Lake Superior & The Gales of November

“When the gales of November came slashin’.”

As most famously illustrated in Gordon Lightfoot’s song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” November can bring violent storms creating gale-force winds that cause gigantic waves and fury on Lake Superior. November has notably been the month where dozens of shipwrecks occurred. Perhaps the most violent storm to hit Gitche Gummi was the 1905 storm known as the “Mataafa Blow,” which took the lives of nine men as the Mataafa ship hit the North Shore and was destroyed. The 15 survivors managed to climb to safety and stayed warm by the fire they created in the captain’s bathtub. That storm alone caused damage to 29 ships which a third were owned (and uninsured) by the U.S. Steel Company.

In 1910, Split Rock Lighthouse was Born

The U.S. Steel president initiated a mission in Washington, D.C., to lobby for a light station. Historically, Split Rock was initially named “Stony Point,” but the lobbyists used Split Rock in 1907 when referring to the location, and the name stuck. That year, Congress earmarked $75,000 for a lighthouse and fog signal, and in 1910, Split Rock Lighthouse was born.

Over the last hundred years, more than 140 ships were lost to the gales of November on Lake Superior. The great lakes serve as the most dangerous maritime region in mid-fall. Meteorologists use the term “weather bomb” for the strong low-pressure systems that feed off the relatively warm waters of the great lakes.

What Weather Scenarios Cause the Gales?

When a strong, low-pressure Canadian system collides with the warmer waters of the great lakes, it generates tremendous wind speeds of up to 50-69 mph. Imagine when the winds stir up a 200-mile area body of water, you’ll witness the mayhem of mother nature in action.

Where are the best spots to safely wave watch?

First, when she’s raging, it’s best to watch indoors. However, if you choose to brave the elements, be sure to stand a safe distance away. Some of the best spots to watch massive waves along the north shore in Lake County include:

  • Palisade Head – located in Tettegouche State Park, the high cliffs make an excellent viewpoint as long as the waves don’t reach the top!
  • Split Rock Lighthouse –  When visiting the state park, you can hike down many stairs (171 to be exact) down to the coastline. An overlook along the way will give you a sweet scene of Lake Superior.
  • Two Harbors Break Wall – if the waves aren’t too insane, it’s quite a view to watch the waves crash against the break wall and the ore docks.

Lodging Specials with Lake Superior Views in Lake County

If you prefer to wave watch surrounded by the comfort of a warm fire, several lodging facilities offer lakeside views and special pricing during November.

Larsmont Cottages

Gales of November

The “Gales of November” is an annual sight to behold. Storms can get as strong as hurricanes. Book your front-row seat to the best wave-watching season!

Special Includes:

  • 25% Off Lodging
  • (2) Free Drink Tokens

Valid November 1 -30, 2022. Three-night minimum required.

Stay & Dine

Enjoy 15% off lodging and receive a $50 dining card to Ledge Rock Grille when you stay two or more nights!
Valid October 24, 2022 – April 30, 2023

Gooseberry Park Cottages & Motel

cover point lodge north shore lodging special

Fall/Winter Getaway Special

Stay Two Nights and Get Your Third Night Free at Off-Peak Pricing!

  • 1-Bedroom Lakeside Cabin $139.00 per night plus tax
  • 2-Bedroom Lakeside Cabin $169.00 per night plus tax

Valid 10/24/21 to 04/01/22

Superior Shores Resort

Wave Season 3rd Night Free!

Stay for two nights this Wave Season and receive the 3rd night free! Also, receive a $100 dining credit for Silver Creek Chophouse. Valid October 24-November 30, 2022.

Cove Point Lodge

Guest Appreciation Week: October 23 – 30

It’s our favorite week of the year – Guest Appreciation Week! Our guests are the best, and we love to give back! All guests will receive a complimentary T-shirt, and all reservations will receive a complimentary welcome bag at check-in. Join us nightly for complimentary wine, spend time with our North Shore naturalists, get crafty with our Creative Nature Station, spin the Wheel of Fun, and register for our grand prize drawing for a chance to win a four-night future stay in any lodge room.

  • Stay 2 Nights – Save 20% Off
  • Stay 3 Nights – Save 25% Off
  • Stay 4 Nights – Save 30% Off
  • Stay 5 Nights – Save 35% Off

Tettegouche Lodge

Save 10-20% off the rental of the 8-bedroom lodge from October 1 – November 30.

10% off for 3-night stays and 20% off for 4 or more nights at the 8-bedroom Tettegouche Lodge on 32 private acres with the Baptism River running through it.

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