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It is now 2-weeks post birthday and I am still glowing from the incredible celebratory weekend.  JG really outdid herself and deserves a lot of praise for this one.  It is not a birthday I am soon to forget.

The adventure began on Friday at noon when we loaded the car with clothes, hiking boots and some edible provisions.  We drove the backcountry roads through Minnesota, over the Mississippi River into Wisconsin and back into Minnesota.

Along the way I learned that Ellsworth, WI is the Cheese Curd capital (of Wisconsin? of the world?), that you’re not a real town unless you have a water tower with your town’s name on it, that A&W has amazing rootbeer floats with vanilla soft serve mixed in and that the “oooo” in Minnesoooota gets longer and longer the farther north you drive.

And far to the north we did drive.  We drove all the way up and past Duluth, MN to an area called the North Shore.  The North Shore is nestled along the western edge of Lake Superior and runs into Canada.  We took the scenic highway that borders the lake and stopped for dinner at the New Scenic Café.  We ordered all the specials – fresh tuna tacos with avocado and cabbage, a warm cheese plate with fresh baked bread and figs, and, upon the insistence of our neighboring diners, an amazing local craft brew.  The café, in conjunction with Jess, surprised me with a goat cheese tart for an early birthday dessert.  Hands down, the food at New Scenic Café was the best I’ve had since landing in Minnesota a month and a half ago.  And dinner was just a prelude of the awesomeness to come.

Some photos from our drive up to the North Shore: