I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

On the North Shore

For a long glorious weekend, Paul and I enjoyed the early Gales of November on the shores of Lake Superior. This post is full of cozy photos with bold colors, angry wind, small town charm, and the never-ending views of the big lake they call Gichi-Gami.

As you may remember from my last post, we celebrated 8 lovely years of marriage together on the 15th of October. We had a wonderful evening out at an Italian restaurant we had never been, full of delicious aromas, brick walls, linen table cloths, and candle-light. We clinked our glasses (martini for me, Old-Fashioned for him) to the past, the present, and the future. We talked about our hopes and dreams, favorite memories together, asked each other if we’d do it all over again (yes, please), and went home with larger bellies and bigger smiles.

A few days later, we packed our bags, dropped Rusty off at our friends/old neighbor’s house where he spent lots of time with his best friend and in view of his first home, and hit the road, due North. We took turns driving the 4-hour trip. While he drove, I talked a lot and stared out the window at the quickly changing views. While I drove, he napped and I listened to the PS I Love You soundtrack (all instrumental, so so so beautiful), anxious to see the first glimpse of the lake. It’s always a thrill when you get to the top and a break in the trees shows the big, beautiful, blue pool. (I ask my cousin who lives in Duluth if she ever gets tired of the view when coming home. Of course the answer is no. How could you?)

We stopped at the tiny local general store to stock up on essentials like smoked trout, steaks, veggies, eggs, toast, firewood, and spirits (wine and bourbon, please). We made it to our little getaway as the sun sank beneath the towering trees and the stars began to pepper the inky sky.

If we weren’t walking through the streets of the quaint town of Grand Marais, we were relaxing in the pool and sauna, playing each other in ping pong (I always lose), watching 90’s movies, cooking in the rustic kitchen, or watching the waves roll in at the feet of our rented condo.

We would wake up each day and ask each other, “What do you want to do today?” We weren’t fussed with making plans, just enjoyed living each day as it came to us. We were grateful that we spent most of our time outdoors on the one sunny day during our trip; the other days included gale-force winds, frigid (for October) temperatures, moody skies, and rain showers. But we couldn’t complain. It was a thrill rushing outside to collect as much dry kindling as possible before the rains came in, and we were like giddy little kids testing our invincibility trying to get as close to the shore as we could during the lake’s big storm. (Paul was braver than myself.)

We made fires in the stone fireplace each morning and night, something we missed as soon as we came home. (We have plans for adding one to our own home – I shall keep you posted.) We took our time sipping coffee and eating breakfast each morning together, something we rarely get to do at home. We watched our favorite shows and movies we hadn’t seen since we were young with wine and bourbon in hand. I skipped outside with joy as I saw a sky strewn with stars, just like at our first home. We left the windows and door cracked to listen to the waves while the fire crackled. While he watched football on Sunday, I pulled out my paints and had a lovely afternoon keeping time with brushstrokes.

We traipsed through the tiny wooded peninsula in downtown Grand Marais, jumping across rocks, sliding through mud, and coming out of the trees towards the lighthouse surrounded by blue. Paul skipped rocks until his arm hurt and his skills couldn’t be beat. We ate homemade fudge, shopped in the tiniest book stores painted in the cutest colors, visited with the nicest people, was offered a free haircut for Paul when we realized our debit cards expired and couldn’t get cash (the sweetest barber, Chuck – we didn’t accept his kind offer, but I just love people like him), and ate comfort food with hot coffee always with the lake in view.

I realized how much I have missed the feeling of community; the feeling of content, trust, safety, and togetherness. Our small town we lived in for just 5 years left such a positive impact on me, and now I know what I will be on the hunt for whenever we are ready to move onto the next chapter.

And like we do with most trips, we left with heavy hearts and reminisced about favorite pieces of our time on the lake. We look at homes for sale on the shore (just for fun), try to see if having a fireplace in our home will work, and I write a blog post about it. :)

I hope you enjoyed visiting the North Shore with us. The anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald is coming up soon (psst!! it’s on your calendar) and I’ve got a book I borrowed from my Grandpa about the shipwreck that I’ll be diving into tonight. (My dad used to sing the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” to me when I was a baby and I’ve been told many times that I couldn’t sleep without it. Dad had to even teach baby-sitters the words. :) :))

Okay friends, it’s time to read, finish my cosmo made by Paul (delicious!), and enjoy the coziness that is the month of November. Hope you’re all well. xoxoxo

  1. Melanie says:

    Hi Nikki,
    I’m so glad I saw this post (for some reason I didn’t see it in my email inbox even though I am subscribed!)

    I LOvE love the pictures you took of your trip. All that blue lake and blue sky and fall coziness. I’m so glad you had a wonderful trip. It sounds like you did some dreaming too! So happy for you and Paul!

    I have never heard of “the shipwreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald” so I will be learning about that soon, too!

    That fireplace is AMAZING and I can see why you would want one at your home. We are hoping to get a fire-burning woodstove in the upcoming Winter Season as it has been on my “bucket list” for years.

    I was not able to watch your little video; “no video with supported format…” was the message on the box.

    You look so happy and I am GLAD for you!

    • Nikki says:

      Oh, it’s such a good, sad song. It’s a long song, too. Just a heads up. :) But it’s so beautiful! Oooo, let me know if/when you get a fireplace. We have so many projects around here before we can begin that one, but once we do it will be the coziest. :) Yes, I noticed the video didn’t play well. Boooo. It was such a cool video of the waves crashing about! :) xoxoxo

  2. Tristan says:

    Loved reading your post! Thank you so much for sharing . I loved the moment vicariously through you :). Love you guys! Miss you both! ???

  3. Liz Hencier says:

    Sweetie…I LOVED this post! From the pictures to the stories you shared, I almost felt like I was right there with you!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time together…taking time out of busy schedules to just be with each other and Mother Nature :)!! Love the talents you have been so gifted with, and love you, too, honey!

    • Nikki says:

      Hi Liz! Thank you so much for reading my post! What wonderful compliments. :) Every time I go up North, I think of the gifts you and Cassie gave us for our wedding because you got them in Duluth because of how much I love that area. :)