The sound of icy water lapping slate rocks washes over us as we try to find our breath. Lungs slowly fill and release the warm peppermint scented air in a deliberate manner. The difficulty is turning off the circuitous thoughts involving everything from a hangnail to the state of our relationship. Life can be like a manic Merry-Go-Round of work, worry, and moments of simply being okay. How often, though, do we take the time to focus on our breath?
They say that when you’ve been in a relationship for a certain amount of time, when you lay together, your breathing becomes synched. In the quiet, you can almost hear each heartbeat. Once the initial rush of heady romance settles into the reality of everyday life, how often do we take the moment to hold each other and breathe, and allow our hearts to reconnect? Those quiet moments sustain that glowing ember of enduring love. The best way to find your way back to that moment is to remove yourself from the daily stress of your everyday world and run away together.
Larsmont Cottages (www.larsmontcottages.com) are just far enough up the North Shore to feel like another land. In the winter months, the snow blankets the land and, while it may appear sleepy–and the surroundings are certainly quiet–there are a million things to do and ways to find that reconnection.
On arrival, a fire burns in the main Larsmont Lodge, a calming Northwoods aroma. This is also where the Ledge Rock Grille is, plan ahead and make a reservation for the Chef’s Table–the only one in the area. Chef Uriah Hefter will tailor the evening’s menu to you–so let them know if you have any likes or dietary restrictions. On our visit, a six-course dinner culminated with a lush lavender panna cotta. Choose a wine from the well-selected list and enjoy your own dinner theater. It’s an excellent way to toast the beginning of your stay.
The cottages have gorgeous lake views with a fair amount of privacy–if you don’t want to overlap with other guests, it’s not hard to isolate yourselves to your desired degree. The full units are equipped with a full kitchen, stocked with all the necessary equipment, just bring your own groceries (there’s a fabulous co-op, Whole Foods in Duluth www.wholefoods.coop/wp).
The weather in this part of the state can change from moment to moment, but no matter the condition, there is plenty to do outside. While there is a roaring fire, satellite TV, bottles of wine, and DVDs available, there is no season where the out of doors doesn’t call. There is ice climbing, hiking, snow shoeing, sleigh rides and more. Odyssey Resorts (which owns Larsmont) has a full-time activity director who coordinates biking and kayaking available in the warmer months (kayaking includes a trip up to Split Rock lighthouse and a tour around a shipwreck) as well as all-things-winter. Head out into the stunning vistas, your breath crystallizing as it hits the air, and work up a healthy sweat. Invigorating afternoons can culminate with a backyard marshmallow roast. Again, just let the staff know your timing and they will get the fire going and supply S’mores fixings. There is also a traditional Finnish sauna by the water; finish working out that sweat and steam your way back your cottage. Or enjoy a nighttime dip in the year-round hot tub, under the twinkling stars.
If you’re looking for other spots to dine around the area, the New Scenic Café is not to be missed (www.sceniccafe.com) as the premiere dining destination up the North Shore with a laid-back vibe and exquisite cuisine. The Lighthouse at Emily’s (www.lighthouseatemilys.com) is a converted general store and house just off the scenic highway serving great burgers, salads, and nightly specials: Saturday night is prime rib.
If you’re not ready to call it a night, there’s a shuttle available up to Grand Superior Lodge where winter months bring the BLU Ice Bar (www.grandsuperior.com/icebar). Bundle up, suck ‘em down, and don’t worry about having to drive home.
A Larsmont weekend isn’t complete without a visit to the lakeside massage house, which offers massages for individuals or couples. In the massage house is where we lay, listening to the water in a warm room as experts knead away the knots of worry that have collected beneath our skin. Breathing in the perfume of essential oils, we then exhale worry and doubt. Gently, we blow down the walls that we built around us. It is in that moment that I hear our heartbeat.