On December 14, my book took me to Grand Rapids. I signed books at Village Bookstore in Central Square Mall for a couple of hours.
A lot of Minnesota families go “up North” in the summer. If they are lucky, they have a cabin on one of the thousands of lakes in this state. Otherwise, camping is a popular option.
My family was not one of those families. I was “up North” only once in my childhood, and that was for a sixth-grade class trip to Isabella in 1987. The next time I went up North was 1994, and that again was northeastern Minnesota. I’ve been back numerous times since, but always to the North Shore of Lake Superior, rarely into the northern Minnesota interior.
We went through Princeton on our way to Grand Rapids, and Princeton up until now had been the furthest north I’d been on Highway 169.
Huge swaths of this state are unknown to me: Brainerd, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Grand Rapids. I could go to these places anytime, of course, but I’m grateful that my book is giving me opportunity to travel the state.
The good news is I received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant for 2014 that will allow me to continue these statewide travels. I plan to hit Grand Rapids again (along with Duluth, Grand Marais, and Ely). I also plan a north-central Minnesota tour (Bemidji, Brainerd, and Detroit Lakes) and a southeastern Minnesota tour (Red Wing, Winona, and Rochester).
Grand Rapids is a lovely community with everything I need (including a Caribou Coffee!). I had forgotten that Grand Rapids had been home to one of five “ag” schools in the state–the North Central School of Agriculture. As I mention in my book, Dad attended the Southern School of Agriculture in Waseca.