Nearly every September I begin to panic that we aren’t going to get to Lake Superior again. It’s become a bit of a tradition. I love the north shore and spent many, many childhood family vacations camping around that area. Rory and I honeymooned there and have been up a few glorious times since. But it has been six years since we were there last, and so for six years now, I have thrown a bit of a pity party that we’re not going again.
Of course it is not flattering to admit to pity parties at age 38, but instagram and facebook can post some very lovely pictures that make a girl feel left out.
To be clear, this isn’t on Rory. Every year we come to the same conclusion, together: it’s a long drive with little kids, it’s not a super restful vacation with little kids next to the water all the time, and it’s expensive. And every year we decide that ‘to everything there is a season’ and that it will be way more fun one day when we don’t have babies and toddlers.
It’s just that we’ve had babies and toddlers a lot in the last six years… Ha!
So one fine September day my friend Jaime texted to see if I wanted to meet her at Nerstrand State Park to hike to Hidden Falls. We live 15 minutes away, and though I remember these falls from a camping trip when I was in 7th grade, we have never made the trek since moving here.
Oh my. One look at this waterfall and I suddenly felt like we were on a little, magical vacation! The kids were delighted and it was the happiest one hour of fun, right in our own neck of the woods. I came home so excited about this place and told Rory that I found my own special north shore, right down the road.
So the next week we went looking for a waterfall that Rory and Ivar had visited years ago. And this one is even closer to our house! The whole time I kept thinking about how long it had taken me to enjoy these beautiful places, while complaining so much about wanting to go to lake Superior. Obviously this isn’t Lake Superior, but it brought the same happy, restful, set-apart feelings that I feel on the north shore. Which makes this the cheapest vacation ever.
And here’s some proof that I was along! After we swam we got everyone into dry clothes and went for a hike where Rory and Ivar showed us the incredible, lone rock they had been telling us about since their last hike.
And then it was time to head home for dinner. And my heart was filled up like we had been on vacation all weekend even though we had been gone for three hours. What a great lesson for me! And hopefully a bit of encouragement for all of us to go and find the beautiful things right in our own neighborhoods.
Here is the last picture we took. Hattie was over it. Glad we were gone for just three hours!