What is the North Shore? What does it mean to live there? And…can saying you live here make it true?
The Lake County News Chronicle reported on a case of mistaken North Shore identity. The four contestents for the title of Miss North Shore listed their homes as Silver Bay, Two Harbors…and “Scenic Highway 61.” The eventual winner, Caitlyn Thompson, was the person from the scenic highway.
After some consideration by authorities, however, it was decided that Ms. Thompson did not actually live on the North Shore. She lives in a Twin Cities suburb, Vadnais Heights.
Ms. Thompson’s family has a summer vacation home in Holyoke. Holyoke is a small settlement in the Nemadji River area south of Jay Cooke State Park. You reach it off Highway 23, the scenic back route shortcut between Duluth and Sandstone. Holyoke is within 30 miles of Lake Superior, as the crow flies. But it’s not really the North Shore.
So the title of Miss North Shore, and the $1000 scholarship, passed on to first runner-up Kimberly Jacobson of Two Harbors.
I say, “Welcome to the North Shore, Ms. Thompson.” Keep saying you live here, and eventually you really will. Holyoke isn’t quite as North Shore cool as, say, Finland or Maple Hill, but it’s close. We need more talented, energetic young people moving here. When Ms. Thompson finishes her nursing studies at St. Thomas, I bet there’s a job for her in Grand Marais or Duluth.
I remember when I was in my early 20s, a lifelong resident of the Twin Cities but also a Boundary Waters guide and frequent North Shore explorer. At one point, I started telling people I lived in northern Minnesota. It took a few more years of actually living in Ely to make that true, but it was so important…and felt so good!…just to say it.
The rules of the beauty pageant may have ruled her not a real “Miss North Shore.” But saying you live on the Shore, even when you’re stuck in the suburbs, is the first step to making it true.
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