Traveling Minnesota

A group photo recently posted on Facebook shows my daughter being held by her daddy. Next to them is his best friend, Scott, holding his daughter, Carmela, on his shoulders. Next to Scott is his wife, Laurie, and next to Laurie stand my mother-in-law and I. I figure it was my father-in-law, Ed, who snapped the photo. In the background is a beautiful lake, probably Burntside. My husband and I had driven up to Ely for a long weekend; and wouldn’t you know it, Scott and Laurie were there as well—and my in-laws. We all had gotten the bug for a bit of summer travel and we all ended up in the same city on that same weekend.

Three people involved in that photo have now passed, which makes looking at it so bittersweet. I can get past how ridiculous I look in my oversized glasses when I think about how much these people are missed.

Every trip adds to the pages of our family lexicon and history book, from songs we made up en route, to funny happenstances in restaurants and campgrounds, to kooky roadside attractions and Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums. These trips bonded us as family, and with that kind of strength and history behind us, nothing can separate us; despite the wild curveballs that life throws, seemingly without warning.

In May, we look at the approaching summer with great anticipation. There are three long months ahead to go to the lake, maybe fly to Montana to see relatives, take a couple of day or weekend trips; and then suddenly the summer is halfway over! It’s almost as if we take June to rev up and get ready, and then by the time we actually get going, the summer is drawing to a close.

If you find that is the case, I hope our feature beginning on page 16 will help you plan a few trips to get your family going on short notice. From the far southern corner of Minnesota where the prairie seems to stretch endlessly, to the lapping waves on the shore of Lake Superior, you really should consider Minnesota as this year’s vacation destination. It’s interesting how we will spend big bucks to go to some other state and sit on someone else’s shoreline instead of our own, as if it’s more beautiful or more important than what we have here. Why is that?

Pack up the car. Go. And who knows—maybe you will run into some of your favorite people while you’re there.

-Kathleen Stoehr, Editor