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BLUEFIN BAY ON LAKE SUPERIOR
Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior is at the center of winter activities along the North Shore. There are over 250 km of groomed and tracked trails for cross-country skiers and over 100 miles of snowmobile paths throughout the Sawtooth Mountains, Superior National Forest, and along the North Shore. Guests can go ice skating on the Bluefin Bay Ice Rink, located across the Superior Waters Wellness Center/Tofte Room, watch outdoor movies (complete with hot chocolate and goodies), and when movies aren’t being shown, skate until the wee hours of the morning (the rink is lighted at night). Skates are complimentary to guests.
Some of the best trails of the North Shore Cross Country Ski Trail System are located in Tofte, accessible across Highway 61. Guests can drive or take a complimentary shuttle bus to many of the trailheads. While visiting, be sure to try out the fully graded Sugar Bush Loops, brushed out by the Sugarbush Trail Association and Bluefin Bay staff.
For a romantic experience, try a guided moonlight cross-country skiing tour. You can bring your own ski equipment or use complimentary equipment, available at the Guest Services Center.
Bluefin Bay is also within close proximity to Lutsen Mountains, the largest ski/snowboard area in seven states. There are 61 runs and nearly 1,000 feet of vertical drop for alpine skiers and boarders. Bluefin Bay offers daily shuttle bus rides to Lutsen.
After enjoying the Great Outdoors and working up an appetite, enjoy dinner at The Bluefin Grille or Coho Café before heading up to your room to snuggle in front of the fireplace.
The food, the service, the lake, the ambiance, and the pristine Northwoods scenery are all compelling reasons to visit Lakewoods Resort in Cable, Wis. (about a three hour drive from the Twin Cities). Owned by the Rasmussen family for nearly 100 years, Lakewoods is a great place for a getaway. Choose from numerous lodgings in the facility—a luxury condo, lake room, lodge room, or golf villa.
You can do as much or as little as you choose while staying at Lakewoods, with a variety of activities available in the Cable area. After a day of seeing the sites (or doing absolutely nothing but relaxing in your room), let your cares melt away in a giant hot tub or sauna, or take some laps in the swimming pool.
Toast your stay in the large and comfortable cocktail bar area—fun for friends, couples, or families. The kids like the game trophies and pool tables/video games, and the adults like the cold Leinie’s and live entertainment on weekends and holidays.
Savor Northwoods specialties in the dining room. Guests rave about the restaurant’s walleye and prime rib, and the Sunday and holiday buffets leave a lasting impression.
American Birkebeiner cross country ski
race - Photo courtesy of Cable CVB
Savor the beauty of Lake Namekagon and northern Wisconsin. The lake’s clear waters run deep within the nearby Chequamegon National Forest, a winter destination for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing. Snowmobiling is also very popular in the area, with more than 600 miles of snowmobile trails.
One of the area’s most popular events, the American Birkebeiner (the “Birkie”) cross-country ski race, is held in nearby Hayward every winter. Thousands of colorfully-clad skiers from 19 countries descend on northern Wisconsin to ski some of the most beautiful and challenging trails in the world.
GRAND SUPERIOR LODGE
Cuddle up and get cozy at Grand Superior Lodge, a peaceful retreat in Two Harbors. Curl up in front of the fireplace and read a good book, soak in a whirlpool, watch the snow fall outside, and ooh and ahh over the beauty of Lake Superior’s icy blue waters.
“Winter on Lake Superior is gorgeous!” says Melissa Dressely, marketing coordinator. “The ice cascading over the rocks jetting out on Lake Superior is beautiful—making time seem like it’s frozen, and the ice that laps on the shore makes a peaceful sound, like a natural chime.”
In addition to spectacular views of Lake Superior (stay in a lakeshore condo right at the water’s edge, a cozy private cabin, or a luxurious room or suite in the main lodge), guests enjoy gourmet meals and refreshing drinks at Splashing Rock Restaurant and Lounge, a heated indoor pool and whirlpool, access to certified massage therapists, and winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and hiking. Grand Superior Lodge is close to the North Shore’s spectacular winter sights of Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls (the frozen waterfalls are amazing), and Tettegouche State Park. Tettegouche is a hiker’s paradise with spectacular overlooks, steep bluffs and cliffs, and miles of trails that wind down to inland lakes. The Superior Hiking Trail, a renowned 200-mile trail stretching from Two Harbors to the Canadian border, is a great trail to discover on skis or snowshoes.
