Late last week Tom and I headed for Grand Portage, Minnesota. Never heard of it? If you look at the map at the place where Minnesota, Canada, and Lake Superior all join, you will find Grand Portage. We are serving for the summer as living historians at Grand Portage National Monument, so you will be seeing more pictures of us in funny outfits and hearing about what we learn.
It took us four days to get to Grand Portage. Granted, we don’t travel a lot of miles in a day anymore, but it is a long way up to this part of Minnesota. We spent one night in Indiana, two nights in Wisconsin, and then spent the better part of a day driving along the North Shore of Lake Superior. It is supposed to be a scenic drive, but it was foggy most of the way, so we didn’t “scene” much!
Grand Portage is an Anishinaabe (first people) reservation. These are the ancestral lands of the Ojibwe, or Chippewa, Native Americans in the area. They were a great help to the earliest settlers, teaching them how to live in a very harsh environment. In exchange, the Ojibwe were the middlemen between the traders and the other native tribes. For the most part, they managed to live in peace on these lands with the Europeans, Americans, and Canadians who came into this area.
Today Grand Portage has a population of 350. There is a tribal hotel and casino with a restaurant. There is also a small but nice grocery store / gas station / post office. There is a school and a community center, a Roman Catholic Church, and a Community Church. You can catch the ferry to Isle Royale from the marina.
Our RV is on a rise above Lake Superior, so we can see it from our living room window. So far it has been gray, rainy, foggy and around 50 degrees, but we are confident they have sunny days, at least occasionally.
The only challenge has been that there is no cell service or internet. Shades of Death Valley! Supposedly there is a cell tower at the Casino/Lodge, but it only carries signals for AT&T. Of course, we have Verizon. We will be changing this situation as soon as possible, but until we do, we will be driving the 36 miles to Grand Marais whenever we want to make a call or use the internet. But that is the price we pay for living in isolated beauty so far north.
We are looking forward to living and working in Grand Portage, getting to know the people of the village and our coworkers. Our adventures continue!