Today, here at least a thousand miles from any ocean, was a day of lighthouses. And a seaport and a maritime museum.
The shore of Lake Superior northeast of Duluth is dotted with lighthouses. My second stop of the morning (the first was at a grocery store) was in the little town of Two Harbors, where I saw a tugboat moored waiting for its next job:
And a lighthouse masquerading as a tree:
It’s just above the end of the pier.
The next lighthouse I saw looked very familiar to me, as I had cross-stitched it and hung it on my living room wall about twelve years earlier:
Split Rock Lighthouse
, obviously. Which I’d always wanted to visit, mostly because it’s such a beautiful lighthouse with its peach-colored brick.
The lighthouse is in a state park, and the Minnesota Historical Society does a living history program there, with tours through the restored keepers quarters and a trip up into the tower, where I admired the beautiful 3rd order Fresnel lens — a clamshell or bivalve lens, the first one like that I’d ever seen. I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but it’s hard to take a decent photo when you can’t back away far enough:
The view from the cliff below the lighthouse.
After the fascinating tour, I saw a little sign that said, “To Lake,” and I thought, oh, there must be a nice little lake nearby. I climbed down all these stairs:
Only to realize that the lake in question was Lake Superior. I’m sorry, but when a lake looks like an ocean, it’s hard to remember that it isn’t one.
You can see from the photo that the birches were starting to turn yellow. It was the beginning of fall color that was to continue until I reached Georgia a month later.
On my way back to Duluth for the night, I stopped in Two Harbors again thinking I’d find a library so I could do email. When I did find the library, it was to discover that they were having their annual book sale. I couldn’t resist, and walked out with a grocery sack full of books to tuck into the corner of Owl’s trunk. Well, I’d been about to run out of evening reading material, anyway…
When I got to Duluth, I parked near the breakwater and enjoyed yet another spectacular view of a lighthouse or two:
And saw a sign for the Lake Superior Maritime Museum
. So I spent the last of my afternoon exploring it. The whole breakwater area was an interesting place to be a tourist, with shops and food booths and restaurants — and expensive places to stay. But I went back to my campground and settled in for the night, and battened down against a thunderstorm that was predicted for later that night.
Sure enough, I woke in the middle of the night to quite the orchestra of thunder and lightning and driving rain. But it had blown through by morning, and left crisp cool air behind it as I headed east to Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.