We awoke early again. We needed to leave the motel by 7:15 in order to arrive at our first shop of the day by opening time. Tu-Na Helper had consulted the routing App the night before and the first shop on the list wasn’t open until 10 although it was closer to our present location than any others.
Because time was of the essence, he decided we’d go to the second shop on the list first since they opened at 9 and backtrack to get the first shop second hoping to arrive shortly after their opening time. Google said they were 37 miles apart but required 59 minutes of non-stop driving time. That plan sounded like a lot of extra driving miles on slow, winding, lake country roads. But I went along with his plan.
Once I was fully awake and ready for the day, I looked around the motel room.
It was rustic enough to be charming but it was clean.
I also noticed there was fish and fishing decor all over.
When I got in the car, I noticed the name plaque on the outside of the door,
There were other names on the other doors. The room beside us was labeled “Farm.” Now I’d like to go back and see how the Southwest room looked.
We arrived at Mother Originals in Pequot Lakes shortly after opening. Lake country has slow and winding roads and Tu-Na Helper doesn’t like to be stuck behind a slow driver.
Me: “I find passing a car on a two lane road to be stressful. How about you?”
Tu-Na Helper: “I find it exhilarating!”
I spent a lot of time being stressed and Tu-Na Helper spent a lot of time smiling and feeling triumphant on this trip.
After leaving the quilt shop, we stopped at Speedway (gas station) to get coffee and some gas. We get really great gas mileage with our Prius (I think we averaged about 46 MPG on the trip) but we do have to stop and fill (and empty) once in a while.
The Drake Motel doesn’t serve breakfast. We had eaten some homemade Scotcheroos and vanilla yogurt that we brought with us calling it “The Breakfast of Shop Hop Champions” but we both NEEDED our coffee. We each got a cup from the gas station and talked about treating ourselves to more when we were in Duluth at Hannah Johnson’s later in the afternoon.
We were lucky on our trip because all the hotels/motels that we stayed at had refrigerators in the room. Most of them had tiny freezers where we could freeze the two ice packs I brought with. The couple of places that didn’t have a freezer, we took the ice packs to the front desk and they put them in their freezer.
We passed a quilt shop that wasn’t on the hop. Tu-Na Helper pointed it out and repeated the motto which we’ve said for the past 5 years, “If they’re not on the hop, we don’t stop.” So we flew right past. I am not sure if he likes me to notice it was there but he wasn’t stopping or if he likes feeling he has control over not going inside of at least a few shops we pass.
We soon found ourselves at Front Porch Quilts in Walker. I featured that shop last year here. The shop was bustling this early morning so we finished our business and headed down the road for the next shop.
Tu-Na Helper checked the route App for the third shop of the day and shook his head. The phone spoke the directions through Google maps. Unbeknownst to me, it would require a bit of backtracking.
Me: “I must be tired but all these little towns are looking alike,” I said as I looked up from my sewing.
Tu-Na Helper: “They should. This is the third time we’ve passed this one this morning.”
We met up with Susan, a blog follower, at Colorz Quilt Shop in Baxter. In fact, we met Sue and her friend, Deb, at the same shop last year as well as several more times on the hop (read about it here and here).
We were informed at Aitkin Quilts & Fabrics in Aitkin that this shop would be closing for good shortly after the hop was over. It’s been fun poking through each room each year looking for something that I might happen to need. We shall miss coming to it and miss seeing the unique sink in their restroom.
However, they’ve decided to continue as an online store so that means they won’t be able to be a participating shop on the hop. Online shopping seems to be the wave of the future. But there is nothing like feeling the fabric before purchasing, seeing the colors in person, and talking fiber and stitches with other quilters. We do wish them well.
We were driving somewhere between either Baxter and Aitkin or Aitkin and McGregor (my notes weren’t entirely clear) when the following conversation occurred.
Tu-Na Helper: “I’m surprised with all the years we’ve driven through Minnesota on the quilt hop that we’ve never seen a moose.”
I looked up from my sewing and scanned the area. The countryside was perfect for one. There were trees, marshes, and cattails. Just a few miles down the road I spotted something. It was standing quite close to the side of the road with its head held high trying to hide on the other side of a tree. I was surprised at how large it was. I’ve never seen a moose that close to me before. The sun glistened off it’s side.
Me: “Look, I shouted as I pointed excitedly to the left side of the road. “There’s one! Who says that God doesn’t provide?”
Tu-Na Helper: “I was hoping to see a real one, not a sculpture of one.”
He refused to turn the car around so I could get a picture of that life-sized, magnificent, metal, moose and continued driving to the next shop.
It started raining just before we pulled up to Timeless Treasures Quilt Shop in McGregor (I featured them here). I would hear more sad news at this shop. Diane, the owner, has been trying to sell her shop for over a year. She’s finally decided not to wait any longer and to close the doors for good in October so she can retire. This is a cute shop that I’ve enjoyed coming to each year.
Diane wasn’t in the shop today as she was hosting the regional bus of quilters and they were headed to Floodwood. So were we.
We arrived at Hingeley Road Quilt Shop in Floodwood with no bus in sight.
Not taking the chance that the bus would be arriving any minute, we got right down to business searching for things on my list and then getting our passports stamped.
Every year this shop has given us shop hoppers a pattern book that they’ve written and this year was no exception.
The next stop would be the Quilted Dog in Cloquet. The skies were darkening and the raindrops were getting larger. I convinced Tu-Na Helper to secure a room at our favorite place in the Beaver Bay area, Lax Lake Resort, before it got too late. Read more about our adventures at Lax Lake Resort in 2017 here and here and in 2018 here.
Me: “What!?” I loudly exclaimed. “How could they not have a room for us?” They’ve had openings all the previous years we’ve needed one on the hop.
I was beginning to think tonight would be a repeat of last night wondering where we’d find a room with a bed to lay our heads.
I was excited to finally arrive at Hannah Johnson Fabrics in Duluth. Last year on the hop, we were told they would be expanding into the next building and putting in a coffee shop and classroom. We’d been waiting all day for a really good coffee drink. Visions of caffè mochas and frappés danced in our heads.
Tu-Na Helper parked across the street from Hannah Johnson’s and we both looked at the shop next to it; the one where the new coffee shop was to be. It looked dark. The sign on the door said to enter through the quilt shop. So we did. I asked about the coffee shop and found out that she’d changed her mind shortly after the purchase deciding to turn that space into a gift shop instead as well as a classroom. I really thought it would be a good combination: coffee and quilt shop. Actually, I was hoping for the combination of a coffee and quilt shop right about now.
I called Quilt Corner in Beaver Bay as Google maps said we would be arriving about 10 minutes after closing time. I featured them last year here. Roxanne informed me that she was expecting a bus at 4:45 and most likely would still be open when we came. It’s a long way from Duluth to Beaver Bay; a long way with some very pretty scenery.
We arrived at Quilt Corner just as the last two people made their way back inside the bus. Talk about being lucky today. We checked out of the Northeast region here receiving our choice of metal trivets in the shape of Minnesota with a cut-out of a quilt block.
Now to find a room for the night. There were many calls and many disappointments. Nothing was available in the Beaver Bay/Silver Bay area. We tried to call the motel in Barnum where we stayed at during one of our earlier shop hop trips (read about it here) but were unsuccessful in finding the correct phone number.
Finally, we secured a room in Finlayson, two hours and 15 minutes away. The good news was that the quilt shop in nearby Sandstone was only 11 miles away from the hotel and the shop opened at 10 the next morning. Sundays usually are a short day on the hop because most of the shops don’t open until noon but close by 5 and tomorrow was Sunday. The bad news was that we’d be driving right past the quilt shop in Moose Lake on our way to the hotel but it was after closing time which meant we would need to backtrack to visit the shop at another time. I’m beginning to think we’ll be doing a lot of backtracking on this trip.
As we were driving down the highway heading towards our hotel, we drove by a restaurant between Two Harbors and Duluth called the Scenic Cafe. It looked nice from the outside. There were lots of cars in the parking lot and we were hungry for supper. That checked off all the boxes for a good recommendation to eat there.
After waiting 40 minutes, we were called to come inside.
Once our food arrived, we were glad we stayed even if it meant getting to the hotel later than we wanted.
A Look at the Loot for the Day
Don’t miss out on my other 2019 Shop Hop posts:
Or the Shop Hop posts from prior years:
What I Learned Today:
- “Love the journey, Leave the Cash” as seen on an online pop-up ad for Visa.
- This shop hop and my pile of loot are proving there’s a lot of truth to #1.
- It rains a lot in Northern Minnesota.
- Minnesota lake country has some of the prettiest clouds I’ve seen.
- I have a habit of putting glasses on the top of my head. I realized this after looking at the picture of me and Susan above.
Question: If given a preference would you choose potato salad or fries? I guess you know my answer to that.
At this time I am not affiliated with any of the items, products, services, or shops that I picture or talk about here on Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats. I just happen to like and use them.
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.
Karen, Tu-Na Quilts