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USA Diary

Ely is quinte­ssen­tial small-town America: well-to-do far­m­ers, a lot of love for nature, backpacking, canoeing trails...

USA Diary
Photo by Sanjay Rawat
USA Diary
outlookindia.com
2016-03-11T22:02:49+05:30

The quaint little town of Ely north of Minnes­ota—past Lake Superior, one tip of the US (a few more miles, and you could trespass into Can­ada)—comes as a neat surprise, all wrapped in lush green on a rain-soaked eve­ning. Our first road trip in the US with pitst­ops on Highway 61 and Dylan playing on the stereo, at Finland (it’s just a town, no relation to the country), or even contemplating a $20 bet to swim in icy water, all add to the curiosity that is Ely. The cold rush that greets us at this little spot on the Vermilion Iron Range, also a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilde­rness, ends soon with the warmth of the fireplace. Our hosts Retta and Frank have a house in the middle of a pine-and-redwood forest. Beautiful and sort of cavernous. We are treated to a meal of cre­am chicken, garden-fresh salad and strawberry shortcake.

With some 3,000 residents, Ely is quinte­ssen­tial small-town America: well-to-do far­m­ers, a lot of love for nature, backpacking, canoeing trails, pot-luck dinners and a busy art scene with the Blueberry and Harvest Moon festivals. Ely’s famous Steger Muk­luks and Moccasins are alm­ost perfect for the winding trails. “We had a couple of Russian guests who’d take long walks, swim in the lake and then soothe their nerves in the sauna,” they say, in cheerful banter.

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