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Paradise Beach

paradise-beachLooking for agates or a great public beach to visit near Grand Marais? Paradise Beach is the place to go! This long and winding beach is a great place to take a leisurely stroll while keeping your eye out for your next big payday!

Paradise Beach is also a very close to an entry point to the Superior Hiking Trail to take a hike and enjoy the views of the Lake. There are also picnic tables located along the shore to stop and enjoy a nice meal. Who doesn’t love a meal on the shore with the sound of freshwater waves crashing on the sand?

Private development is slowly cutting away at the shores, so we must do everything we can to cherish such quaint places. At Paradise Beach you will have miles to stroll and let your mind wander. It is the perfect place to go to enjoy a calm, peaceful day away from everything in the world.

To get there: The pullout is just north of the Kadunce River, 8.5 miles north of Grand Marais.

 

Posted on November 15th, 2016 in Uncategorized |


McQuade Small Craft Harbor

McQuade Small Craft Harbor

If you’re looking for a day to watch ships come in and out of the harbor but don’t want to deal with the large crowds of tourist in Canal Park of Duluth, look no further. McQuade Small Craft Harbor is the perfect place to enjoy a calm, but interesting day watching small crafts come in and out of the harbor. Although they might not be the biggest vessels, this harbor has seen increased boat traffic for many years.

This public access facility was developed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the US Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis County, and the City of Duluth. Combining their resources and knowledge, the Harbor was developed and includes boat and kayak launching areas, both east and west breakwaters to shelter the harbor, and several picnic areas for spectators to enjoy the views. There are also 3 platforms to fish from shore!

Whether you’re looking to put your boat in the water for a day on the lake, picnic with your family and enjoy the views, or just come for a leisurely stroll around the harbor, McQuade Small Craft Harbor is a great place for all those things. There is also plenty of parking and it is very accessible for pedestrians!

mcquade-small-craft-harbor_july2016-4_2 To get there: Follow Scenic Highway 61 out of Duluth for approximately 9 miles, then look for the McQuade Small Craft Harbor sign on your right.

 

 

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Cascade Vacation Rentals offers the largest selection of vacation rental homes, cabins, hotels and cottages on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our rentals cover a large area from Duluth to Grand Portage and inland up the Caribou Trail, Gunflint Trail and throughout Cook County. View rentals by location (DuluthTwo HarborsSchroederTofteLutsenGrand MaraisGunflint Trail) or category type (pet-friendlylarge homes, inland lake homes, etc) at www.cascadevacationrentals.com.

 


 

Check back often for updates on where to go and the top things to do on your next North Shore visit.

Posted on November 4th, 2016 in Uncategorized |


Sweden, Turkey and Lutsen?

Sweden Turkey and Lutsen

What do Sweden, Turkey and Lutsen, Minnesota have in common? Believe it or not…coffee! Well, kind of.

Recently, three of Cascade Vacation Rentals Turkish staff members taught Josh of Fika (a Swedish word for coffee break) Coffee Shop in Lusten how to make Turkish coffee. Since it’s likely you haven’t heard of Turkish coffee, we thought we’d share the scoop with you and let you know how you might be able to find a cup yourself.

img_8028Turkish coffee is a method of preparation for coffee that is quite different from the traditional method. Using methods and techniques that date back almost six centuries, this style gives it a taste that is somewhat different. Many people would say it’s much better than the traditional taste. The beans are simmered, not boiled, in a pot and served with the option of sugar where the grounds are allowed to settle. Turkish coffee is said to be more of a social affair as people tend to slowly sip their cup, savoring the dark, rich taste.

The earliest evidence of this type of coffee dates back to the late 15th century when it spread to Cairo and Mecca. In the 1640’s, the Ottoman Bosnian chronicler Ibrahim Pecevi was named the first person to open a coffeehouse in Constantinople using the Turksish style of preparation.  Today, Turkish coffee is found all over the world including Indonesia, Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Caucasus, the Balkans, Middle East… and Lutsen!

