The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 22, 2014

(PHOTO GALLERY) Lake Superior made art in the Apostle Islands ice caves

National exposure, social media have boosted ice caves popularity



The influx of tourists has been a boon for area businesses during what is normally a quiet time of year.

"The first Sunday, we just filled up with people, and it totally took us off guard," said Cheryl O'Bryon, who runs the Village Inn bar and restaurant in nearby Cornucopia. "Talking to those people, they had seen people's posts from the Saturday, that day before, when it first opened, and then that just goes viral."

O'Bryon has had guests from as far away as Australia and China. She's even had to cancel a planned vacation due to the influx of business on what is normally a quiet winter. On recent weekends she has served more than 400 people a day, "which is 385 people more than we would have last year at the same time," she said with a laugh.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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