If a garden gnome is named Ole, do you think that means he’s really a tomten?
You know, a tomten, those little gnomish fellows who protect the farms in Sweden? They look a lot like gnomes, but are distinctly Scandinavian.
Kind of like summer in the Northland might resemble the same season in other places, but ours is distinctive. How do I know? Because all snowbirds flock home from the South for it.
Sure, they could stay in Florida, Arizona or Texas. Nice states, all of them, but they aren’t the North Woods, they aren’t the Northland or, to put a more fine point on it, they are not North.
Native Northlanders and oughta-be Northlanders share this common thread – we’re magnetically drawn in this direction, even those of us who can only handle living here when the lawn tomten is not covered in snow.
The pull gets stronger as the seasons get warmer.
Like all of our seven or so seasons, summer produces contrasts.
We endure blistering hot days in the low 90s (yes, year-round Floridians, low 90s can blister us), but even on those hottest days, a dip in the lake cools you down or a trek into the deep woods will bring shaded relief – and probably bugs, but hey.
Of course, if you live in a coastal hill city like Duluth or Marquette, Thunder Bay or Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, you may choose from one of two concurrent daily temperatures – by the lake (cooler) or over the hill (getting warmer). This is why we have sweaters and gloves in the car all summer – and we use them.
One of the most fantastic things about summer Up North – we don’t really need to gear up for it.
No need to be a hardy snowshoe soul (winter) or a rain-proof duck (spring). Just open the door and walk out there.
With all of our sunshining days, staying inside is a sin – at least a Lutheran sin, according to Mom, who, if we wanted to read, made us take the books outside from June through September.
In this issue, we are intent on helping you down the path of Up North righteousness and away from the sin of staying inside.
The renowned Craig Blacklock, a dedicated lifelong paparazzi of Lake Superior, relishes the outdoors and possesses the skills to make us long to get out there, too. Craig’s photographic tour of our national lakeshores among the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin and along the Pictured Rocks of Michigan virtually compels you to plan visits in the not-too-distant future – and maybe yet this summer.
You can read about one of “cabinologist” Dale Mulfinger’s latest remodeling projects on Minnesota’s North Shore. It creates a modern space without sacrificing the cozy charms embodied by the very word “cabin.”
For those of us who don’t have our own cabins, meteorologist Kyle Underwood’s delightful one-week adventure as a volunteer keeper at the Crisp Point Lighthouse in Michigan might inspire you.
Need more? How about planning your lakewide travel while practicing good stewardship by using the green travel options in our story “Going Green.” Or you could organize a blueberry-picking party so you can make our latest Recipe Box delights or set your sights on “Meeting Beaver Bay,” a small Minnesota shore town worth getting to know a whole lot better.
Even if you must spend a little time inside to do some fine dining around the lake, well then, we’ve got suggestions on eating establishments with great lake views so you can sup and “Superior” all at the same time.
You don’t want to waste a moment of the summer. Even Ole the garden tomten knows that would be a sin.