“When the Gales of November came slashin’.”
The Gales of November — as most famously illustrated in Gordon Lightfoot’s song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” can bring violent storms, creating gale-force winds that cause gigantic waves and fury on Lake Superior.
Over the years, November has notably been the month where dozens of shipwrecks occurred. But perhaps the most violent storm to hit Gitche Gumee 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. However, 15 survivors climbed to safety and stayed warm by the fire they created in the captain’s bathtub. That storm alone caused damage to 29 ships, of which one-third were owned (and uninsured) by the U.S. Steel Company.
In 1910, Split Rock Lighthouse was Born
So, after the tragic Mataafa storm, The U.S. Steel president initiated a mission in Washington, D.C., to lobby for a light station. Also note that historically, Split Rock was initially named “Stoney Point,” but the lobbyists used Split Rock in 1907 when referring to the location, and the name stuck. Eventually that year, Congress earmarked $75,000 for a lighthouse and fog signal. Finally, in 1910, Split Rock Lighthouse was born.
Over the past 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. Mariners refer to these treacherous fall storms as “witches,”
What Weather Scenarios Cause the Lake Superior Gales?
When a robust, low-pressure Canadian system collides with the warmer waters of the Great Lakes, it generates tremendous wind speeds of up to 50-69 mph! So, 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 during the Gales of November?
When She’s raging, it’s best to watch the action indoors. However, if you choose to brave the elements, be sure to stand a safe distance away.
So, if you 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 weather isn’t too outrageous, watching them crash against the break wall and the ore docks is quite a sight.
2023 Gales of November Lodging Specials with Lake Superior Views
The gales can be quite intimidating at this time of year. So, 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.
Gales of November
The “Gales of November” is an annual sight to behold! Sometimes, storms can get as strong as hurricanes. So, if you’re looking for some raging Superior swells, book your front-row seat to the best wave-watching season!
- 20% Off Lodging
- A coupon for one free sweatshirt from the Gift Shop!
Valid November 1 -30, 2023.
Stay More Save More
The longer you stay, the more you save!
- Book TWO nights, receive 15% off lodging
- Stay THREE nights, receive 20% off lodging
- Reserve 4+ nights, receive 30% off lodging
Valid December 2, 2023 – February 29, 2024
Superior Shores Resort
Fireside Season 4th Night Free
Stay three nights in the Main Lodge this winter and receive your 4th night free. You’ll also receive a $100 dining credit for the Silver Creek Chophouse.
Valid December 1, 2023, through April 15, 2024.
Wave Season 3rd Night Free
Book two nights in the Main Lodge this Wave Season and Receive the third night free. In addition, you’ll also receive a $100 dining credit for Silver Creek Chophouse.”
Offer Valid October 23 – November 30, 2023.
*Listed specials cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. The daily resort fee applies to discounted nights.
Cove Point Lodge
Gales of November on Lake Superior: View Amazing Waves & Save Up to 20% Off
Every year during November, we see Lake Superior’s true power with the giant waves of the year driven by high winds. Relax with the gale-force winds and watch the waves from the comfort of the great hall while sitting by a cozy fire.
- Lodge Rooms – 20% off November 1-30, 2023
- Cottages – 20% Off November 1–21, 2023
- Lake Break Specials – 20% off all gift shop and lodge wine purchases during November.
Grand Superior Lodge
Witch of November Special
Experience the power of the Witch of November! Snuggle up in your cozy lodge room and watch as hurricane-sized waves crash against the shore. Who knows, maybe the witch will awaken during your stay. Don’t miss out on experiencing Lake Superior this time of year!
Stay 2 nights and get 20% off
Stay 3 nights and get 30% off
Valid November 1 – 30, 2023