Hygge Festival in Grand Marais

Slow Down and Get Cozy

By Katie Krantz

The Danish concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) has been around for a long time, but it began to catch on in the United States and Canada last year. It refers to the ritual of embracing life’s simple pleasures. Feeling relaxed, cozy, and surrounded by the warmth of family, friends, community, and fire all encompass the idea of hygge.

Trend-setting Grand Marais, Minnesota hosted the first annual Hygge Festival last February. With winter beauty, adventure, relaxation, and coziness for miles, the beautiful little harbour village on Lake Superior is the ideal hygge destination. In honour of the second annual Hygge Festival, running February 9-15, local businesses will be bringing back a few of last year’s events and also introducing some new ones.

Favourites from last year include bonfires with live music, the Mukluk Ball with Plucked Up String Band, and hygge themed menus. A few of the new events include fat tire biking demonstrations, cross-country skiing twilight tour, knitting lessons, and a fireplace tour.

Participating resort and restaurant owners throughout Cook County will keep their fireplaces blazing during the entire month of February, so visitors can drop by to warm their fingers and toes, and possibly enjoy a warm or cold beverage. Eighteen fireplaces will be featured on the tour, including wood, gas, outdoor hearths, and fire pits.

“The whole point of hygge is to slow down and get cozy,” says Linda Jurek, executive director of Visit Cook County. “After enjoying activities like snowshoeing through the woods, stargazing, drinking hot chocolate, and watching Lake Superior, we hope visitors will take time to sit by the fire and snuggle. And we hope some visitors rise to the challenge of relaxing next to all of the fireplaces featured on the tour.” 

For more information and a schedule of events, visitcookcounty.com/hygge.

Photo credit: Layne Kennedy