On our third day in the storm, we rented a car and drove north with no destination. A few miles north of Grand Marais, on the banks of Lake Superior, we came upon the Naniboujou Lodge and walked in. Definitely a psychedelic experience. The Lodge, completed in 1929, remains true to its history with no modernization in sight.
Naniboujou began as a private lodge for the rich, with charter members who included Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Ring Lardner. The main dining room displays Cree Indian designs (allegedly) over the walls and the 20 foot high domed ceiling is said to resemble a canoe. A French artist named Antoine Goufee did the painting, of course. Naniboujou has been called the “North Wood’s answer to the Sistine Chapel.” The Lodge fell on hard times in the Great Depression that immediately followed its opening. Fortunately, it was saved and currently operates as a lodge during the warmer months of the year.
Naniboujou’s dining room left me feeling hallucinogenic, and its silent ghostly worker in the corner reminded me of “The Shining” so we didn’t stay for lunch. But I did buy $32 worth of a bright blue hand-made bar soap from the gift shop because it was advertised as made from Lake Superior ice.
We also stopped for a few minutes at a solitary overlook on a cliff from which Lake Superior’s islands and shoreline could be seen.
Postscript: When we drove home in early September, the Naniboujou soap started melting in the heat of the car (because it was made from Lake Superior ice!) So I put it in our freezer at home to solidify it again. I had planned to give away the soap to the pet sitters and friends but as I write this I realize that I forgot about it in the freezer where it remains frozen.