PR: History buffs find charming destinations in Grand Marais and Cook County

Grand Marais Coast Guard Station historical photo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

History buffs find charming destinations in Grand Marais and Cook County

COOK COUNTY, MINN. – April 16, 2018 – The Grand Marais area is rich with history involving Ojibwe people, French fur traders, and Scandinavian settlers. Tourists interested in the area’s top historical destinations can participate in the Cook County Historical Society’s Passport Program, which encourages them to visit up to 20 area historical locations. http://passporttothepast.org.

Chippewa City Church

In the late 1800’s, the village of Chippewa City had over 100 families, and a tiny Catholic church stood as the center of their village.  Visitors are welcome at St. Francis Xavier Church, built in Chippewa City in 1895 by Ojibwe carpenter Frank Wishkop. It is a serene stop just off Highway 61, at milepost 111, which is one mile east of Grand Marais on Highway 61. In the late 1900’s, it was the hub of the community. The church began as a Jesuit mission for the priests who travelled from the dioceses of Fort William/Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) to hold services with the residents of Chippewa City. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. For more info, see: http://cookcountyhistory.org/chippewa_church

Grand Marais’ Lighthouse

By the early 1900’s, settlement and population growth had progressed slowly.  Fishing and logging became the primary industries, and the current lighthouse was constructed in 1922 for the harbor town of Grand Marais.  The original lighthouse – the first on the North Shore – was made of wood and built in 1885.  A sturdy, concrete breakwater was added and provides access to the lighthouse. Today visitors have access to the lit point, where they can take in a breathtaking view of the harbor and the Sawtooth Mountain range.  Large ships used this harbor for many decades, and they were the main mode of transportation for goods, services, and people until 1928 when the highway connected Grand Marais to the rest of the state.

Cook County Historical Society

In addition to the construction of the lighthouse, the federal government also commissioned the construction of the keeper’s residence, which was built in 1896. This charming structure is nestled on Grand Marais’s main road leading out to Artist’s Point, and currently houses the Cook County History Museum.  Prior to the electrification and computer automation, early lighthouse keepers were needed to trim the wicks, replenish fuel, wind clockworks and perform maintenance tasks. The keeper’s residence now features a variety of historic displays, as well as the beautiful Fresnel lens used in the community lighthouse for more than 100 years.  It was recently replaced, and museum visitors can examine the brilliant craftsmanship in this well-made, sturdy glass centurion. For more info, see http://cookcountyhistory.org/museum

About Visit Cook County

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #visitcc, Twitter @CookCoVisitorsFacebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com.

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Katie Krantz (218) 387-2788 katie@visitcookcounty.com Photos available for the story

PR: June 8-10: Three events in one weekend. Grand Marais welcomes walkers, runners, paddlers, and more

Craft Beer Week at Voyageur Brewing

June 8-10: Three events in one weekend

Grand Marais welcomes walkers, runners, paddlers, and more

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cook County, Minn. – April 13, 2018 – June 8-10 in Grand Marais will encourage visitors to shake off winter and warm up to summer; there are options for visitors with a variety of interests.  The weekend’s events include the first annual Voyage North 5k & 10k, Grand Marais Block Party, and the Boundary Waters Expo on the Gunflint Trail.

The first annual Voyage North 5k & 10k will occur on June 9 at 11a.m. Participants will enjoy the scenic beauty of Lake Superior, surrounding Sawtooth Mountains and the quaint harbor town of Grand Marais. Walkers and runners can finish with a post-race party at Voyageur Brewing Company.

Occurring at the same time will be the first annual Grand Marais Block Party. The block party will include live music, games, vendor booths and more. It will run all day from 9am-5pm.

The third annual Boundary Waters Expo is a family-friendly, hands-on event that features speakers, exhibitors and activities for everyone. It’s a two-day event June 9-10 that celebrates canoeing, camping and wilderness travel. Presenters include Cliff Jacobson, Rob Kesselring, Bear Paulsen and more. The event is free and open to the public. It is located 26 miles north of Grand Marais on the Gunflint Trail.

About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #visitcc, Twitter @CookCoVisitorsFacebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com.

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Katie Krantz Katie@visitcookcounty.com (218) 387-2788 Photos available for the story

Talking Tourism: New Directions – Visit Cook County hosts Board Retreat | by Linda Jurek

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: March 2018

Talking Tourism: New Directions – Visit Cook County hosts Board Retreat | by Linda Jurek

What’s the best way to advance an organization? Retreat.  A board retreat that is.  Many of us have heard of board retreats and in planning for the first ever Visit Cook County retreat, the work done in advance is equally as important as gathering a busy group of board members. Being a younger organization of eight years and having achieved incredible growth and increased tourism traffic were a couple of reasons a board retreat was necessary. Number one for me? I wanted to offer the Visit Cook County (VCC) team and board members the opportunity to step away from their day to day business and provide a chance to exhale and consider the work of our organization. Hosting a retreat in Cook County comes with its own mixed bag of consideration but one of the best is the ability to disconnect with a drive inland – up the Gunflint Trail. And let’s not forget gathering a group of very busy individuals that serve on the boards of our local not for profits in addition to running their own businesses. A retreat should not be burden, and to my delight the vast majority of our board was able to attend.

