Call of the Wild
When the snow flies, some people head south. For everyone else, nothing but the knotty pine and stone fireplace of a North Woods lodge will do.
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10 Lodges We Love
Compiled by ELLEN BURKHARDT
1: Best Trip to the Old Country Without Leaving America: Lutsen Lodge
Skip the cruise this winter and look to Lutsen for vacation options instead. With its classic Scandinavian architecture, Lutsen exudes comfort, offering fine dining coupled with views of Lake Superior; plentiful seating around crackling fireplaces; a swimming pool, whirlpool, and sauna; free wireless Internet; and an assortment of massage treatments available at the on-site spa. Another advantage over that cruise? No need to worry about seasickness.
Contact Information: 5700 W. Hwy. 61, Lutsen . 218-663-7212 . lutsenresort.com . Operating dates: November–March . Rates: $69–$159
2: Best Blast to the Past Without a Time Machine: Naniboujou Lodge
The Naniboujou Lodge in Grand Marais provides guests with something that nowadays is rare: the chance to sit and do nothing. Although the lodge has undergone many ownership and logistical changes since its start in 1927, its peaceful atmosphere and vintage furnishings remain intact. Tuck into ample dinners, including the lodge’s signature Danish créme dessert, then mosey to the solarium to read, play games, or nap.
Contact Information: 20 Naniboujou, Grand Marais . 218-387-2688 . naniboujou.com . Operating dates: January 14–March 12 (weekends only) . Rates: One person, $270–$335; two people, $400–$445
3: Best Excuse to be Out of Touch: Bearskin Lodge
Pocket the Bluetooth, turn off the cell phone, and shut down the laptop—it’s time to unplug. At Bearskin Lodge in Grand Marais, Mother Nature reigns, providing all the entertainment you’ll need. Whether you choose to enjoy the snow firsthand on one of the many groomed cross-country-ski trails or prefer to cozy up with a book before a roaring fire, Bearskin gives you a chance to put life on hold, even if it’s just for a weekend.
Contact Information: 124 E. Bearskin Rd., Grand Marais . 218-388-2292 . bearskin.com . Operating dates: November 14–March 31 . Rates: Per night, $137–$304; per week, $857–$1,988
4: Best Chance to Coo at Animals and Not Get Funny Looks For It: Gunflint Lodge
Winter in Minnesota sticks around far too long, so why not make the most of it? Options abound at Gunflint Lodge, from ice fishing and skating, to skiing and snowshoeing, or even getting pulled through the woods by a team of sled dogs. Animal lovers, you’re especially in luck: Every day, deer, squirrels, and other furry friends gather to feed in front of the lodge. Winter doesn’t seem quite as unbearable now, does it?
Contact Information: 143 S. Gunflint Lake, Grand Marais . 800-328-3325 . gunflint.com . Operating dates: December–March . Rates: One person, $39–$175; two people, $109–$299
5: Best place to Bathe in Glacial Water (Without Getting Frostbite): Grand View Lodge
We all know that glaciers gifted us with the Midwest’s distinctive landscape, but they left us another present, too: mineral-rich, restorative water (in other words, the ultimate bath). The Glacial Waters Spa, part of the Grand View Lodge, puts water to work with numerous hydrotherapy treatments. Said to help restore one’s body to state of calm and balance, the high-profile water makes all other baths seem second-rate.
Contact Information: 23521 Nokomis Ave., Nisswa . 866-801-2951 . grandviewlodge.com . Operating dates: Year-round . Rates (for one bedroom): $155–$225
6: Best Romantic Rendezvous for Log-Cabin Lovers: Spider Lake Lodge
Started in 1923 as a fishing camp, Spider Lake Lodge now appeals to a distinctly different crowd. Designed by NorthPoint Design Studio (formerly Sticks & Stones of Minneapolis), every room at the lodge boasts aesthetically pleasing, rustic-yet-romantic characteristics. Quietly nestled in Wisconsin’s north woods, Spider Lake takes relaxation seriously. The only thing you’ll need to ponder at length is how to extend your stay.
Contact Information: 10472 W. Murphy Blvd., Hayward, Wis. . 715-462-3793 . spiderlakelodge.com . Operating dates: Year-round (but only on weekends during winter) . Rates: $159–$199
7: Best Way to Channel (and express) Your Inner-German: Garmisch Lodge
Alpine, Innsbruck, Rhinelander, Zugspitze—even the cabin names at Garmisch Lodge proclaim its Old World heritage. Named after a popular tourist destination in Germany, Garmisch is full of Bavarian charm. From the handcrafted architecture to the hearty cuisine (think Jaegerschnitzel and Kasslerripchen), after spending a couple of nights here, you’ll feel as though you’ve traveled all the way to Europe—minus the jet lag.
Contact Information: 23040 Garmisch Rd., Cable, Wis. . 715-794-2204 . garmischresort.com . Operating dates: December–March . Rates: $95–$195
8: Best Excuse to Yell, “Mush!”: Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge
Interested in dog sledding but not quite ready to start training for the Iditarod? Wintergreen Lodge in Ely has a compromise for you. Accompanied by one of their guide-naturalists, you can participate in customized trips ranging from half-day excursions to an eight-night camping adventure. The dogs love to pull; you get to sit on the sled—or give mushing a shot. So what are you waiting for? Go get
your mush on.
Contact Information: 1101 Ring Rock Rd., Ely . 218-365-6022 . dogsledding.com . Operating dates: December–March . Rates: $175–$275
9: Best Bet for Absolute Bliss: Canoe Bay
No kids or pets allowed, breakfast and lunch delivered to your room, a concierge ready to meet your every request: Canoe Bay should really be named Complete Bliss. Created by a couple for couples, this Wisconsin resort takes relaxation and romance very seriously. Set amid 280 acres of hardwood forest, each of Canoe Bay’s 23 lodging options provides the optimum blend of elegance, privacy, and luxury. Can you say heaven?
Contact Informaiton: Chetek, Wis. . 715-924-4594 x3 .canoebay.com . Operating dates: Year-round . Rates: $440–$1,800
10: Best place to flaunt your ’biling skills: Wild Eagle Lodge
If you rock the helmet-hair-and-goggle-tan look during the winter, Wild Eagle Lodge is your perfect fit. Located in the Snowmobile Capital of the World (Eagle River, Wisconsin), the lodge has more than 500 miles of groomed trails and offers customized packages for every Arctic Cat junkie out there. Once you’ve had your fill of cruising the open woods, explore winter in new ways: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice-skating. Chances are slim that you’ll run out of outdoor fun here.
Contact Information: 4443 Chain O’ Lakes Rd., Eagle River, Wis. . 715-479-3151 . wildeaglelodge.com . Operating dates: Year-round . Rates: $109–339 per night; $1,299–$1,909 per week