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Cadeau: Lighthouses, waterfalls and Mom

Teri Cadeau

My family doesn't have a Labor Day tradition. Usually, I visit my parents up on the Iron Range and we spend time together playing card games or working on puzzles. Or I spend it visiting friends in the Twin Cities.

This year, however, I spent most of my day off in the same place I spend my days working. I spent Labor Day showing my mom around Lake County.

As far as she could remember, my mom has never spent much time around the area. She kind of remembers a trip to Gooseberry Falls in her young adulthood, but not many details. We decided to spend the day seeing some of the sights she'd heard about from me and other people.

First stop was Split Rock Lighthouse. Even though I've worked in Lake County since April, I hadn't taken the time to see the lighthouse. We arrived right in time to catch a walking tour of the space. I loved hearing the story of how the lighthouse was built — how the materials had to be brought in by boat and hauled up the side of the cliff.

Before that day, I'd never seen a lighthouse up-close. Mom was impressed by the guide's extensive knowledge. We took photos of each other and perused the gift shop. I found a pin to add to my collection while Mom debated the magnet choices.

"I mean, your dad already jokes about how our fridge is going to fall over one of these days because of the amount of magnets," Mom said.

Nevertheless, she found a small magnet to commemorate our trip.

After a nice lunch in Beaver Bay, we headed to Gooseberry to check out the falls. Even though I've been there several times over the years, I still love watching the moving water. Mom liked seeing the gnarled-looking trees around the falls. She has a photo of a gnarled tree in her kitchen.

After exploring Gooseberry, we headed to Two Harbors and of course, got stuck in Labor Day traffic just outside of town. During that time, we reflected on our day and listened to the playlist I created for the trip. I picked songs that we used to listen to when I was a kid.

I used to take dance lessons in a neighboring town about 10 miles away. On those drives to and from class, Mom had about three cassette tapes she rotated among in the car. I picked the best of these and made a playlist for us to reminisce over.

Once we finally made it into Two Harbors, we took a walk on the navigation piece of the break wall. I counted the number of bike and padlocks hanging on the side of the navigation device — there were 92 that day.

"You know, when you're walking out here, it doesn't look that far, but once you look back, you notice it's quite a walk," Mom said.

Eventually, we made our way back up to the Range for the night. Mom loved the chance to get out of the house and to spend some one-on-one time together. I loved pointing out all of the various places I'd gotten to know in the past few months.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. 

(218) 834-2141