Talking Tourism: Visit Cook County Welcomes New Members to the Team! | by Linda Jurek

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: June 2018

Talking Tourism: Visit Cook County Welcomes New Members to the Team! | by Linda Jurek

The information center and administrative offices of Visit Cook County have welcomed two new members to their team.

Joining the administrative office team is Lily Nelson-Pedersen who has replaced Katie Krantz as the event resource coordinator. During the summer of 2015, the board of directors encouraged the creation of this position. Although you might think the event resource role was designed to coordinate events, the responsibilities are much greater. Lily is responsible for the content of the monthly event newsletter and all website listing for the events in Cook County. The events are those welcoming all visitors. The county 1% lodging tax supports our marketing and/or production of events and programming. This is no small task. Twenty-two events were added during fiscal year 2017-18. Lily is no stranger to Cook County. She is a 5th generation family member to our area and a 2009 CCHS graduate.

Carah Thomas-Maskell is a familiar face and a welcomed member to the information center team. Visit Cook County maintains information centers in Tofte and Grand Marais. And although there is certainly and ebb and flow to the county’s tourism traffic, the busy team of the information centers welcomed 22,000 visitors in 2017. Carah not only brings a vast knowledge of Cook County to her position, she is a seasoned writer and photographer.  Carah has traveled extensively and is a 1978 CCHS graduate.

Both Lily and Carah work in the Visit Cook County location in Grand Marais. Please stop by and welcome them to the team.

Photo: 2018 new hires at VCC, Lily Nelson-Pedersen and Carah Thomas Maskell

2018 new hires at VCC, Lily Nelson-Pedersen and Carah Thomas Maskell

PR | Cook County Communities Celebrate a Small Town Fourth of July with Kids’ Bands, Parades, Fireworks, and a 10k Wilderness Run

Tofte 4th of July Fireworks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Cook County Communities Celebrate a Small Town Fourth of July

with Kids’ Bands, Parades, Fireworks, and a 10k Wilderness Run

 

Cook County, Minn. – June 8, 2018 – Celebrate the 4th of July away from bustle of the city in the small towns of Tofte, Grand Marais, and Grand Portage.  There’s something for everyone, kicking off with a 10k wilderness trail run, The Tofte Trek.

 

Stay for the day in Tofte to enjoy their annual Fourth of July festivities, including food vendors, arts and crafts for sale, a beer garden, and a parade.  Then travel down the shore to Grand Marias and enjoy the family friendly kids’ band, The Bazillions, playing in Harbor Park before the fireworks.  All three communities of Tofte, Grand Marais, and Grand Portage have spectacular fireworks displays at 10 p.m., under the stars, over Lake Superior.

 

The Tofte Trek is a local favorite, notorious for being a very muddy start to your Fourth of July celebration. It has been held for 39 years and offers awards for the top male and female in each division of runners and walkers.   The event takes place at the Birch Grove Community Center, 9 Good Neighbor Hill Road, Tofte, Minn. 55615.

 

After the trek, Tofte continues the celebration “downtown”.  Enjoy live music, a bite to eat and cold beer while listening to live music or watching the parade.  After the parade, the much anticipated “Tofte Citizen of the Year” will be announced.  “Come join in an all-day Fourth of July party,” says Linda Jurek, executive director of Visit Cook County.  “Locals and visitors alike will enjoy a small town Fourth of July.”

 

 

It’s a grand Fourth of July in Grand Marais and Grand Portage.

Just 20 minutes away, Grand Maris is celebrating with kids’ band, The Bazillions, playing from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. in Harbor Park.  Visitors can hang out with their families before the fireworks, get a cup of coffee, and set up camp on the beach and enjoy fireworks framed by the picturesque harbor – lighthouse, sailboats and stars included.  Lucky visitors can watch the fireworks from the water on a boat, kayak, paddle board, or canoe and get a peep at Tofte’s fireworks show in the distance.

 

At dusk, visitors also can head further north to Grand Portage, which has a huge fireworks display over the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino.

 

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.

Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County 218.387.2788 linda@visitcookcounty.com

PR | Celebrate the Gunflint Trail and Support the Fire Department at the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races at Gunflint Lodge July 18

Gunflint Trail Canoe Races

MEDIA CONTACTS

Lynn Nelson | LIN Public Relations, Inc.                                          Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County

612.990.0126                                                                                       218.387.2788

lnelson.linpr@gmail.com                                                                    linda@visitcookcounty.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Celebrate the Gunflint Trail and Support the Fire Department at the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races at Gunflint Lodge July 18

 

Cook County, Minn.May 31, 2018 — In 1976, friends and neighbors on the upper Gunflint Trail organized the first Gunflint Trail Canoe Races to raise money for worthy causes benefiting all on the Trail. Since then only one year was cancelled – 1999 – when the great BWCA Blowdown occurred just a few days before the scheduled Races.

 

This year the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races will be held at The Gunflint Lodge on the south shore of Gunflint Lake, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, beginning at 4:30 pm. The underlying mission of the Races is to support the efforts and growth of the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department (GTVFD).

 

According to GTVFD Chief Jim Morrison: “Funds from the Canoe Races support GTVFD Emergency Medical Services. We have ordered a new ambulance.  It is a type 1 Ford 450, 4×4.  It will also have a Stryker power cot and loader.  These additions will make for much safer operations for responders and patients.  This vehicle will also provide a much gentler ride to town.

 

“We have also added glucagon,” notes Morrison, “which is an IM injection for folks who are having a diabetic crisis and are unconscious.  With the increasing problem with opioid overdose we have also added Narcan.  Thanks to all the donations we receive from the community we are able to provide these services and continue to upgrade them.”

 

There’s something for everyone at the 2018 Gunflint Trail Canoe Races!

  • Fifteen (15) Canoe Races for multiple ages and abilities and plenty of space to cheer on your favorites from Trail resorts and campsites. All are welcome to register onsite. Bring your own canoe and paddles.
  • A Food Tent with delicious, well-priced BBQ and more, prepared and served by Gunflint Lodge staff, will make for a great supper on the Trail. Food service starts at 4:30 pm.
  • Auctions – both Silent and Live. Items will come from up and down the Trail and throughout Cook County, including many hand-made treasures. One highlight of the live auction will be a hand-made quilt, created from souvenir tee-shirts of resorts along the Trail!
  • A commemorative, fund-raising 2018 Canoe Races tee shirt will be available onsite and at Trail Center on weekends before the Races for just $20.
  • Last but not least, a lucky $5 raffle ticket holder will win a bright yellow Current Designs Solara 120 Kayak, worth $800! Winner to be announced just after the concluding fun-to-watch Gunnel Canoe Race. The Kayak will be on display at Trail Center prior to the Races. Raffle tickets are available at numerous resorts and from volunteers.

 

An active committee of the Gunflint-Seagull-Saganaga Property Owners Associations, working with volunteers from up and down the Trail, have made the Races a success for 40 years. This year’s overall chairman, Bob Baker, Sr. of Gunflint Lake, notes, “the Canoe Races are a true expression of how our Gunflint Trail community works together to make living in the wilderness better and better each year, for residents and visitors alike.”

 

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.

 

Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County PH# 218.387.2788 Email: linda@visitcookcounty.com

PR | ‘Art Along the Lake: Fall Studio Tour’ Ablaze with Unique handcrafted artwork and Fall color Sept. 28 – Oct. 7

Art Along the Lake Fall Studio Tour

MEDIA CONTACTS

Lynn Nelson | LIN Public Relations, Inc.                            Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County

612.990.0126                                                                         218.387.2788

lnelson.linpr@gmail.com                                                    linda@visitcookcounty.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

‘Art Along the Lake: Fall Studio Tour’ Ablaze with Unique artwork and Fall color Sept. 28 – Oct. 7 in Cook County

 

Cook County, Minn.May 31, 2018 –  Imagine the visual excitement visitors will experience when viewing artwork by 50-plus local artists, who are inspired by one of Minnesota’s premier destinations on the North Shore.  Cook County is where the Sawtooth Mountains meet the shores of Lake Superior, and it will be ablaze with Fall color during the annual “Art Along the Lake: Fall Studio Tour” Sept. 28 – Oct. 7.

