Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Quilt Shops on our Fall Trip

You know you're a Quilter 
when you plan a vacation around quilt shops.

As soon as I have an idea where we are going, I research the shops on our route. We missed some this time but every one we stopped to see was worth our time!

Stitch Supply Co., Eau Claire, WI, is a favorite shop with a great selection of fabric and great employees. I was trying to stick to my list so I didn't spend much time - I didn't want to do any impulse buying! I found blue fabric that I needed for a border, marking pens, and serger needles that were all on my list. Notice the project bag under my treasures - this shop packages your items in project bags - nice!

Sew Complete,  Eau Claire, WI, is a small shop with a nice but limited fabric selection and also machines. At times I have found some great fabric here. This time I found a pair of scissors (I have 3 pair on my list). and another package of serger needles.

Busy Bobbin, Rice Lake, WI,  has a great selection of fabric and notions. I have been shopping there for years. It was hard to leave with just things that I had on my list. I almost did with the exception of the wide backing. I found scissors, fat quarters of children's fabrics, a fusible to fuse batting pieces together, a backing, a ripper, and I was given a free pattern.  

Seams Like Quilting, Spooner, WI,  is a brand new shop. I think the owner said she opened three months ago. She had a good selection of fabric and was very nice. I bought my third pair of scissors and a pretty fat quarter bundle  - you knew I'd cave eventually, right?! I'll definitely return the next time I' m in the area. 

I was being so good at the quilt store. 
Then I got out of the car and went in.

The Little Gift House in Solon Springs, WI, is a gift shop/quilt shop/cafe. There is a very good, but small selection of fabric. I was again trying to stick to my list and could not find the flannels I wanted. I'm so glad I finally got to this shop - I usually am in the area when it is closed.  I did not purchase anything except lunch but I expect to return.

47 Degrees North in Lutzen, MN, is a great little shop with a very personable owner. She has a nice selection and I found some of the flannels (gray, plaid, red) that I had on my list plus a colorful backing and one striped piece for bindings. I'll definitely return to this shop if I'm in the area again. The flannel pieces (for a quilt) and the wide backing were on my list. The piece for binding was an impulsive buy and will be used. The owner also gave me two gnome patterns that she is getting ready to do in a workshop. The patterns are free patterns that she had printed for the workshop.

The Quilt Corner in Beaver Bay, MN, is a little shop that needs at least twice as much space. The owner was nice and the selection was large. It was just hard to see things and to move around because there was so much fabric everywhere. I'll stop again though. I bought 2 charm packs that I had actually picked out before I went to the shop!

One Old Loon Quilt Shop, inTwo Harbors, MN, has the best name! 
It is a great little shop with a nice selection of fabric and notions. The owner wasn't there the day we visited but the lady working was very friendly and helpful. If I'm ever in the area again, I'll stop. I found a slightly darker gray flannel I need for the gray/red flannel quilt, some fat quarters to expand my collection of children's prints, a blue that I thought my stash should have (not on my list). And I could not resist an Old Loon shirt (definitely not on the list)!

Olive Juice Quilts in Onalaska, WI. is a large, favorite shop with a nice, helpful staff. There sale room had more fabric than some shops I've been in! I found the gray/red flannel for the flannel quilt backing in the sale room - great find! The two fat quarters are going to my children's fabric collection. That stack of tone on tone fat quarters was totally impulsive. I did use great restraint - there were MANY packaged pieces I looked at and considered but I only left with one! I picked up some Best Press too but it was packed away when I took the photo. I've been to this shop before and look forward to visiting again.

River Road Quilt Shop is also a flag and gift shop. I've visited many times and usually finds lots. The staff offers help but lets you browse. With great restraint, I only purchased 5 fat quarters. I think this completes what I need for my red and gray flannel quilt. Ray also found a Chicago Cubs flag. We both left lots behind!

Every quilt shop we visited was fun and I'd love to return to all of them. 

It started out as a harmless hobby...
 I had no idea it would come to this.

Fall Trip Part 3 of 3

Note: Quilt shops are in a separate post

We left Two Harbors in rain and knew we were so fortunate to have had great weather the previous day. 

Thank goodness the jeep smelled better - did I tell you about the bug repellent incident? A bag containing a couple different bug repellants was in my backpack. When we hiked the first two days, I removed the bag, left it in the Jeep, and replaced it after our hike. The third day, we could smell repellent in the car and when I checked my pack, one bottle had leaked but it seemed to be totally contained in a ziploc. We tossed the whole bag in the garbage and continued on but my pack smelled. Of course, I wasn't bothered with any bugs or gnats on hikes that day! We also had the smell in the car. So I tried to wash off my leather pack and air it out, and we attempted to wipe out the car. The smell was much better by the time we left Two Harbors.

