Grand Marais, MN

“Lake Superior” – Grand Marais, MN

I recently went to visit Grand Marais, Minnesota.  Grand Marais is a small town on the North Shore of Minnesota–the part that is on Lake Superior–and is a popular spot for tourists.  Visitors come from across the state of Minnesota, and from out of state to visit the northern shores of our great state.  If you are driving from the Twin Cities, it will take you 5-6 hours, depending on holiday traffic, construction, etc.  The Canadian border is less than an hour from Grand Marais!

My wife hails from this small town, and spent the summer with her parents while I was off doing my “Summer Job” project.

“Harbor” – Grand Marais, MN

With the exception of the very first photograph, this set was taken using my Zeiss Ikon rangefinder and shot with Kodak Tri-X 400 film.  I’m pretty sure I used the Zeiss C-Biogon 35mm f/2.8 lens, but I’m not entirely sure…

Grand Marais is a small town, with a population just north of 1200 people.  During the summer months it is busy, but in the winter there are fewer tourists, since there are other towns on Minnesota’s North Shore that cater to skiing tourism and other winter sports more than Grand Marais does.

“Post Office” – Grand Marais, MN

As a small tourist town, there is not much going on in Grand Marais, MN.  And these were all shot at the height of the tourist season…you might imagine how slow it is the rest of the year.

“Downtown” – Grand Marais, MN

But let’s be honest: I didn’t (and I don’t ever) make the trip up north to see the town.  I have seen it enough times to know that it’s slow, and not really my cup of tea.  Small towns are not my place of choice, though many people do seem to enjoy it.  To each their own, I say.

There was a different reason I made the trek up north…

The real reason I came to Grand Marais, MN

My wife grew up here, and even she doesn’t like coming back up!  We are both suited to slightly larger cities, it seems.  No shame in admitting that, it’s just how it is.

Her parents live in a genuine cabin in the woods, and I shot a frame of her doing her laundry at their house…

“Laundry” – Grand Marais, MN

So that was that.  And then we headed back into town, and you can pretty well gauge from a few photographs what it’s like to spend time in Grand Marais, MN.  That’s not to say it’s not a nice place, or you might not enjoy it; in fact, you well might.  As long as you know what you’re in for–a sleepy, small, quaint village that exists primarily to cater to visitors from out of town.

What you get is the resultant knick-knack shops, restaurants, souvenir shops, cafes on the harbor, boats and planes for hire, etc.  It’s not good or bad–it is what it is, a friend of mine likes to say.

“Tourist Town” – Grand Marais, MN

And, of course, I couldn’t resist taking a shot of Bathroom Trevor while I was in town.  Not only that, but it’s a new bathroom I had not had the chance to frequent yet.  That’s just me putting another notch in my belt…

“Bathroom Trevor” – Grand Marais, MN

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Many thanks for stopping by!




  1. Not a lot of love for Grand Marais in this post… it’s interesting how a set of pictures can frame a place. I’m sure that another photographer could make the town look a lot less sleepy and run down, however, that’s the beauty of art.


  2. Nice post. Seems like a pretty quaintthat far north place. I was pretty sure that that far north the lakes stay frozen year round, nice to see they don’t. Nice shots, all but that last one, it’s rubbish.


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