Last weekend, we headed up to my parent's cabin in northwestern Minnesota for Friday night. The next day, while my parent's took care of the dog, we headed up to Duluth to the Northern Lights bookstore for Alan's book signing. The drive is beautiful with lakes and mixed pine and deciduous forest. We found the bookstore right on Canal Street in the peak downtown tourist area near the lift bridge and the lake walk. For a small store, it packed a lot books in and had a great selection of Great Lakes related and regional materials. I decided to treat myself to a book, although we'd recently hauled two books full from Diversicon, and went around browsing and trading through books. I found the winner, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Rufiz Zafon translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves, on their Booksense Picks shelves. It was a pick back in February when it came out. Despite its satisfying thickness, I blew through it this week. I'm still gathering my thoughts about it and will write more but I highly recommend it. It was kind of a literary mystery set in Barcelona during the 40s and 50s with a great gothic feel and compelling characters.
It was Alan's first visit to Duluth and long overdue. We poked around Duluth a bit before doing part of the North Shore Scenic Drive up to Gooseberry Falls State Park. On the recommendation of one of Alan's co-workers, we stopped for pie at the New Scenic Cafe and, tempted by the menu, ended up eating an early dinner and taking the pie with us. At Gooseberry, we toured the falls and then took the Gooseberry River trail to the lake and Agate Beach. Alan grew up next to Lake Erie, so it was nice to finally be able to show him Lake Superior, which has a quite different feel to it. We headed back in the dark to the cabin and cool sleeping temperatures. The next day we swam, read, ate good food and played with the dog until it was time to go home. After chasing squirrels and chipmunks all weekend, as well as swimming and playing fetch, he was a very tired dog on the drive home.