Unlike your traditional cup of coffee brewed from a pot, Turkish coffee has its own unique style of being prepared, and it’s quite fascinating! In essence, it is a method of preparing unfiltered coffee, not a kind of coffee, which gives it a much bolder, richer taste. There is no special type of bean to prepare it, but the beans are pounded into the finest possible powder that make it finer than any other method of preparation. The grinding is either done in a mortar, a small device used since ancient times consisting of a bowl and a club-shaped object for pounding, or in a burr mill, a larger grinding device used for larger quantities of beans. After the beans have been grounded, the grounds are immersed into water or milk that is hot, not boiling, long enough to dissolve the grounds. The final product is served in a small cup with your choice of the amount of sugar.

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While we learned all about the history and how to prepare the coffee from our Turkish friends, we also learned that a few other fun facts about Turkish coffee. For example, when a Turkish man wants to marry a Turkish woman, he and his family travel together to the woman’s home to ask her family for her hand in marriage. While his family is there, the woman prepares Turkish coffee for her suitor and his family. If she is daring and wants to have a little fun, she may add salt to his coffee. If the suitor tastes the coffee and does not react to its unpleasant taste, the woman considers her suitor to be a patient man worthy of marriage.

Learning about Turkish coffee and culture was something we enjoyed, and we know you will, too! So, the next time you’re in Lutsen, stop by Fika Coffee Shop and request a cup of Turkish coffee to experience it for yourself.

 

 

Posted on October 31st, 2016 in Uncategorized |


Fika Coffee

Josh is the owner of Fika Coffee in Lutsen Minnesota


This summer, Fika Coffee Shop opened in Lutsen, Minnesota. It has become a destination that people from all over the country flock to, not only because of the delicious coffee served, but because the owner, Josh, has big dreams for the company. Find a video and our recent interview with him below.

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I have three children: Claire 9, Sophia 8, and Leif 5. My wife Stephanie is a kindergarten teacher at Sawtooth. I was born in Grand Marais and my family moved away when I was 8. We moved away for reasons that are still very common now: affordable housing & sustainable employment.

 

Q: When did you start roasting coffee and how did you learn how?

A: My first coffee shop job was during college at the Dunn Bros in the Roseville Library. I would watch and talk with the roasters there. Shortly after that I got a job roasting coffee for the Dunn Bros in Stillwater. In 2009, after taking a break from coffee employment, my wife and I moved our two girls to Muncie, IN where I did a two year internship at a church that owned a coffee roasting company and a coffee shop. For two years I took ministry classes in the morning and worked in the roastery in the afternoon. It was there that I learned most. I got to work with some great people who are still doing awesome work within the specialty coffee culture.

 

Q: When did you come up with the idea of Fika Coffee ?

A: When I was in Muncie I was thought about names for a coffee roaster/shop. One day I did a google search for Scandinavian words that mean coffee and came across the word fika. It’s like I already knew what it meant but I did not have a word for it.

 

Q. What does Fika mean?

A: It’s  the swedish word for coffee break. The word can be used as a noun for the name of the coffee break but it’s also a verb – it’s what you do when you pause from life and share a coffee/drink, and maybe something to eat, with someone.

 

Q: Tell us about your coffee?

A: We currently offer an organic dark roast from Mexico, a seasonal blend (a medium roast – it’s what we use for our espresso based drinks too), and a few single origin coffees (light to medium roast).

 

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A:  The people, all the people I meet. Whether it’s a retail customer, a wholesale customer, the delivery man, or the people growing and processing the coffee. We are all different and have different stories but we all share one thing – a love of coffee.

 

Q: What has been the best surprise about running your business?

A:  Things move fast! We opened the shop right after we passed our inspection. It was June 20th and people where knocking at the door, so we opened up because we had to…we had bills to pay! Things also don’t always go as I have planned or played out in my mind, so there is a lot of adjusting “on the fly”.

 

Q: How do you choose the beans you roast?

A:  I work with several different imports. How I work with each one is a little different. For example, here in Minnesota is Cafe Imports, which is one of the best green bean importers in the states. They are located in Minneapolis. They have anywhere from 3.5 to 5  million pounds of green beans at any given time. I have a sales rep there, Joe. He knows what kind of coffee I like so he can either point me in the direction of a coffee to purchase or he can send me samples. If he sends me 5 little samples of Colombian coffee, I sample roast them, cup them and decide which one I would like to buy.

