Getting ready for your upcoming class here at North House Folk School, or just want to visit? We’re excited to see you, and we hope the information below helps you prepare for your trip to the North Shore.
The North House Campus
A number of colorful timbered structures on the harbor serve as classrooms, defining the campus' flavor: The Fishhouse, The Blue Building, The Red Building, The Blacksmith Shop, and The Green Building. The Yellow House is where our front office and School Store are located - you'll check in here when you arrive for class. The Green Building has all the behind-the-scenes administrative offices. An outdoor masonry oven and community fire ring are situated amidst a central courtyard. Small, handcrafted wooden boats line the beach, and our 50-foot schooner, Hjordis, is docked at the water's edge.
What does a typical day at North House look like?
Prior to the beginning of classes, students check-in at the little Yellow House then often settle into their classroom and gather to share a cup of coffee or tea, enjoying the morning stirrings on the harbor. Classes typically start with a campus greeting, and then students spend the morning engaged in their respective crafts. A midday break gives students the opportunity to gather for a brown bag lunch at a beachside picnic table or to check out one of the numerous eateries within walking distance of the campus. At day’s end, some students congregate to share their learned experiences or take off to rest and rejuvenate for the next day of learning. Often on Saturday nights during the summer months, students enjoy wood-fired pizza baked in the harborside wood-fired pizza oven.
Who attends courses?
Students are as diverse as the course offerings themselves. Many are discovering a new craft for the first time, and others are continuing to pursue a lifelong hobby or trade. From bread baking to knitting, basket making to woodcarving, we invite curious minds of all levels and ages to take part of North House. Many courses are open to all levels, but some may be geared toward intermediate or advanced students - this is noted in course descriptions. Unless otherwise noted, courses are open to students 18+.
Tuition and Materials Fees
Tuition and materials fees are due three weeks before your class begins. Some courses require an additional fee to be paid directly to the instructor at the time of the class. Please see the course description in our catalog or on our website for details.
If you haven’t already done so, you can give us a call to pay your balance over the phone with a credit card (888-387-9762), or with a check sent to PO Box 759, Grand Marais MN 55604 (be sure to note which class to apply the payment to).
Tools and Materials
Each course may require students to bring tools or materials. Please consult your course confirmation email, or the course description on our website, for more information.
Plan on arriving a bit before your class is scheduled to start. Your first stop on arrival should be the Yellow House (our school store), where you will check in, meet the staff and your weekend campus hosts, and receive a brief orientation.
Where is North House and how do I get there?
North House is situated on Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior and at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Our campus is located harborside in the vibrant, artistic village of Grand Marais, Minnesota. Lake Superior and its pebbled beaches are steps away from our classrooms and acres of public land and trails are a short drive in any direction from campus. Grand Marais is located on scenic Highway 61, about two hours north of Duluth, Minnesota.
- From Chicago: 575 miles
- From Duluth: 110 miles
- From Milwaukee: 502 miles
- From Minneapolis-St.Paul: 275 miles
- From Thunder Bay, Ontario: 80 miles
Shuttle Service available from Duluth through the Superior Hiking Shuttle
- Thunder Bay International Airport
- Duluth International Airport
- Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport
- Arrowhead Transit provides a weekly shuttle from Duluth, as well as regular transportation within Cook County.
- Harriet Quarles Transportation provides shuttle services from Duluth and Twin Cities airports. Must be scheduled ahead.
- The Superior Hiking Shuttle may be able to provide customized transportation from the Duluth airport to Grand Marais.
Although we do not provide lodging for students on campus, there are many campgrounds, hotels, and B&Bs nearby. We maintain a list of our Lodging Partners, many of which offer a discount for North House students!
Visit Cook County also has a list of area lodging establishments.
Restaurants & More
Many businesses in Cook County are seasonal or have limited winter hours. Visit Cook County maintains a list of business hours.
If we must cancel a course, students will receive a full refund of any payments made for that course. Students who cancel their enrollment more than 21 days prior to the first day of the course will receive a refund less a $50 cancellation fee to cover administrative costs. In recognition of the time and energy instructors invest in preparing for courses, students who cancel their enrollment 21 days or less prior to the first day of the course are not eligible for a refund.
Classrooms serve as a place of inspiration and engagement, offering students and instructors a setting to explore the joy of hands-on learning together. In the interest of student safety, classrooms are only open to students with instructor supervision.
Safe Use of Tools
Student health and safety are a priority at North House. Accordingly, students should only use hand tools and operate power tools after receiving an introduction to their safe operation. Students and instructors should wear appropriate safety gear (eye and ear protection) while using tools.
Campus is open to visitors throughout the year. Balancing the needs of students and the curiosity of campus visitors is a task that requires mutual respect. To ensure that classroom visitors arrive at appropriate times, signage is available for instructors to make it clear when the classroom is “open” or “closed” to visitors. At all times, visitors are encouraged to respect the needs of both students and instructors, managing the duration and nature of classroom visits appropriately.
Inspiring and beautiful student-built projects are the satisfying outcomes of North House courses. At the close of the course, these projects are the responsibility of the student and need to leave campus.
Student tools are welcome on campus, but North House cannot guarantee their safety and is not responsible for loss or damage.
Dogs, cats, and other pets are welcome on campus as short-term visitors, but out of respect for other students pets are not welcome in classrooms during the day. Visiting pets should be on a leash. If you are in class, breaks during the day are often regular enough to give pet owners adequate time to attend to their pets. Pet-friendly lodging information is available upon request.
Out of respect for the North House learning community, students and visitors are encouraged to turn off or silence their cell phones prior to participation in any program or course. If you do need to take a call please step out of the classroom.
On Saturdays, North House hosts a community event for students, instructors, and their families. April through October features a wood-fired pizza potluck, November through March a soup potluck. More details when you arrive, but please plan to attend.
Gathering as a community at the close of the day often involves sharing food and/or alcohol. With this in mind, drinking alcohol on campus is allowed in moderation and in a publicly respectful manner. Alcohol may not be consumed during the operation of tools or power equipment.
Several parking spaces are available in the upper parking lot area of campus. There is also ample street parking within a few blocks of campus including on both sides of Hwy 61. We invite you to enjoy the “pedestrian village” that is Grand Marais! Designated handicapped parking (with sticker only) is available in the lower commons area and the Green Building parking lot.