Tourism is a big part of the North Shore economy, all the way from Duluth to Grand Marais near Lake Superior in northeast Minnesota.

The tourist industry is again attracting people to the North Shore, but they are doing things the right way in light of COVID-19.

Masks, social distancing and other safety practices are the order of the day in lodges, restaurants, supermarkets and even outdoors near the headquarters of places such as Gooseberry Falls State Park.

Our family spent four nights in a lodge north of Two Harbors, near Gooseberry Falls, the week of July 5. We were impressed by businesses and residents alike who showed concern for their safety and also the well-being of visitors like us.

“It was really tough being closed down until just recently,” said a masked waiter who served us at a restaurant close to the waterfront in Duluth. “We all want to do this right by staying safe and not having to close down a second time.”

City leaders in Duluth have directives for residents and visitors, emphasizing that  people need to make responsible choices while utilizing parks and trails. Those directives held true as we traveled farther up the North Shore, a few miles past Two Harbors.

Many people wore masks as they headed from the parking lot to the water falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park. Others made sure to adhere to social distancing. There was a feeling that we were all in this together, the way it should be.

All along the North Shore, a person had ample opportunity to use hand sanitizer made available for the general public.

As we got closer to home, we made a stop at a restaurant about an hour’s drive from Fergus Falls. 

To our chagrin, we were the only ones who wore face masks when we entered the building. The restaurant, to their credit, did have tables spaced from one another at a safe distance. But the servers did not wear masks.

We all need to do our part by playing it safe in response to COVID-19. We can all make better efforts during these trying times.


Loving Popsicles

This is the time of year when many of us go back to our childhood days and remember our love of Popsicles.

I’ve enjoyed the flavor of some Popsicles in recent days.

Popsicle flavors in the 1950s included root beer, lemon, lime, cherry, orange, banana, grape and watermelon. In the following decade the Murmaids (Fischer sisters) recorded their hit song “Popsicles and Icicles.”

All of this raises interesting historical questions, such as how and when did Popsicles become part of our lives.

In 1905 in San Francisco, 11-year-old Frank Epperson was mixing a flavoring for soda and water out on the porch. He left it there, with a stirring stick still in it. That night, temperatures reached a record low.

The next morning, as noted on the Popsicle history website, he discovered the drink had frozen to the stick. This inspired Epperson to produce a fruit-flavored Popsicle.

And, as the cliché goes, the rest is history.


Cheers for push-up pops

Many baby boomers remember the frozen orange treats in cylindrical form, referred to as Push-Up pops in the 1950s and 1960s.

Kids reached deep into cold freezer chests in corner grocery stores and retrieved cardboard tubes with tasty treats inside.

The cardboard tube with an attached push-up stick, when used properly, resulted in a summer delight of orange sherbet or other flavored treats such as lime and grape.

Later, children of baby boomers had the same delights with the Flintstones Push-Up. And today many of these treats are advertised on the internet. Among them are Orange Sherbet Push-Ems.

The memories are many for those who purchased summer treats at corner grocery stores during a bygone era. Those really were the good old days.


Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.

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