On a visit to my folks this summer, I took a leisurely drive up old Highway 61 from Duluth to Silver Bay. I stopped for lunch along the way at the Scenic Cafe and further on up the road, stopped again to take a walk down to a river. Hwy 61 has lots of rivers. It brought back memories of my last few years living in Duluth, when I learned how, through the good folks at the UMD Outdoor Program to winter camp and ski frozen rivers. I have skied many of the rivers between Duluth and Two Harbors and beyond, and it was nice to remember this as I sat soaking up the warm sun on a rock on a Friday afternoon. Just outside of Two Harbors I stopped again, at one of my favorite gift shops, Brad Nelson Designs, located in a Norwegian stabbur, a building style originally used as a storehouse for food or grain. While perusing their many European imports and Brad’s own designed and handcrafted silver jewelry, I chatted with Brad’s mother, who often manages the shop (I just had to buy one of her handmade stuffed Swedish dala horses and a felted eyeglass case). Afterwards I strolled around outside to snap some more pictures. In addition to his design work, Brad maintains an extensive rock garden, adorned with succulents, flowers, intriguing stones, bits of architecture and other interesting artifacts. He was given a stone slab in the shape of MN which will soon be incorporated into one of his rock walls. If you ever find yourself on a leisurely pace up the “North Coast,” I recommend you take the Old Hwy 61 route on the outskirts of Duluth and make sure to stop for lunch and a gander at Brad’s work and gardens. You may just find the North Coast to be one of your favorite vacation destinations. Farvel! Cheers! To visit my web album with more photos from my visit to the north coast, click Here.