With four-bedroom units, Grand Superior Lodge is ideal for large groups.
“Winter is a great time to get your group together for a fun retreat,” Dressely says, adding that Grand Superior Lodge is a popular destination for families, friends, and scrapbooking and quilting retreats.
Special packages are available this winter at Grand Superior Lodge, such as the Girls Getaway Package (including lodging and a basket of spa and personal care products), the Snowshoe Package offered mid-week and weekends during December (snowshoe rental, a map, hand/foot warmers, a compass, a water bottle, and hot chocolate), and a Dog Sledding Package January 5, February 4, and March 17 (with free short rides for guests).
Who says you have to drive far away to enjoy a weekend escape? Treat yourself to a mini vacation at the only French-style hotel in the Twin Cities, Sofitel Minneapolis. Located just ten minutes from the Mall of America in Bloomington, Sofitel Minneapolis is the epitome of modern beauty and contemporary elegance—truly a quiet refuge in the midst of the big city.
“The Sofitel Minneapolis has just completed a full-renovation to all of the guest rooms in a contemporary European style that is sure to please even the most seasoned traveler,” says Steve Green, director of sales and marketing.
In addition to falling in love with stylish, upscale surroundings, couples experience outstanding white glove service, the amenities of a world-class hotel (spotless, spacious rooms, extra plush European feather bedding, flat screen TVs, refrigerators and mini bars, bathrooms with gorgeous tile and granite countertops), and not one but two award-winning restaurants offering delicious French cuisine, Chez Colette and La Fougasse. Executive Chef Serge Devesa creates authentic French gourmet dishes that keep people coming back year after year.
The hotel also has its own bakery that makes special holiday cakes and cookies, including a traditional French Buche de Noel cake.
“People love these cakes and drive from all over to buy them for Christmas,” Green says.
Sofitel Minneapolis also caters to the wine-lover.
“For people who already have an appreciation for fine wine, or would like to learn more about wine, we have introduced a new World Flights program at Le Bar where you can order flights of wine that come with information about each glass you are tasting,” Green explains. “We have a selection of close to 30 wines by the glass to choose from.”
The luxury hotel’s rating speaks for itself—Sofitel Minneapolis has been rated AAA Four-Diamond for 24 consecutive years.
Apostle Islands Sled Dog Races
Visitors love Bayfield summers, but it’s the wonders of winter that make this charming city the perfect get-away-from-it-all vacation. The snowy season appeals to both the active outdoorsy types and the quiet enthusiasts.
Want to play in the powder? Go cross-country skiing at Mount Valhalla, try backcountry snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on public forest trails, or downhill skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Ashwabay (summer home of the Big Top). Hike to the spectacular Apostle Islands ice caves, live like a musher and try dogsledding (there are half day and full day trips), snowmobile on Bayfield County trails, walk or ski the Lake Superior “ice road” to Madeline Island and back, or go ice fishing on Lake Superior. There are numerous winter festivals in Bayfield, such as the popular Apostle Islands Sled Dog Races, the annual fun run “Run on Water” over the Lake Superior ice road, and the “Book Across the Bay” ski race across Chequamegon Bay.
Winters in Bayfield can be a cultural experience, too. Attend an art class, see a theater production at StageNorth and Northland College, and view exhibits at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Headquarters. Bayfield is filled with specialty gift shops, art galleries and boutiques, and holiday shopping events include a gallery tour and Christmas Spirit Art Fair. There are over 80 quiet, intimate lodging options in the area, including B&Bs, suites, lodges, and rooms.
Bayfield Chamber of Commerce
Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior
Grand Superior Lodge
Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior
Majestic Falls Aveda Concept Day Retreat and Spa
Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council
Northwoods Homes/Chris Hewitt
Pets Are Inn
Trollhaugen Ski Area