It is widely believed that it was the Ancient Egyptians who invented pie. This early version was a crusty creation filled with honey. In the 5th Century BC, Greeks fashioned a pastry recipe, which would be tweaked by the Romans to become similar to today’s version. Fast forward to the 1900s, and we find this sweet creation settling into the daily lives of the people of the North Shores. Let’s face it, they have discovered the power of pie. Our short excursion offered us a chance to sample some of this delectable treasure, and we were not about to pass it by.
This trip included Crystal’s mom, Frieda, who was as excited as we were to go exploring. Heading north out of Duluth, we had cruised the shoreline for visits to Splitrock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls. As we traversed the landscape, our attention fell on a couple of rustic sites that touted plenty of pie. Passing by in the morning, we decided to save this particular treat for our return trip. The two main choices are Betty’s Pies and Rustic Inn Cafe. As we made our way back to the south, it was the latter that we came to first. No reason to postpone the inevitable, so we pulled off the road and put our name on the waiting list.
Why Not Dessert First?
While we waited, we perused their gift shop and found lots of interesting items to investigate. Soon we were summoned by the host and seated in the dining room. After a morning filled with adventure, our appetites were plentiful. It was decided that we would begin with a late lunch because we knew we would have room for pie afterward. Handhelds were the choice of all of us and we reminisced about our recent excursions. As we began to fill up, the power of pie was beckoning us to save room for the main event.
Power of Pie
As we were checking in, we made note of the blackboard listing the various pie choices. Rustic Inn Cafe offers half a dozen cream pies and the same amount of fruit pies. They also showcase three crumb versions, so the choices are plentiful. At certain times they will include a few seasonal offerings, so choosing was even more difficult. The question came down to how best would we manage a fair sampling of their desserts. In the end, we each gravitated to one that sounded most appealing. Crystal had no qualms choosing the Caramel Apple Pecan, which perfectly blends a grouping of flavors. Her mom and I were thrilled to sample a bite from this sweet creation.
Frieda struggled with her choice, as she found many that sounded intriguing. In the end, she selected the Raspberry Cream, which offers a light and fluffy texture. I’m not as big of a fan of raspberry as the two of them, but I did sample a bite for research’s sake. It wasn’t tart as I had expected as it uses raspberry cream cheese mixture for a base. My selection was the 5-Layer Chocolate, which is a mixture of flavors. I recognized chocolate cream, heavy cream, chocolate ganache, and meringue in the mix. All of the pies had the same flaky crust holding in all of the flavors.
One for the Road
Our long ride back to Fairmont, Minnesota was filled with the memories of our recent tasting experience. The power of pie had once again overwhelmed us with its ability to make a good meal great. The miles were filled with discussion of the day’s activities, as well the plans for the coming ones. Our visit to the North Shores had piqued our interest in seeing more of this scenic territory. It looks like there will have to be return visits in the future. Have you ever visited this area? If so, we’d love to hear some of your favorite stops in the comments below.
Pin the Power of Pie!
In 2019 a friend and I scheduled a bus trip and one of the stops was Canal Island in Duluth. If you missed the Aerial Lift Bridge, you indeed need to go back. The Maritime Museum and the Great Lakes Aquarium are both near the Aerial Lift Bridge. Fun trip, loved the description of your “pie” experience!
It makes us happy to hear that you enjoyed the article. We only had one afternoon and evening in Duluth, so our experiences were limited. Another round of exploring is definitely a desire for all of us. There is just so much to see and do in the region.
A few years ago we were meandering home to Omaha after a Minnesota fishing jaunt. Starting in Duluth, we cruised through many a small town, finally stopping for the best raisin cream pie you’ll ever taste. Unfortunately, no matter how we rack our brains and revisit the map, we can’t remember the name of the town with the extraordinary pie. Incidentally, we also did stop into Betty’s Pies— how could we skip such an icon!
It’s interesting to us that pie is held in such high regard in the North Shores area. Whatever the reason, we have no issue with finding plenty of availability for so many delicious flavors.