 

The retreat also served as an opportunity for the team at Visit Cook County to provide thoughtful reflection on their area of expertise including marketing, events, communications, finance and info center operation. The retreat was set up in a sharing circle format with the opportunity to provide verbal and written feedback. Each team member provided a report and was able to receive feedback from the our knowledgeable board leaders. The VCC team reviewed the feedback and provided a brief report prior to kick of the day two work session. Some of the suggested highlights and directives include:

 

  • A review of our mission and vision
  • To focus on sustainable tourism growth with a focus on our slower occupancy months
  • Better identifying the role that Visit Cook County has in supporting local events
  • Improving our metric analytics for our marketing efforts
  • Improved communications with Visit Cook County stakeholders on everything from vacancies to the most popular visitor information requests to promotional opportunities and news alerts
  • Share marketing campaigns and initiatives

 

On behalf of Visit Cook County, a big thanks to the board of directors for providing leadership to continue the growth of tourism in Cook County.

 

2018 Board Retreat Group Photo

Back row (Left to right):
• Roz Randorf, Dale Carnegie (facilitator)
• Anna Klobuchar, Visit Cook County
• Frank Vecchio, Grand Portage Lodge & Casino
• Jennifer Kennedy, East Bay Suites
• Jim Vick – Lutsen Mountains
• Charles Skinner, Lutsen Mountains
• Dave Tersteeg, Grand Marais Rec Park
• Dave Seaton, Hungry Jack Outfitters
• Dennis Rysdahl, Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts
• Nancy Burns, Lutsen Resort
• Scott Harrison, Lutsen Resort
• Beth Kennedy, Birchbark Books & Gifts
• Maggie Barnard, Visit Cook County MN 
• Lisa Bodine, Giant Voices (facilitator)
Front row (Left to right):
• Katie Krantz, Visit Cook County
• Emily Haussner, Caribou Highlands Lodge
• Molly O’Neill, Visit Cook County
• Pascha Apter, Giant Voices
• Linda Jurek, Visit Cook County
• Kjersti Vick, Visit Cook County
Visit Cook County Board Members absent from photo:
• Tom McAleer, Cascade Lodge
• Zach Baumann, Golden Eagle Lodge
• Mike Larson, Cascade Vacation Rentals

 

 

 

 

Cook County News Herald by Linda Jurek, executive director at Visit Cook County MN

PR: Coming soon! April and May are peak months for waterfall season on the North Shore

View of the Aurora Borealis from High Falls at Grand Portage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

April and May are peak months

Waterfalls in Cook County can roar from April through October

Grand Marais, Minn.January 30, 2018 – The North Shore of Minnesota’s unique geography provides perfect conditions for a vigorous waterfall season. As the ice on the inland lakes break up and the snow begins to melt, a deluge of water rushes toward the lowest point, Lake Superior, and through the ancient Sawtooth Mountain range.

The months of April and May are peak for waterfall season, but the rivers can begin breaking up as early as late March and continue at peak flow until June. Sometimes, as winter storms approach there can be a consolidated river rush in late October or early November.

Estimating peak waterfall season: Watching the weather forecast is a good way to narrow down the timeframe for waterfall breakup. The days need to be sunny and warm enough to melt the snow and ice up stream, generally 50-degrees Fahrenheit or higher for a few consecutive days.

 

“While they are at their peak in the spring season, waterfalls can be enjoyed all year long,” says Linda Jurek, executive director of Visit Cook County. “In the winter time, the waterfalls freeze and create scenic ice sculptures. In the summer, the rivers are warm enough to take a hike through. Using caution, you can find hidden falls that can’t be seen by a hiking trail. In the fall, the blue rush of water is the perfect contrast to the fall colors.”

High Falls is the tallest and most majestic waterfall in Minnesota; it is located in Grand Portage State Park and is part of the Pigeon River north of Grand Portage. At 120 feet high, this beauty is unforgettable.

Go to the Waterfalls page of our website for a printable map of the top 15 waterfalls in the county and more touring details:

https://www.visitcookcounty.com/waterfall-watching 

About Visit Cook County 

 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #visitcc, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com.

 

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Kjersti Vick (218) 387-2788 kjersti@visitcookcounty.com Photos and video available for the story