Thursday, August 26, 2010

A wilderness experience

My husband and I took a brief, two-day trip to the North Shore and Boundary Waters. What, for me, used to be a trip taken quite often, camping and hiking, it was one that George and I had not taken for several years.

What brought us there was a gift certificate to a Bed and Breakfast of our choice, given as a Christmas gift by daughter, Bonnie. We looked in the directory that accompanied the certificate for participating B&Bs. Since we had traveled to southern Minnesota the past few years, we decided to head north this time.

There, nestled deep in the woods on the Gunflint Trail, 30 miles from Grand Marais, was Poplar Creek, the B&B of our choice.

Furnished in north woods style, it was a wonderful overnight get-away from any hustle-bustle, and, indeed, civilization itself, it seemed. It was cool, and felt almost crisp. After our recent hot, humid days, this was a welcome change.

We awoke from a restful sleep to see bluejays at the bird feeder, and were greeted by the tantalizing aroma of coffee and bacon. Our innkeepers, Ted and Barbara, had prepared a wonderful breakfast for us.

We were joined by two other guests, a young couple originally from India and now residing in London. Aside from wonderful accommodations and scrumptious food, we love B&Bs for the people we meet and the interesting breakfast conversation.

On our way home, we stopped at Temperance River, one of my favorite spots. I love its ruggedness.

Although I have hiked these trails in the past, climbing up and over rocks and stone steps, this time my arthritic knees would permit no such thing.

My husband, however, sprinted up and back down as I patiently waited at the bottom.

Our next stop was Tettegouche State Park, where we walked a bit and enjoyed a picnic lunch: smoked fish, cheese, crackers, peanut butter and a cookie.

After being away for only two days, we commented that just to get in the car and drive away somewhere, if only for a brief time, can feel like a week's vacation. Relaxation, refreshment, fun and adventure come easily away from home.

Don't wait. Take advantage of the little retreats around you. Drive away for a bit, even for a day. Eat a picnic lunch. Walk a trail. Explore a new town or area, even one closeby.

I guarantee: you will return renewed and refreshed.