Midwest Vacation Guide 2009
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In these stressful economic times, vacation is a necessity, not a luxury. You deserve some time away from deadlines, email requests, projects, to-do lists, and office gossip. You deserve a break from the daily grind; a chance to step away from the chaos. We provide you with the information you need to start planning the perfect Midwest getaway.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada—the largest community on Lake Superior—is an exciting, quick, and easy getaway for those wanting to stay close to home but feeling the desire to still get away from it all.
“How incredibly lucky we are to have a world-class outdoor adventure destination available to us right at our doorstep,” says RoseMarie Mancusa, partnership marketing coordinator with Tourism Thunder Bay. “Within minutes you can be on a chartered sailboat either fishing for giant salmon or trout or touring the islands and lighthouses of Lake Superior. Thousands of acres of parkland and green spaces right in the city limits means you can hike a mountain to its highest vertical yet be back in time to have an incredible dinner experience at one of our culinary hotspots, then relax in a comfortable hotel room or cozy B&B without feeling you spent most of your day just getting there.”
One lucky winner and three guests will receive an all-inclusive vacation like no other with the 2009 “Seven Days with the Giant” contest! You’ll explore the legendary Sleeping Giant, view the city from a floatplane and a chartered sailboat, visit cultural attractions and taste culinary delights unique to the city (and more).
Enter to win at www.VisitThunderBay.com through May 31.
Crossing into Canada is easy! Visit Canada Border Service Agency at www.cbsa.gc.ca or U.S. Customs and Border Protection at www.CBP.gov for more information.
City of Lakes Tri-Loppet
It might not technically be a vacation, but the City of Lakes Tri-Loppet, set this year for June 27, is a fun summer event that sure beats sitting inside watching TV. This point-to-point off-road triathlon, through the heart of Minneapolis, was designed to give families, recreational paddlers, bikers, runners, and serious athletes alike an opportunity to experience Minneapolis from a different perspective.
The event is part of the Hoigaard’s Challenge, the “ultimate test” of Minnesota-ness combining cross-country skiing, paddling, trail running, and mountain biking.
The prairie meets the forest in the Alexandria area, where the glaciers carved their way through Minnesota thousands of years ago creating a perfect blend of lakes, wooded hills, and open prairie. While visiting the area, two hours west of the Twin Cities metro, stay in a lodge room, suite with a lakefront view, or luxurious four-bedroom townhome at Arrowwood Resort on the shores of Lake Darling. Play a round on Arrowwood’s scenic 18-hole course, unleash your inner cowgirl/boy on a horseback riding adventure, warm up or roast marshmallows by an evening bonfire. Bring the kids to the Big Splash Indoor Waterpark while you rejuvenate at Arrowwood’s Darling Reflections Spa.
Best Western Superior Inn & Suites
The Best Western Superior Inn & Suites in Grand Marais celebrates its 25th anniversary with a prestigious award—“Best of the Best Design” (one of only eight awards in North America)—for recent extensive room renovations and the creation of Renewal Steam Suites (rooms with a whirlpool, fireplace, luxurious shower with a steam unit, and picture window in the shower so you can see Lake Superior).
Visitors can easily explore a variety of key attractions and recreational sites on the North Shore, including the Gunflint Trail, Lutsen Mountains, and Superior National Forest. The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of many unique village restaurants, shops, and galleries, and within two blocks of the North House Folk School.
Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior
If your ideal vacation includes postcard-perfect views of Lake Superior, breezy summer evenings, beach-front bonfires, romantic candlelit dinners at the Bluefin Grille, family-friendly activities, and a “backyard” wilderness crisscrossed with hiking and biking trails, then Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior—winner of the Minnesota Lodging Association’s coveted “2007 Best Resort of the Year” title—is the place for you. Kids love the indoor pool, Alpine Slide at nearby Lutsen Mountains, and biking down the Gitchi-Gami Trail (complementary bikes are available to guests). Adults love the vacation homes with private whirlpool baths and fireplaces, soaking in the year-round outdoor pool and hot tub, unwinding with a massage at the Superior Waters Wellness Center, golfing on the 27-hole Superior National Golf Course, and hiking in area parks, where the views of Lake Superior are unforgettable. See the big lake from a kayak, canoe, or sailboat. Lodging options suit a variety of preferences and budgets.