We drove the St. Croix Scenic Byway from Askov, MN, through Pine City, Taylors Falls, and Stillwater, MN. We did see the sun for a while but the rain returned. 

We had lunch in Askov at Little Mermaid Cafe. We read about it online and someone mentioned aebleskivers (Danish pancake balls). So we stopped and found they only make them on the 4th Saturday of the month. We still enjoyed a good meal.

Our rental was across the river from Stillwater, MN, in Hudson, WI. I have an aunt that lives in the area. My cousin and her husband also live in Hudson but were out of town. 
Our rental was small but mighty - I loved the kitchen.
It was drizzling when we moved into our rental and only got worse. 
We appreciated our little fireplace and our warm, dry apartment.

On our first full day in the area, we visited my aunt. Instead of taking her out to lunch, we ordered in because the weather was so miserable. The forecast predicted rain and wind for another 24 hours so when we left Aunt, we found a grocery store and stocked up for a few meals. After we got 'home', we saw this boat on the river and were happy we weren't on that dinner cruise!

Our rental is right on the St Croix River and 
this River Boat passed by despite the weather.

Our second day in Hudson, we had the sun shine for a while! We went to the Hudson Farmer's Market and tasted freeze-dried candy - a little strange but interesting!

We headed across the river to Stillwater, MN. There were A LOT of people. We finally figured out that this wasn't a normal Saturday - it was Harvest Fest, a huge festival. There were also huge pumpkins.

We did walk on the Stillwater Lift Bridge. "It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The lift bridge closed to all traffic in August of 2017. It was reopened in 2020 and is now used for pedestrians and bicycles and connects the Loop Trail from Minnesota to Wisconsin."

We enjoyed pizza  and watching the Wisconsin football game on TV with my aunt. She and Ray are singing to me at my surprise, early birthday party.
In case you are counting the cake has a group of 7 candles
and a group of 5. My birthday is actually the 18th.

Our next and final stop on this trip was LaCrosse, WI. where we both received our bachelor's degrees from University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse. We traveled in good weather and enjoyed a stop in LeCresent, MN to get a few apples. After we crossed the Mississippi River, we  enjoyed some time in Riverside Park in LaCrosse. 

We spent some time on Granddad's Bluff taking photos of the sunset.

Our rental house was just completely renovated inside. The living room is very comfy!

We walked around the campus of UW-L and were able to get into the brand new field house which is almost finished. We also found other new buildings. Many things have changed but many stayed the same - the students in general are still kind and respectful. It was amazing how many acknowledged us as we wondered around. We weren't sure where the bookstore was (it moved!) so I asked a small group of students. They not only gave us explicit instructions, they walked upstairs with us and made sure we turned the right way and could see the sign. As we were leaving the student union, a young man was leaving and caught sight of us; he immediately grabbed the door and held it for both of us. We had a couple of conversations with students and I loved how much they were similar to the many college students I taught through the years and even to us during our college days

We visited a couple of quilt shops (next post) and walked around downtown for a while. It was fun to be back.

Our rental was at the base of Granddad's Bluff. As we looked up the last night at sunset, this was our view.

This morning we delayed leaving LaCrosse for an hour due to fog. When we left, we travelled along the Mississippi for awhile, hoping to see more color in the trees. We eventually left that route and headed away from the river.

We found some pretty trees!

We are now home and unpacked. We have been to the grocery store and will soon begin laundry. It was a great fall trip although we saw more color today within a 100 miles of home than anywhere else! We especially loved seeing family.

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel 
is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, 
to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted. 
-Bill Bryson

Fall Trip Part 2 of 3

Note: Quilt shops are in a separate post

Our second day in Two Harbors began with a cold rain - at least it wasn't snow! Ray checked the weather and the rain was ending soon so we continued with our plan to hike in Tettegouche State Park. 

We stopped at the Tettegouche Visitor Center to get a pass and found that the swinging bridge was out so we could only do the long hike to High Falls, not the short one. Now to be honest, I wasn't sure about crossing the swinging bridge - I don't like them! Then Ray checked on Two-Step Falls - we couldn't get there either. Since we didn't want a long hike, we decided to hike to the waterfalls in Temperance River State Park.

