameon going on a (free) canoe tour. They really enjoyed being out on the water and listening to the tour guide tell them all about the area. Then we bought gondola tickets and rode up to the top of the mountain to eat lunch at the restaurant up there. Great views on the way up and Dameon did a good job of distracting the rest of us from our immense fear of heights. (Yes, a little "The hills are alive with the sound of music" was certainly sung.)

Here's a view from the top. You can see the lake way off in the distance...

While we were up there, we did a little hiking. I don't know how much of an outdoor girl I really am, but I did alright. One thing I love about Dameon is that he can find fun in every situation. Couple that with the fact that he loves the great outdoors and we had a serious nature boy on our hands! He left Mom and I in the dust on those trails!! After the ride back down to the bottom, I finally had Mom convinced that she needed to ride the Alpine Slide with me. She hates ski lifts, so this was something that was definitely out of her comfort zone. I felt like if I could get her on the lift, then we were one step closer to getting her on a plane. And then my dad can take her on a trip...I hope. Right after we bought our lift tickets I began to reiterate to Mom how the lift was a super smooth ride, and the ground followed right along with it, so you didn't even feel like you were that high off the ground, etc., etc. Just then, the lift halted to a stop. The worker girl got on her walkie-talkie and then told us that it was no big deal. The guys at the top had just failed to pump the break. (Oh yeah, no big deal!!!) After a lot of back and forth with the maintenance guys, the lift was still not moving and they had to decide to shut down for the day. Mom and I couldn't help but comment, "What if we woulda been her five minutes sooner? We woulda been up there!!" I couldn't help but ask the girl what happens if people get stuck on the lift. She told me they would have to throw a rope up over the brace on the chair and the people have to strap themselves into a harness and lower themselves into a basket. Ha! That's the sort of thing my nightmares are made of. Seriously. So, no alpine slide for Mom. We headed back to the hotel to rest a little and Dameon went for a hike. (GREAT trails and waterfalls right at our resort!!) Then we got cleaned up and headed back to Moguls for a birthday dinner. We sat next to this older couple who were also staying at our resort. As we were waiting to order, the man said to us, "I've never seen a baby who looks so much like his dad!" We all kinda laughed and my mom told him that just that morning at the local coffee shop, the barista had commented on how Henry looks exactly like me. The man scoffed and said, "Was she CRAZY??" We got a good laugh out of that. Must mean Henry is a perfect combination of both of us? :) Anyway, we ate some great food and Dameon even said his sandwich was the best he'd ever had. Then it was time for dessert. Chocolate fondue with homemade marshmallows, donut sticks, and strawberries! Plus a Campfire S'mores brownie cake with marshmallow and graham cracker crust. YUM. We capped off the day with a bonfire that Dameon built in the fire pit right outside our hotel room. We had some good conversation and some good laughs. And the weather was absolutely perfect for a fire!
The next morning we hit the road and Henry was a perfect traveler...again! The only time he fussed was the last hour of the trip between Boone and Winterset. SUCH an amazingly good baby. It was a great time full of great memories!

1 comment:

Ruth Ann said...

LOVE it! So glad you all had a great time and your mom could enjoy with you! miss you, friend!