Friday Weekend Escape to Lake Superior in Minnesota, USA with Brenda S. Anderson

Today we’re escaping for the weekend with my author friend, Brenda S. Anderson, to the North Shore on Lake Superior, Minnesota, USA. Brenda is giving us a tour of Lake Superior in her beautiful home state of Minnesota. Enjoy!

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I’m blessed to live in Minnesota, a state with four seasons and 10,000+ lakes, so I don’t have to travel far when I need an escape. Just a short 2-1/2 hours north of my home in a northern Minneapolis suburb is some of the grandest, yet serene beauty in our world, especially during the fall when leaves turn multitudes of colors.

Our first stop is always the Canal Park area of Duluth. It’s a narrow peninsula that’s home to old warehouses and boutique shops, which alone make it a place of interest, but it’s the shoreline of Lake Superior that really draws the eye. Smart car-sized, ragged boulders are strewn along the shore. And jutting out from the shore is a concrete canal that ushers large freighters into the Duluth harbor. People love watching the Aerial Lift Bridge rise when a ship wants passage.

Panorama of Lift Bridge and Rocky Shoreline (600 x 105)

At the end of each side of the canal are lighthouses that look out to the great lake.

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From Duluth we drive up along the North Shore taking Interstate 35 to its end where it becomes Minnesota 61. You veer off of 61 for several miles, taking the North Shore Scenic Drive which stays close to Lake Superior, offering breathtaking vistas as you drive.

On a typical visit, we’ll drive to Split Rock Lighthouse, roughly 48 miles from Duluth. This lighthouse was completed in 1910 after a 1905 hurricane-like storm on Lake Superior claimed many ships and lives. Today this lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States with its impressive rise above the oft-turbulent waters. And while it’s no longer used to warn ships of rocky danger, this lighthouse is a very popular tourist destination.

Split Rock Lighthouse (473 x 600)

Heading back toward Duluth from Split Rock Lighthouse, we stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park. This park is home to a series of spectacular falls carrying Gooseberry River waters out to Lake Superior. It’s easy to spend an entire day traversing the trails, viewing the falls from various angles, then making your way to Superior. At the time the picture below was taken, we’d had a fairly dry summer, so the falls weren’t roaring as much as they usually do. Still, it’s a fantastic site!

Gooseberry Falls 2 (600 x 450)

Then heading home, it wouldn’t be a trek to the North Shore without stopping at the most quaint candy shop ever, the Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen. This shop is located on the North Shore Scenic Drive in the little town of Knife River. The store’s just a half a block off the lake. You won’t find any processed, shipped candy here. It’s all made on site, the old-fashioned way, and it’s all mouth-watering, eyes-roll-back-in-your-head delicious.

Candy Store (600 x 436)

So, if you’re ever in Minnesota, take the short jaunt up along the North Shore. And if you want to make more than a single day of it, you can drive all the way to the Canadian border, and take in even more spectacular beauty!

Brenda S Anderson 2 (600 x 446)

Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is currently President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 26 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.

Her debut novel, CHAIN OF MERCY, came out in April of 2014, and PIECES OF GRANITE, a prequel, will release in November of 2014.

Connect with Brenda

Website: http://brendaandersonbooks.com/

Blog: http://inkspirationalmessages.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaSAndersonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrendaSAnders_n

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/brendabanderson/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8144547.Brenda_S_Anderson

Chain of Mercy

They forgave him for the accident that killed their son, but he will never forgive himself.

Manhattan businessman Richard Brooks was at the top of the world, drunk with success, wealth, and women. Until one disastrous evening, when his world came crashing down.

Richard flees to Minneapolis where he repairs ancient boilers instead of solving corporate problems, and he’s determined to live the solitary life he now deserves.

But Executive Sheila Peterson has other plans for the handsome custodian. Richard appears to be the perfect match for the no-strings-attached romance she’s after, but she soon discovers that he’s hiding more than the designer suits in his closet.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chain-Mercy-Coming-Home-Volume/dp/0985723572/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1412718525&sr=8-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chain-of-mercy-brenda-s-anderson/1119198623?ean=9780985723576&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-je6NUbpObpQ-_-10:1&r=1

BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Chain-Mercy/Brenda-S-Anderson/9780985723576?id=5976155671749

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id871577884?mt=11

USA trip: The Great Train Adventure

Last Friday I shared the highlights from watching my first live American baseball game in Seattle. Suzie is a big fan of train travel and we decided to travel together to the ACFW writing conference in Indianapolis on the train. The Amtrak Empire Builder train travels along the main northern train line from Seattle to Chicago. Our plan was to catch a connecting train in Chicago to Indianapolis. Below is a photo of the Empire Builder train at King Street Station, Seattle.

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Suzie and I shared a roomette. During the day we had two seats facing each other, with a fold up table between us. At night the seats converted into a lower bed and an overhead shelf was pulled down to create an upper bunk bed. The sleeper carriages have an attendant who looks after you, and all your meals are provided in the dining car.

Amtrak have recently announced their new Writer in Residency program. They are offering free trips for writers, and I can understand why many writers are interested in applying. Suzie and I spent most of our time on the train writing and brainstorming new book proposals while we enjoyed the scenery. I started brainstorming and outlining three new book proposals that I hope to sell to my publisher.

There is something inherently relaxing about train travel. I didn’t get a lot of writing done on my current work in progress (The Doctor’s Return, August 2014 release) despite having a deadline less than three months later. My problem (if you can call it a problem, lol) was that I was entranced by the view outside the window. I’m used to seeing gum trees in Australia. The Pacific North West, for example, was a big distraction with miles of fir trees in the gorgeous Cascade Mountains.

We spent two nights on the train. The sun set on our first night while we travelling in Washington toward Spokane. We travelled overnight through the northern part of Idaho and woke up in Montana. The photo below was taken from the train in Montana.

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The Canadian Rockies were on the far northern horizon as we continued our journey through Montana toward North Dakota. The Amtrak staff were super-helpful and the servers quickly learned how I like my English-style cups of hot tea with two percent milk instead of cream. I also tasted grits for the first time, courtesy of another passenger who shared our breakfast table. We met some interesting people during our meal times, and I was delighted to meet a group of Aussies who were travelling to Minnesota.

I’ve always wanted to see prairies, since I was a little girl who loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and the Little House on the Prairie tv series. We travelled through hundreds of miles of flat prairie and beautiful mountain scenery in Montana.

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The sun set in Montana on our second night and we woke in the morning in North Dakota, not far from Fargo. We were supposed to be in Minnesota by morning and stopping for 45 minutes in St. Paul. Suzie and I had arranged to meet our other writing critique partner, Stacy Monson, at St. Paul station. We ended up seeing Stacy for ten minutes on the train station platform. Those precious minutes were a highlight of my trip.

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I was thrilled to see the Mississippi River for the first time in Minnesota. At one stage we stopped beside the river for half an hour while we waited for a freight train to pass us. The stops along the river provided great photo opportunities and another distraction from writing.

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By lunch time on our second day in Minnesota, we knew for certain that we were going to miss our train connection in Chicago to Indianapolis. The Amtrak staff were helpful, and kept us updated on our options during the afternoon and early evening as we travelled into Wisconsin. The sun set before we reached Milwaukee and travelled along Lake Michigan to Chicago, Illinois.

Stop by next Friday to learn about our unexpected overnight stop in Chicago and impromptu road trip to Indianapolis.