We drove north about a half hour and found the trailhead we wanted. We found the trails in good shape but not well marked and the map was pretty useless until we found a pole that was actually marked so we knew where we were. Until then, when we came to a fork in the trail, we just chose the path that we thought would take us closest to the river. However we missed the first fork - since we couldn't see the right choice which was up over some rocks. It all worked out and eventually we found our way back to the right trail. I guess it was a day we were supposed to take a long hike!

We saw all three "waterfalls" - Upper Falls, Hidden Falls, and Lower Cascades. At times the sun even shone! 

Come along on our hike.

First stop was Hidden Falls.
The falls is really hidden back in the rocks

Just beyond Hidden Falls -

I caught the family photographer when he wasn't behind a camera!

This is when we inadvertently veered from the direct route.

We found some pretty color.

Back to the river, we found many boulders.

There were lots of Aspen trees.

We heard the Upper Falls and I got a glimpse of it but I couldn't get a photo. Ray climbed down a path that was well used but not in very good shape. He said we really needed to be on the other side of the river. However, there was no real path there either.

We did see the Lower Cascades in the gorge. We were standing on a lookout area that we had to hike down to.

Lookin back through the gorge

and way back.

One more picture as we got close to the back of Hidden Falls.

This was the first time I used my new walking stick (bought  the day before). It was great to have on some of the slopes (up and down) and on some uneven, stone steps.

After our not-so-short hike, we stopped at the first and only place to eat near the State Park. It was a bakery/restaurant where you went in, ordered, got your food, and ate outside. So we had a picnic - it was almost 50 degrees. Right after I took this picture, Ray went to the car and got our coats. We enjoyed some good food!

We headed south towards Two Harbors. We could see some of the bands of yellow Aspen trees on our drive.

We were looking for a spot to get a great picture of Split Rock Lighthouse but didn't find it. We stopped at Pebble Beach in the campground. These flat, smooth pebbles would all make great skipping stones!

The clouds were moving in.
Lake Superior from Pebble Beach

Our third day in Two Harbors was absolutely gorgeous - sunny with a few clouds and in the 50's. We headed back to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. This time we went to the Trail Center parking area and hiked toward the lighthouse. We began on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. 
Gitchi-Gami is Ojibwa for "big sea" or "huge water"
and almost always refers to Lake Superior.

We switched to the Lake Trail which was simple to find with the clear signs and maps. 

After a short hike, we had this view of Split Rock Lighthouse - exactly what Ray was after. "Every year on the 10th of November, the beacon at Split Rock is lighted to commemorate the sinking of the freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald, and all the other vessels lost on the Great Lakes."

The lighthouse  was decommissioned in 1969 and closed. It is not open as a museum.

Every so often, I just have to look up and appreciate the beauty.

Our next stop of the day was Gooseberry Falls State Park. We had a short hike to some waterfalls.

Middle Falls was really pretty.

The Lower Falls also had lots of water.

We hiked back up to Middle Falls. Can you tell, the sky is clearing more?

Then we hiked up to Upper Falls.

There was Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in the 1930s just to the left of the above photo. It was interesting to read about it. This would have been a gorgeous place to live and to work improving our public lands, forests, and parks.

After a late lunch, we spent the rest of our day in Two Harbors beginning with a visit to the quilt shop and then Agate Beach in Agate Bay. There were lots of stones but we did not find any agates. We were told that the best time to find them is in the spring before all the tourists come!

The breakwater is very close to Agate Beach.

Still in Agate Bay, we saw this Canadian ship leaving the docks. Ships come to Two Harbors to get iron ore, the primary ingredient for steel. The ore comes from mines in northern Minnesota and is transported to the port by rail. The ships then carry the ore to steel mills. Two Harbors is major iron ore shipping port.
The sun was really bright so the pictures appear dark.

Two Harbors Lighthouse, built in 1892 is also in Agate Bay. It is now owned by the Historical Society and part of The Lighthouse B&B which was formed to fund the preservation of the buildings. Thanks to volunteer lighthouse keepers, the light is evidently still on providing private aid to navigation.

We went back to Agate Bay for the sunset. It was only 6 - 8 blocks from our rental. First we saw a little wildlife.

The sunset wasn't too exciting with few clouds;

but the blue hour was great for a few photos.
The breakwater

Taken from the breakwater, looking away from the docks.
Notice the one red rock.

More to come...

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, 
travelers don’t know where they’re going.
-Paul Theroux


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