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North House Folk School Offers Freshwater Studies

“A half-day sail aboard the Hjørdis is more than a boat ride,” says the schooner’s captain Matthew Brown. A three-hour sail includes information and activities geared to excite participants about the geology and history of Lake Superior’s North Shore and its water chemistry, physics, and ecology. The North House Folk School offers a unique sailing experience for anyone, any age, interested in learning about Lake Superior.

The Hjørdis is a 1978 gaff-rigged schooner that bears the name of a Norwegian goddess. The schooner was used as a houseboat for 12 years in the Bahamas prior to its arrival in Lake Superior. Two years ago it became part of the Lake Superior Education Program, which operates within the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN.

Hjørdis on Lake Superior. /

Photo courtesy of North House Folk School.

Originally, people sailed Lake Superior for utilitarian reasons: fishing and transportation. The Hjørdis is similar to the schooners used by the Scandinavians who settled this region but it sports some modern safety features and claims a completely different mission. The Lake Superior Education Program often works with organized groups but 80% of the participants in its Freshwater Studies Sail inquire individually at the dock in Grand Marais. This delights Peter Barsness, the Hjørdis’s instructor, who advocates lifelong learning and has committed himself to promoting regional knowledge, skills, and crafts.

For more information, visit the Hjørdis in Grand Marais or contact the North House Folk School at 218.387.9762 or toll free at 1.888.387.9762, or by e-mail.

The Hjørdis

Lake Superior Education Program, North House Folk School

Home Port
Grand Marais, Minnesota

50 feet

Matthew Brown

Crew Size

Scientist Capacity

Trip Duration
3 hours to 5 days

Major Function

Web site
North House Folk School

By Sharon Moen
February 2000

Return to February 2000 Seiche

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