The mighty Mississippi River begins its journey in a calm lake tucked away in the woods, burbling over some well-placed rocks into a stream about, maybe, eight feet across.  It’s so different from what you see as it grows into a behemoth somewhere along the way.  Check this out: many vacationing parents let their kids use the source as a fucking wading pool, of course ruining any enjoyment you might get out of the moment.  Try to go when it’s not summer.

The lake is called Itasca, and it’s in Itasca State Park.  And in that park is an old-timey hotel and eatery called Douglas Lodge.  Small rooms, outfitted with antique beds and vanities from way back when, no TV, no wi-fi.  And at dinner, you can get some nicely fried fish, maybe a decent steak.  Try some of the Minnesota wines.  I’m not kidding.  They’re pretty tasty (but nothing serious.  Just drink it).

But what you really want to do is get your lazy back-to-nature ass up early and eat the pancakes.

The pancakes take up nearly the entire plate.  They’re just heavy enough, just thick enough, and they soak up the syrup like that’s the only thing it was ever designed to do.  It’s a beautifully textured syrup delivery system.

So good you’ll forget how weak the coffee is.

Douglas Lodge.  Breakfast.  Pancakes.  Your work is cut out for you.