It’s not summer in Grand Marais, MN until the wooden canoes, kayaks, sailboats and row boats appear in the harbor.
The demonstration was one of many taking place at the North House during its Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice festival, an annual event held each June to celebrate the beginning of summer, showcase handmade wooden boats and allow guests to sample some of the more than 350 courses developed by the North House.
Many of those crafts are showcased during the Wooden Boat Festival, along with more than two dozen handmade boats, including kayaks and canoes, paddle boats and sail boats. Those inspired to build their own boat can take a course at North House in cedar strip or birch bark canoe building. The school has developed more than 350 different classes and about 100 are offered annually, while others are offered semiannually. Walking through the school ground it’s easy to imagine the near endless hands-on opportunities while hearing the clinking of the blacksmith shop and the swooshing of wood being sanded, and smelling the smoky smell of baking bread in a wood fired oven. The weekend is filled with numerous demonstrations like this and hourly lectures on topics like sailing on Lake Superior, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, canoe building, and boat building. The Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival takes place annually in mid-June at the North House Folk School grounds on the Grand Marais Harbor. Stay for the weekend in Grand Marais, MN a€“ or longer a€“ to enjoy all there is to do in and around town.
Visitors can view the boats, meet the builders and even try a few of the boats available for paddling in the Grand Marais Harbor.
Courses are taught by more than 130 teachers from around the state, region and country, and even some international instructors.


Other festival highlights include a community dance, chowder feast, community brunch, tool auction and solstice pageant performed by local puppet artists Good Harbor Hill Players.
Its name is French for “great marsh,” a reminder of the fur traders once drawn to the land between the shores of the great lakes and the dense forests. The largest freshwater lake in the world is known for its deep, cold waters and rocky shoreline.
Since the 1990s, community members and visitors have taken classes at the North House Folk School to learn northwood crafts. The choices for overnight accommodations are plentiful in Grand Maraias MN, ranging from primitive campsites to full-service lodges. But if kayaks and canoes are the centerpieces of the weekend, a sampling of northern arts and craft will make you plan to come back. Classes provide hands-on instruction with an average of just five students, and they range from two and a half days to two weeks. Even today, people come to Grand Marais, a two-hour scenic jaunt north of Duluth, to experience fun on the lake and the land. Grand Marias MN lies on its western shore along a naturally protected harbor that shares a name with the city.
Inspired by Danish schools of the 19th century, this modern nonprofit teaches skills that come in handy along the shores of Lake Superior—boat building, blacksmithing, and cooking. You won’t find a lot of big-name properties here, but there are are many local companies with traditional hotel rooms, condos, and other vacation rentals.


Dine in one of many restaurants in town or enjoy a piece pie at The Pie Place in the Harbor Inn.A  Visit the many galleries and outfitters in town.
The campus is open to visitors, who come to tour, join in one of the special events, and watch the demonstrations. Or take a drive a bit further north to visit the Grand Portage National Monument, a restored historic site celebrating early voyageurs that lived and traded on the North Shore. Camping is plentiful along the nearby Glunflint Trail and within the Boundary Waters wilderness.
The school’s Hjordis, a traditional schooner, docks in Grand Marais MN between May and October. Besides all of the Great Lakes fun, Grand Marais MN is the eastern gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a vast outdoor playground where paddling and fishing rule the day.
Back on shore, don’t miss the chance to shop the North House Folk School gift shop—there’s no other shop like it anywhere else.



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