I realize that last post was a bit heavy on the market front and perhaps lacking in all other areas of possible interest, so I will not overly dwell on our sales in this post, but it has to take up some of the space. I’ll save it for the bottom half.
Our first site on the back row. Perfectly acceptable, but it lacks the view we wanted.
We started week two with a move to the lake front row at Woodland Park. This campground has a four tier price structure, ranging from $22 a night for primitive dry camping or tent sites, up through $27 for power and water sites in the middle and back row, $31 for most of the front row serviced sites, and $34 a night for the 11 premium lake front sites on the east end of the front row. All options include a discount if you pay for a week at a time, essentially giving you the seventh day free. Last year the premium lake front sites had a distinct advantage with unobstructed views of Lake Superior while the standard front row sites’ views were mostly blocked by the tree line. They, or mother nature, apparently did some clearing; some of the $31 sites are just as good as the premium ones.
Now that’s better. Lake Superior from in front of our rig at our second site.
Sundays and Mondays during peak season see a lot of campers departing, particularly at the end of the music fest. So we scouted the front row late Sunday looking for posted tickets with an 8/13 departure date, and throughout Monday morning kept an eye on things as people either renewed their spots or left. We hit the dump station and then managed to secure, if not our top choice, a great spot in the front row with a near unobstructed view of the lake.
We also loosened up the purse strings and enjoyed several meals at the Tavern and Fired U.P. Food Truck. The Grand Marais Tavern has reliably great wings and excellent pizza (3 out of 4 times it was excellent, anyway.) The food truck has fantastic burgers: the double is a tower of deliciousness, but watch out for the ghost pepper cheese and bacon burger. I have a pretty decent heat tolerance but it had me near tears. We have yet to visit the Lake Superior Brewing Company or West Bay Diner this year, but it will surely happen before we leave.
In the middle of the week we made a serious day trip all the way back to Sault Ste Marie, and I’m talking the Canada side. During our trip across five of the eastern provinces, we had acquired some incredibly affordable merchandise that Rosemarie was improving upon with her Cricut, and once in the states were surprised that we could not find a source, even Amazon or other online sites, that could come close to the price we had paid. Since we knew they would sell at a nice profit, I made some calls, found some sources in The Soo, and we cleaned them out. We also made a stop at Bulk Barn, a place Rose would truly love to have access to in the US, and a burger at A&W. We stopped by a local farmers market and the Moose Lodge on the US side for a quick drink before heading back to Grand Marais.
We have been fortunate at each of our border crossings with short lines and no drama.
I also finally got a look inside The Pickle Barrel Museum and learned the story behind it. In 1914 comic strip artist William Donahey began publishing strips about miniature people, the Teenie Weenies, in the Chicago Tribune. The strip became fairly popular with wide syndication, and eventually Reid Murdock & Company and Monarch Canned Foods commissioned Donahey to do commercial work featuring the Teenie Weenies. Reid-Murdock funded the construction of a two story artist’s cabin for William and his writer wife in the shape of a giant pickle barrel (the normal sized version of which was a Teeny home in the comic.) The structure was moved from Sable Lake to Grand Marais in 1936, and after decades of gradual degradation, was heavily renovated by the local historical society between 2003 and 2005.
We finished the week with our three markets, though we had to close up our informal “in front of site” sales when management spotted it and said no one was permitted to do that in the campground. No argument, if that’s the rule then so be it. The Thursday Mercantile Coop event was a more subdued affair this week, but since it was only two hours long with live music and more beer and cider tasting, we didn’t mind the limited sales at all.
The Friday downtown Grand Marais pop up event was, surprisingly, better than last week during the music fest. Though the advertisement for it states the hours are “4:30 until ?” the other local sellers told us to set up before 4 and close whenever things seemed dead. Rose was a bit under the weather and elected to stay home and produce more product, so I flew solo, sold well in the first hour and closed down by 5:30. At the recommendation of one of our campsite neighbors I purchased a cinnamon bun (with maple bacon!) from one of the bakers, and it is one of the best I have ever had. I’m buying two next week.
Up at dawn for the trip to Marquette and another phenomenal market for us.
The Marquette market was, shockingly, even better than last week, allowing us to break our very recent record for best sales day despite what appeared to be a less fortuitous assigned table spot. We made even more purchases from fellow vendors: three different types of mushrooms, some interesting juice from the same vendor that provided the beet-ginger concoction last week, a gourmet thing from the Dia de los Tacos food truck, and fresh thick cut bacon from a butcher. We did our usual Walmart, Super One, and gas station stops before making the two hour drive back to Grand Marais.
Aside from profits, one of the things we like about the Downtown Marquette Market is how well run it is. The manager, Myra, has a rotating crop of musicians, food trucks, and special programs to make each week unique.
Just over half way through our stay, this had become one of our best and most successful stops all year. We love the U.P., we love this town, the weather has been great, and the markets incredible.