Our first stop on the trip was Paradise Beach along the North Shore. It was marvelous. The stones were all so polished and smooth that walking on them in bare feet was like a foot massage!
Noah and Ben both ended up getting wet in the frigid water.
We met a family of rock hounds and here the two (very nice) kids are inspecting rocks with my crew.
After that we headed straight to our destination…….. the Edgewater Resort and Waterpark! Our room wasn’t quite ready so we went straight to Victoria’s Secret! I subjected the boys to half an hour of boredom while I tried on and purchased some much needed bras. I hate shopping in general, but I hate bra and swimsuit shopping even more. The only place that I have found the experience to be, at least, bearable is Victoria Secret. Anyway, after that we checked into our room. After a quick picnic lunch in our room we donned swimsuits and headed to the water!
Everyone loved it except for Ben. The dumping bucket in the kiddie pool terrified him. He didn’t want to get anywhere near the pool in case he got hit with the huge flow of water. We all floated the Lazy River on tubes, passing under many “waterfalls”. Ben was shouting, “I want to go on LAND!” Next, Annie and I both wanted to try the big slide. We couldn’t talk any boys into trying it so we each took a turn sliding while the other watched the kids. After I went I convinced Gabe to try. His first words at the bottom were, “I want to go again!” That was enough to convince Zach to try. While Gabe watched and Zach and I went up to the slide, Annie took the little boys to the kiddie pool again. Zach loved the slide and both boys wanted to keep sliding. We went to find Annie so that we could trade off. I saw her in the pool with Noah, but at first I couldn’t see Ben. Then I spotted him a short distance away kneeling in front of a totem pole. When he saw me he said, “I want to go to our room”. Annie headed off to slide with the big boys while I took Ben and Noah to the far side of the kiddie pool, safe from the dreaded Dumping Bucket! In eight inches of water, far from any surprise fountains, Ben had a good time. The little guys tired out before the big guys were ready to be done. Zach and Gabe were doing laps on the Water Walk (a rope “ladder” suspended over the water and floating platforms to walk on) when I decided to take the little punks for a much needed break and snack in our room. Unfortunately, I don’t have many photos of the waterpark action. I didn’t want to take my camera down there and leave it unattended while I was swimming, so I planned to take some the following morning. However, the boys all opted out of the planned swim in favour of getting to the Great Lakes Aquarium sooner.
Here we are at the aquarium. Ben had been asking the whole drive down, during the swimming, at breakfast that morning, and every other time imaginable, “Can we go to the commarium/quamarium/aquarium now?” So making him wait while I tried to set up the camera for a self-timer shot and then asking someone to take it for us was really asking a lot! Finally, he got to go inside!
Petting the Amazonian fresh-water rays. They also had a sturgeon touch tank. There were lots of great things to see. Zach took a lot of pictures so I’ll probably post some of his at some point. We took a break from the aquarium and had a picnic out on the grass and then returned to finish our exploration. There were a lot of “hands-on” activities typical to this kind of place; the kind that I never did find interesting, nor do I now, nor do my children seem to. The very cool hands-on thing they had, though, was a series of Great Lakes shaped pools, each draining into the next, with the rivers and locks included. The boys each directed their boats from Lake Superior to Lake Ontario several times. (Noah just splashed in Lake Ontario, the only lake low enough for him to reach, until he was drenched.) They all really enjoyed this, despite the numerous pushy older kids that thought they were in charge of the locks. I finally explained to one boy that, even though he was very skilled at running the locks, he had to let the younger kids try too because that is how they will learn how they work.
We left Duluth earlier than we had anticipated so this gave us lots of time for being rock hounds on the way home. We stopped at a few points, never sure if we were finding the type of rock that we were looking for from that particular spot. From the book it looks like it will be plain to see, but once you are staring a at a beach full of pebbles it is another story!
After crossing the border Annie and I both breathed a sigh of relief. Somehow it just feels so good to be back in Canada! The boys were all sound asleep when we picked up Jaska and continued sleeping until we got home. I carried them all to their beds and plunked them right in. Zach woke up enough to get his clothes off. I helped him a little and set his shorts – thunk – down on the floor. Pockets of rocks!
The whole trip was a lot of fun, but for me the best parts were sitting and crawling along pebbly beaches, sifting through rocks, trying to keep Noah out of the water, dipping my own feet in the icy cold until my head hurt, listening to the waves, the chatter of my rock hound family, the call of gulls, and breathe the fresh big-lake air.