 

On the tour, visitors will have the opportunity to meet with artists in their home studios, as well as visit with guest artists at local galleries during the 10-day art extravaganza.  For many featured artists, these 10 days are the only time they open their studios to the public all year. Access to some of the artists featured on the fall art tour is limited, since they do only a few art shows per year and limited online sales.  “We have had customers fly in from around the country to come to the Studio Tour.” Said Dan and Lee Ross, who are sculpture and print artists.  Last year, there were more than 1,350 fall art tour visitors.

 

Featured Artists and Studios

Dan and Lee Ross, a local husband and wife sculptor team have been participating in art tours in Cook County and around the country for more than two decades.  The Crossing Borders Studio Tour was a popular fall art event in Cook County for 20 years.  The Ross’ were some of the original artists to found this event 20 years ago.  Last year Crossing Borders became “Art Along the Lake: Fall Studio Tour”.  The Ross’ are well-known in the art world for their work, which ranges from small hand-held clay pieces to large scale commissions carved out of granite. In 2011, they did a major installation of five large granite animals for a healing garden at the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.  You can view their work at: http://www.danross-leeross.com/.

 

One of the newest galleries to open on the North shore is the Frykman Art Studio in Grand Marais.  It is owned by glass, metal and architectural landscape artists Steve and Sharon Frykman.  The artistically-talented couple specializes in larger commissioned works for businesses and private homes, but they create smaller pieces of art as well.

 

Frykman Gallery visitors will be able to enjoy one-of-a-kind pieces from a community of nine to 10 artists, including Sharon Frykman’s mentor painter Hazel Belvo, who has taught at the Grand Marais Art Colony for more than 20 years.

 

You can view the Frykmans’ work here: https://frykmanart.com/art-of-the-elements-gallery/.

 

For the complete list of artists and galleries participating in the “Art Along the Lake: Fall Studio Tour”, click here.

 

Visit Cook County supports many art events throughout the year, including the Grand Marias Arts Festival, Plein Air Grand Marais, Unplugged, and the Spring Art Along the Lake Gallery Tour.  A 2015 regional study shows that “The Arts Economy in Cook County is the third largest in the state per capita, behind only Minneapolis and St. Paul, contributing almost $900 for each of the county’s more than 5,000 residents.”

 

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.

 

Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County PH# 218.387.2788 Email: linda@visitcookcounty.com

Plan ahead to get to and from Cook County, Minn.

Road construction in Two Harbors mid-May to October

Plan ahead to get to and from Cook County, Minn.

 

What |              Beginning mid-May through October, three stretches of Minnesota State Highway 61 in Two Harbors, Minn. will be under construction at various times. If you’re planning on taking a road trip to Grand Marais or any other Cook County, Minn. towns, here are some suggestions from Linda Jurek, executive director for Visit Cook County, to make your drive less troublesome and your vacation more relaxing and enjoyable.

 

Make an extended weekend out of it.  Visitors who plan to take an extra day or two and travel during non-peak times, typically on weekdays, can experience shorter delays while on the road.

 

Time is on your side.  Visitors can utilize the extra time during their longer stay to enjoy activities around Cook County with fewer crowds.  Check out our calendar of events to get ideas for your extended stays. https://www.visitcookcounty.com/events/

 

For additional road condition information, visit:

Minnesota Department of Transportation

www.dot.state.mn.us/roadwork/current.html

 

Where |            On Highway 61 in Two Harbors from Eighth Street to the Silver Creek Cliff tunnel (4.1 miles)

 

When |             Mid May – October

Rural Work: Two Harbors to Silver Creek Tunnel, including Campground

Road

  • A single land of traffic in each direction will be maintained for the duration of the project on Highway 61.  Anticipate flagging operations or temporary signals at work locations.

 

Late July – Early September

In the town of Two Harbors: Fourth Street (County Road 2)

  • Intersection – side streets and entrances will be closed for short durations.
  • A single lane of traffic will be maintained on Highway 61 and the north leg of Fourth Street at all times.

 

September – October

In Two Harbors: Eighth Street to Fifth Street

  • Side streets and entrances will be closed for short durations.  A single lane of traffic will be maintained on highway 61 at all times.

 

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.

 

###

Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County PH# 218.387.2788 Email: linda@visitcookcounty.com