East Bay Suites
A trip to Grand Marais includes beautiful views of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains, small-town hospitality (pop. 1,171), and the “wilderness” feeling of clear starry nights, pure air, and wildlife sightings of moose, wolves, and bear. East Bay Suites, the first “condo-tel” in the area, is comprised of 31 individually owned condominium suites available for nightly rental, situated so close to Lake Superior you can watch dramatic performances of the big lake from the closest seat in the house. Go hiking in the Superior National Forest, biking along an old forest road, or fishing for lake trout or salmon, visit the historic Grand Marais Art Colony, see the lighthouse on Artists Point, or hit downtown Grand Marais for shopping and dining. And feel free to bring Fido along on vacation, too. The suites are dog friendly (with authorization prior to arrival).
The Lodge on Lake Detroit
The Lodge on Lake Detroit is not your typical lodge, it is a lakefront lifestyle hotel. The focus is on positive energy, pampering and experiencing the beauty and charm of the Detroit Lakes area. All 55 rooms are lakefront to take advantage of the spectacular sunsets. Because nature is such an integral part of the Lodge on Lake Detroit experience, ecological initiatives are important to owners Chris Holland-Mehlaff and her husband, Scott. They offer washable dishes and flatware, an organic skin and body care line at The Spa Within, eco-conscious BeeKind™ in-room amenities, organic wines at LoLaD’s lobby bar, and ongoing rain garden and shoreland restoration projects contributing to the ecology of the lake.
Unique room options include the Renewal Spa Suites with aromatherapy whirlpool tubs and fireplaces, and the Retreat Suite with furnished kitchens and connecting rooms, ideal for family reunions or business retreats.
Visit during the Spring Women’s Wellness Weekend April 2-5, 2009. Weekend activities include spa time, make-up consultations, a yoga class, wine glass painting class, a ticket to a theatre show at the Historic Holmes Theatre, a California Wine Tasting Event, and live music by the Deb Jenkins Band, one of the Midwest’s finest R&B and blues bands.
Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior
Lutsen Resort provides a unique destination for today’s travelers, combining the Old World charm of its historic lodge with contemporary lodging choices and amenities. The National Geographic Traveler magazine chose the resort for its 2008 “Stay List,” citing the resort’s eco-stewardship, commitment to community, and adherence to “a sense of place” as reasons to visit.
Guests love the complimentary activities and amenities included with their lodging—guided sea-kayak tours, guided hikes, fly fishing classes, yoga, naturalist programs, “kid’s camp,” and evening campfires on the beach. Try the Par-3 golf course or disk golf course, try a game of shuffleboard, swim in the pool, or soak in the whirlpool.
Individual or couples’ massages are available at the new WatersMeet Massage and Wellness Center, and dining is offered in the classic dining room (overlooking the Big Lake) or casual pub. Wine lovers will appreciate the dining room’s ample wine list, which received the 2008 Wine Spectator Award.
The resort is popular among those looking for a romantic getaway or families seeking to relax and reconnect with nature and one another.
With slogans like “Ask us. We’ve been there.” And “Sharing passion for the outdoors” it’s easy to see why customers just voted Midwest Mountaineering the No. 1 store for promoting outdoor growth in sports by Backpacker magazine. “That refers not only to our great customer service but to our extensive clinic schedule and Expo programming,” explains Rudi Hargesheimer, manager.
They back up their products—canoes, kayaks, kites for kite-boarding, backpacks, and all the gear a person needs for a wilderness adventure—with unsurpassed service.
“Most people don’t know that we donate 10 percent of our profit annually to wilderness and environmental causes. We are locally owned and operated, serving the five-state area since 1970. We appreciate local support because we support the local economy and environment,” Hargesheimer says.
Don’t miss The Outdoor Adventure Expo April 24-26 featuring over 100 presentations, 70 exhibitors, a large canoe and kayak auction, and the best sale of the season. Midwest Mountaineering owners Rod and Sharon Johnson will discuss how the average Minnesotan can plan a comfortable and affordable adventure to New Zealand. Other speakers will talk about South America, Nepal, the far north, Minnesota parks, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ontario trails and waterways, and more. For more information, visit www.outdooradventureexpo.com.