 

Q: If I remember correctly, you went on a trip in the past year to learn more about the beans you use. Tell us about that trip. 

A:  Yes, I went to Guatemala in March of this year. I went down there with one of my importers, Onyx Coffee. Onyx Coffee only imports coffees from Guatemala. They actually own a coffee farm there too. Last fall I purchased my first coffee from them and then in March I was able to go down there to meet the farmer who grew my beans. While I was there I visited a couple of farms, learned a lot about the process that coffee goes through before it arrives at our roaster. I met some really great people too. There was a handful of different roasters down there from all over the world, from Cali to Denmark. While I was there, I cupped (tasted) about 90 different coffees and chose two to purchase.

 

Q: What inspires you?

A:  People. Doing something different. I have big dreams, I don’t just want to roast coffee, have a coffee shop and have people work for me. I want to create a business that is sustainable and create jobs for people that allow them to support their family and buy a house. I want them to love to come to work, take employees on coffee origin trips, offer paid vacation, etc. Crazy things like that inspire me. They are all awesome things and can be done. But, how? That’s what inspires me: the “how”, and the surprises along in this adventure.

 

Q: Tell us something about Fika that most people don’t know.

A:  In Sweden fika, for the most part, is not optional!

 

Q: How can people get their hands on your coffee?

A:  Our shop 5327 W. Highway 61, Lutsen MN 55612. Stop in and say hi!

We also have a website, a blog and an online store where you can buy all of our coffees! Visit it at fikacoffee.com. People can even sign up for a personal subscriptions too!

Cascade Vacation Rentals fans can save 15% on any online coffee purchase made by November 2, 2016 at fikacoffee.com. Use coupon code “cascadecoffee” at checkout to receive the discount.

 


 

Cascade Vacation Rentals offers the largest selection vacation rental homes, cabins, hotels and cottages on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our rentals cover a large area from Duluth to Grand Portage and inland up the Caribou Trail, Gunflint Trail and throughout Cook County. View rentals by location (DuluthTwo HarborsSchroederTofteLutsenGrand MaraisGunflint Trail) or category type (pet-friendlylarge homes, inland lake homes, etc) at www.cascadevacationrentals.com.

 


 

Check back often for updates on where to go and the top things to do on your next North Shore visit.

Posted on October 21st, 2016 in Uncategorized |


Grand Marais Lighthouse

Grand Marais Minnesota Lighthouse

The lighthouse that sits in Grand Marais has become a destination for many visitors to the area. If you’ve been to Grand Marais, it’s likely you’ve walked along the breakwall to visit the square pyramidal structure, but do you know the history behind it?

The Grand Marais lighthouse was built in 1885 on the eastern end of the harbor breakwater. In the year or two prior, construction was completed on the piers that guarded the harbor entry. These new piers required a light and fog signal to guide mariners through the opening, so congress allotted just over $9,500 for a set to be installed. Charles E. L. B. David who was the Eleventh District Engineer Captain at the time created the construction plans using surplus parts in order to reduce costs.

In 1902 a second light was added to the west end of the harbor using a cast iron post with a small area for oil storage. After the lights were installed, many major repairs were made, especially to the original light on the east pier. Various lighting systems were used over the years until they both were automated in 1937. At that time, a light keeper was no longer needed.

Today, the lighthouse is managed by the Cook County Historical Society. The keeper’s dwelling, which was later built in 1896, still stands near the shore near the lighthouse and is currently being operated as a museum. The museum is open to the public during the summer months.

 

 


 

Cascade Vacation Rentals offers the largest selection vacation rental homes, cabins, hotels and cottages on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our rentals cover a large area from Duluth to Grand Portage and inland up the Caribou Trail, Gunflint Trail and throughout Cook County. View rentals by location (DuluthTwo HarborsSchroederTofteLutsenGrand MaraisGunflint Trail) or category type (pet-friendlylarge homes, inland lake homes, etc) at www.cascadevacationrentals.com.

 


 

Check back often for updates on where to go and the top things to do on your next North Shore visit.

 

 

 

 

Posted on October 17th, 2016 in Uncategorized |