Lutsen Lupi-Soo

November 17, 2016 | My Jottings

My friend Denel flew in to Minnesota last Thursday for our latest Lupi-Soo Convention. There are only two people in attendance at the convention whenever it convenes — Denel and me. If you’re new here, we got the name for our occasional long-weekend gatherings by combining the first parts of our maiden names; thus, Lupiani and Sooter became Lupi-Soo. When we were ten we thought about opening The Lupi-Soo Girls Detective Agency but it never got off the ground. I can’t remember why — maybe we couldn’t get financing or something.

Denel and I met in Colorado for a long weekend once, and stayed in a cabin 9000 feet above sea level in the Rockies. Then we met in Seattle and stayed there and on Bainbridge Island. We went on a cruise to Alaska another time, and there have been some Lupi-Soo Conventions in Duluth, out of necessity.

This time, however, we headed north to Lutsen. It would be unfortunate if that tiny place on the North Shore of Lake Superior was pronounced as it looks phonetically. Instead, it’s pronounced LOOTS-en, for those of you trying to stay accurate. Denel and I stayed in a two bedroom log cabin right on the shore of the Lake, and it was heaven.

Here we are, 52 years into our friendship, the first day at the cabin, out on the deck.


It was wonderful to drive along such scenery with no particular time commitments. We stopped for a late lunch in Beaver Bay at a great little spot called The Lemon Wolf Cafe. We listened to music and enjoyed some worship songs sung by Denel’s daughter Nicole. We arrived a bit early at the Lutsen Resort and were pleasantly surprised to find our cabin was ready, so we unloaded the car, surveyed the cabin with happy anticipation, and went out on the deck to exclaim about God’s creation. I’ve said this before, but I never get over how Lake Superior looks like the ocean. Awe-inspiring in all its moods.

We drove north to Grand Marais, MN and shopped for a few groceries at Gene’s Grocery store. We stopped into a little place called the Java Moose, where Denel had a deep chocolate coffee and I had a hot chai tea.

We decided that we would sleep in on Saturday and have breakfast at home before meandering back north for exploring.


Friday night we ate at the resort’s dining room and I had Beef Wellington for the first time. Our table was the one in the picture above, set for two near the middle window and radiator, although it was dark when we ate. Denel had a salad and we split Swedish Creme for dessert. The outside temperatures were in the high forties and the winds were blustery, so we were looking forward to a fire in our wood stove when we returned to our cabin and put on our jammies. Try as we might, our fire would not stay lit, so we had to enlist some staff help and a young man arrived who blasted the kindling and wood with a blow torch.

Here’s a little video of Denel, the fire, some Van Morrison music, and part of our delightful home away from home.

Click here.

Denel’s room had two double beds, mine had one king bed, which was super comfortable.


I tried to sleep in late since for a change I could, but I think my clock is permanently set from years of early rising, and I was up at dawn on Saturday, soaking in this gorgeousness:


We did our Bible studies, oohed and aahed over the sunrise on the lake, and took our time before heading back into little Grand Marais for the day. I had hoped we could lunch at The Crooked Spoon Cafe, which has scrumptious food, but they were closed for the winter. I had hoped we could have a donut from The World’s Best Donuts (they are) but they were closed for the winter. Boo. So for lunch we ate at a rustic, lively restaurant called My Sister’s Place. Our food was fantastic. Denel had the Reuben sandwich with sweet potato fries, and I had the Twin Sisters cheeseburger with a half order of onion rings. We both ate from each other’s plates and agreed the food was moan-worthy. Here’s my friend looking like we both felt — so happy to be together.


We left some stray fries/rings on our plates, but not many.


On Saturday night after wandering around Grand Marais, browsing in the Lake Superior Trading Post and the quirky Ben Franklin store, we came home and watched a few episodes of a show I’d never seen, recommended by Denel’s daughter. Have any of you seen Parenthood? We were interested right away.

The Super Moon was shining down on the turbulent lake, and we went outside on the deck to praise the silvery beauty God allowed us to see. I can’t imagine anyone ever tiring of seeing the work of His hands.

Later the next day I took a panoramic picture with my iPhone, and this was the view from our cabin deck.


We checked out of our cabin on Sunday morning, bought matching souvenir mugs from the gift shop so we’d drink our tea and coffee 1200 miles apart and still remember, and when we got close to Duluth we stopped at The New Scenic Cafe for lunch. The Scenic is the place for foodies, and for people who like their food to look artistic as well as to cause them to roll their eyes with every bite. I had to take a picture of the dessert we split: “Semolina Cake infused with orange blossom water honey, apricots, pistachios, cardamom ice cream and ginger fairy floss.” Oh my gosh. Such unexpected and delectable textures and tastes.


Denel flew home on Monday and we each returned to our respective jobs. She’s a therapist in SoCal, I’m an adult foster provider in NoMin. Back to our paperwork, appointments, homes, dogs, adult children and grands, and in some ways, back to the sorrows we each face. But both of us know that our sorrows are in the hands of Jesus, and we both wait on Him to do whatever He’s going to do. We’re trusting Him with our hearts and with all those we love. And for the record, the Lord has piled our lives high with many joys, too.

Being together every year or two is a blessed respite. Denel and I reminisce, because our history together is so long. I knew her mom Millie when she (Millie) was younger than my own children are now! Gah. Denel and I cry together, pray together, laugh and sing and eat, and look forward to heaven together.


And we know that if heaven happens to be a ways off, we can have the next best thing, and plan for another future Lupi-Soo Convention, where the two sole members will convene to revel in decades of friendship.


  1. Mariah says:

    What a beautiful friendship! Longevity….love that!!!! And what a beautiful little getaway place! So glad you had that time with your dear friend and hoping you continue to feel refreshed and recharged!

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for such kind words, Mariah. I see you’re flying off to distant lands…God bless you! xoxo

  3. Ganeida says:

    Lovely. What joy to have such an enduring friendship.

  4. Just Julie says:

    I feel very blessed, Ganeida. xoxo

  5. Tauni says:

    Looks like so much fun. Still hoping to join you both one of these days!! Love ~

  6. Just Julie says:

    Tauni, wouldn’t that be great to make it a Lupi-Soo-Boo someday? missing you…. xoxo

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