Life in the Woods: Three families go ‘Off the Grid’ in Northern Minnesota

Driving north toward the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, you’ll see towering evergreens, pristine lakes, and bountiful wildlife. What you might miss at first glance are the remote cabins and yurts where a few Minnesotans spend not just weeks or summers, but entire lives amongst the trees. Living off the grid means different things to … [ Read more]

Remote Minnesota: Five out-of-the-way trails and state parks to escape to this summer

Minnesota is blessed with an abundance of scenic attractions and wonders that are renowned across and beyond the Land of Sky Blue Waters. But for those amongst us seeking less-trodden trails, a host of options can be found across the North Star State. Some are hidden deep within Minnesota’s wilderness while others can be found … [ Read more]

A Roadside Diversion That Makes Roadside Diversions: It’s a meta wonderland at the FAST moldyard

A lifeless mermaid sits on an anchor in a field just north of Sparta, Wisconsin. Behind her looms a menagerie of bears, cows, fish, pirates, and the 12-foot-tall hindquarters of a sitting dog. His giant head is some feet away, casting a blank stare toward a trunkless elephant. Travelers on a quiet stretch of highway south … [ Read more]

Homeward Bound: We quit our jobs, sold our house, and spent 112 days on the road

In 2015, my husband Brian and I quit our jobs, sold our house, and left our life in Seattle, Washington, in search of a new home. We’d spent years trapped in a never-ending cycle of long commutes, longer hours, and seemingly shorter weekends to afford our life in this beautiful part of the world and … [ Read more]

The Growler’s Tourism Guide 2019

There’s nothing like a long, brutal winter to make a Minnesotan dream of escape. It’s been a lifetime, it seems, of scraping and shoveling and waddling along icy sidewalks like a penguin, shoulders hunched, lips chapped, cursing your hardy ancestors who thought this might be a good locale to set up shop. To make things … [ Read more]

It’ll Fit: A Master Course in Packing

You never need as much as you think you will when traveling. A travel pillow, your electric toothbrush and charger, that cute outfit you swear you’re going to wear that needs matching shoes: it’s all extra, and it’s all going to add up in weight and bulk.  Successful packing starts with a few considerations:  Check … [ Read more]

Eight Travel Must-Haves (and Two You Should Ditch)

It’s easy to slip into “what if” mode when packing for a trip. What if the temperature does a nose dive and I didn’t pack anything appropriate? What if I lose my cell phone? What if my luggage gets lost? While there are some things, like the weather, that you simply can’t control, there are … [ Read more]

Why the Smell of Locker Rooms Trigger Panic Attacks in Musicians: An essay by Rob Morgan  

I’m told your sense of smell is linked more closely with your memory than any other sense, and I’ve never wished that that wasn’t true more than I do right now. I’m sitting backstage in Yokohama, Japan, listening to the muted sounds of the opening band finish their set before we go on, and my … [ Read more]

There’s Something About Hallock: One town’s pitch for why you should want to be their neighbor

The gurgling shriek of a milk steamer and smell of fresh pour-over coffee fills the air of Bean and Brush Creative Coffee. Vintage-inspired asterisk-shaped chandeliers illuminate the art on the walls. Four children chase each other, dodging brightly colored chairs and glancing every so often at their moms, who are relaxing in armchairs in the … [ Read more]

Bayfield or Bust: Our 10-Stop Dining Roadtrip to Wisconsin’s South Shore

If you’re one of the thousands of people heading north and east to Wisconsin’s famous Bayfield Apple Festival this weekend, wear some stretchy pants—the crescent-shaped land of Chequamegon Bay has a lot more than fruit to offer its visitors. The South Shore community is relatively small—about 30,000 people living in the coastal counties of Ashland and … [ Read more]

Cheap beer and humility: Lessons from a 22-day Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trip

The Grand Canyon is an amazing geologic feature. Cutting through the Colorado Plateau on its way to the Gulf of California, the Colorado River drains the western slope of the Southern Rockies and, over millions of years, has carved a 277-mile long, 6,000-foot deep chasm, at the bottom of which is one of the most … [ Read more]

Five State Parks across the Heartland for your road-tripping pleasure

Looking for some summer or fall road trip inspirations? The Growler has you covered with these Heartland destinations. ■ ■ ■ West on I-94: Lake Sakakawea State Park near Pick City, North Dakota Stretching 178 miles in length from Williston, North Dakota, to the Garrison Dam near Pick City, North Dakota, Lake Sakakawea is a … [ Read more]

Main Street, Minnesota: a three-day journey through windmills and water towers, into the heart of the state’s small towns

Milk at Carl’s Corner in Essig, Minnesota, is 80 cents a glass, $1.50 if you want a large—which, from a quick survey of the wood-paneled dining room, several patrons do. We’re on day two of our three-day road trip from Lake City to Luverne. Normally, this cross-Minnesota trek would take four, maybe four-and-a-half hours to … [ Read more]

Freedom of limitations, or ‘How Germany took away my options in all the best ways’

What beers do you have on tap?” I’ve always been a firm believer in the overused cliche “There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” but at that moment, sitting at a bar in Munich with the question I’d just asked echoing in my head, I was considering amending it slightly to: “There’s no such … [ Read more]

The Unnecessary Categorization of Everything (Or Why I Love Shibuya Crossing)

My buzz has completely worn off. Throwing back Asahi, Japan’s rice beer equivalent to Budweiser, the entire 12-hour flight over seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, standing in line at Japanese customs, I was beginning to rethink my decision to make friendly with the flight staff. When you’re flying with a … [ Read more]