Who would have thought that driving 4 hours north of Minneapolis, MN that there would be this little town which has been nominated as "The Coolest Small Town" in America! Ely, Minnesota! And why would anybody want to go there on vacation!

Let me put it to you this way. I had the most fun,  met the coolest people, had the best food and had the best experiences on vacation.

The reason we went here was to come to a picnic which was organized by a bunch of people from a Facebook group that are fans of The North American Bear Center and visit with the center's bears Ted, Lucky & Honey! Thru the efforts of this group they raised $15,000 from just year's picnic! Yee Haw!

People came from near and far. Some traveled from Duluth and Wisconsin, some traveled from as far away as England and Spain just to be part of this annual picnic. These people are known as "Lillypadders" in honor of one of the research bears by the name of Lilly.

We also visited a bear sanctuary in Orr, MN called Vince Shutte Wildlife Refuge which allowed us to get up close and personal with the bears.

So check out my pictures and see why I have already made my reservations for another visit to Ely, MN