Wandering Pine is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you! Learn more.
Im writing this on a gray Minnesota day, with a belly full of coffee and a Tobie’s Cinnamon Roll as big as my head by my side. Since returning from our Superior Hiking Trail 100 Mile Hike, I have been working on slowing down a bit and recalibrating. Don’t worry, I have some projects coming up that I’m really excited about and hope to share here soon!
But this was a perfect weekend to have a big ‘ol rest with a tiny splash of hiking.
My husband, Bob and I got away for the weekend to an amazing tiny house on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. We had planned this trip months ago, to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and intentionally celebrated a little late due to all the things.
The Mister is kind of a tiny house nut, and dreams of building one in the backyard. He’s also the reason we built a treehouse after our kids were too old to play in it. We joke that one day we will have two tiny houses on a lake, with a habitrail connecting the two. So when I heard that Endeavor Tiny Homes was starting construction on a house overlooking Lake Superior, I had to get on it! The idea of a tiny house sounds nice in theory, but when I try to imagine actually living in one with my dearly beloved, it sounds like a good way to drive each other straight into insanity. So, a weekend get away was a perfect test!
We drove up from Minneapolis to Duluth, stopping first at Canal Park. The gales of Lake Superior had 20 ft waves crashing into that section a couple of weeks ago and we were able to see where “The Lady” had left her mark on the shore, scattering rocks, trees and boardwalks. Sadly, the new lake walk was destroyed, but there’s something so mysterious and wonderful about witnessing the power of nature, reclaiming what is hers.
Just North of Duluth, we hit scenic HWY 61, the gateway to the North Shore. It’s one of my favorite drives, like the Pacific Coast Highway, it runs along the shore of the never ending lake. Lake Superior tricks me into believing she is the sea every time.
Every dang time!
Our next stop was a quick trip to Betty’s Pies to grab lunch for the next day. Betty’s Pie’s is a true North Shore landmark and we LOVE their pasties! Beef, turnips, parsnips, carrots, potatoes (Bob had better not read this or he won’t eat them anymore). They sell them to-go, warm or frozen, and we knew we’d want one on a cold day.
Dinner was just down the road at Camp 61 in Beaver Bay. We ate there on our way up to our Superior Hiking Trail Thru Hike last month. I looked at the menu and immediately wanted their brisket street tacos and a Voyager Boundary Waters Brunette Ale again. Bob had a delicious brisket sandwich that was way too big for the bun! The food and service are so great, we almost ate there again on our second night!
Next stop, TINY HOUSE! The house is nestled on a ledge over looking Lake Superior in a little place called Illgen City. Just a short walk from the Superior Hiking Trail, Illgen City is a tiny unincorporated community with a population of 10 that lies within Tettegouche State Park. I don’t know why, but Illgen City sounds like a magical place…like The Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, and possibly where Bigfoot spends his summers.
The house was designed and built in the Spring of 2018 in Wisconsin and moved into its current location in June. Through the power of Instagram, we were able to watch the progress and grow in our excitement. We had hoped to be the first to stay in the tiny house, but pushed things out to work with schedules.
We found the driveway… a winding hill easy that would be easy to miss if it weren’t for the nice markers the tiny house folks put up.
When we entered the house, we found a swag bag! Each guest gets this little bag of goodies upon arrival and some handy welcome instructions in the guest book. We felt like VIPs and really appreciated the gesture. And then… we discovered that a 6 pack of Lakes and Legends craft beer is included as part of our stay. What? Ok, maybe that was just for us. We thought it was so sweet.
We took off our shoes and ran around the cute little abode like happy little mice for a few minutes before hauling our stuff in. It was so clean and still had the smell of fresh lumber. The high flat ceiling and enormous windows made the house feel a lot more expansive than we were expecting. It felt like we were in a giant tree house!
The house sleeps 4 comfortably and can probably squeeze in a couple more little ones or pets if needed. We quickly unpacked and chilled out on the couch bed. As we sat, we noticed all of the purposeful cabinets, cubbies and thoughtful touches that were so wonderfully integrated into the design. Drawers, full of hammocks, lanterns and outdoor things. A cabinet full of movies and games, another couple of drawers with sleeping pads and blankets and even two sweet little wooden hiking sticks with the word “Guest” burned into them.
Their partnership and support of other local Minnesota businesses was also one of the things that drew us to this place. I might be missing a couple, but the home was decorated with elements from ‘Sota Clothing, Duluth Pack, and a kitchen stocked with local beer, organic eggs and locally roasted coffee.
The weekend was cloudy and raining but we never felt cramped or trapped inside. The interior was so warm and relaxing. I read almost and entire book and we enjoyed the close proximity to Palisade Head, Tettegouche, and Gooseberry State Parks.
I originally had grand plans of hiking another 10-15 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail this weekend and chucked all of that out the window to enjoy some rest and much needed time together.
We explored shorter, more scenic hikes to Shovel Point and High Falls on Saturday with a lunch of warm beef pasties (that stayed warm wrapped in foil)!
We joke that he’s as indoorsy as I am outdoorsy, and we still had an amazing time together. It was especially cool to be on the Superior Hiking Trail, even if it was just for a couple of miles.
The weather was starting to turn cold and look like rain, so we decided to head to Split Rock Lighthouse and enjoy the indoor displays along with the face blasting wind that comes up the rock the lighthouse is on. Just when I thought I had worn him out, he suggested we go down the 100+ stairs down to the lake. Of course! As you can see, this was pretty much a dream date for me.
It was so great to share these parks that I love dearly with Bob for the first time. Dinner, after a day in the bone chilling damp was another belly full of comfort food at the Northwoods Family Grille in Silver Bay. We had the most delicious Teriyaki Mushroom and Hawaiian Burgers and looked forward to heading back to the warm tiny house.
Like a day at sea….a cold, misty day on the North Shore can feel cozy and warm but leave you chilled to the bone hours after coming inside. The hot shower in the tiny house was a welcome warm up followed by lots of blankets. It was a perfect ending to our adventurous day.
Morning came, I anxiously peeked out the window from the loft, hoping to catch the sunrise over Lake Superior. But for the second day in a row, I saw fog… It was beautiful in its own way, and reminded me to slow down.
The eggs! I read more of my book, stayed in my PJs just a little longer and whipped up a nice batch of those organic eggs that were left for us in the fridge.
It was time to leave our tiny house.
We were glad for the late check out time and left not a minute sooner. We said goodbye to this little gem, thankful for the memories we had here, and can’t wait to come back in the summer with the kids!
Our final stop on the North Shore was Gooseberry Falls State Park. This Park is the most visited State Park in MN and is quite wonderful for either a quick stop for a view of the falls or a whole weekend of hiking and camping. We opted for a quick little jaunt to the upper and lower falls. There were very few people in the park due to the cold drizzly weather, but we still ran in to Rod Johnson, the founder of Midwest Mountaineering. How cool is that?
Have you ever stayed in a tiny house or dreamed of living in one? Tell me about it in the comments below.
What’s next? Working on a post about my solo hiking trip in 3 beautiful West Central MN State Parks and an upcoming article about Snowshoeing! Hit the subscribe button if you don’t want to miss out.