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2013 Insiders Guide

A guide to the best in arts and entertainment, travel, retail, professional services, health and wellness, and education.

2013 Insiders Guide

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Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center

2100 Arrowwood Lane NW, Alexandria, MN • 320-762-1124 • arrowwoodresort.com

» About us: Rendezvous with a group of friends or bring your family for a getaway to Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, just two hours west of the Twin Cities on the shores of Lake Darling in Alexandria. The 38,000-square-foot Big Splash Indoor Waterpark is a hit with the kids, the Darling Reflections Spa is a hit with the adults, and everyone loves the on-site restaurants (try the Sunday brunch). Tennis enthusiasts can play a game or two in the huge indoor tennis facility, and those who embrace the snow can rent a snowmobile (mini snowmobiles are available for kids ages 6-11), cross-country skis, or ice skates, go ice fishing, or play broomball or hockey on the Lake Darling rink. Nearby Andes Tower Hill has great winter skiing, boarding, and snowtubing (and affordable package deals), Carlos Creek Winery is open year-round for wine tasting and tours, and you’ll find unexpected treasures when boutique or antique shopping in Alexandria’s historic downtown. Our courteous and accommodating staff go above and beyond to make sure your stay exceeds expectations.

» Our accommodations … range from lodge rooms and suites with lakefront views to luxurious four bedroom townhomes. All of the large, clean, comfortable, and well-appointed rooms at the resort were recently renovated. In addition, 8 new cottages were built in June.

Visit Bemidji

877-250-5959 • visitbemidji.com

» We are:  The First City on the Mississippi River, a small town with big city amenities.

» Our visitors are: outdoor enthusiasts. Often visitors swap their bikes for skis and boats for snowmobiles as the seasons change. We’re home to Buena Vista Ski Area, ice fishing and hockey tournaments, Logging Days (celebrating the timber industry), and the Finlandia Ski Marathon, one of American’s premier cross-country skiing events. Bemidji also appeals to those who have an appreciation for arts and culture, with an active visual and performing arts community. Check our online calendar for performance dates.  

» We take pride in the fact that … no other area is as central to the state’s 14,000 miles of trails than Bemidji. As the crossroads city for two of the major Minnesota Interconnecting Trail system routes, MITS-71 and MITS-2, superb trails that run across or up and down the state run right through Bemidji. Groomed and well-marked, these trails will lead to forests harboring tall red and white pines more than 3,000 years old, Indian reservations, and the headwaters of the Mississippi.

» Other highlights: Our lodging options span from full-service hotels to cozy lakeside cabins, with a variety of dining options nearby. A new lakeside DoubleTree hotel is under construction and set to open in June 2013.  A Country Inn & Suites, connected to the The Sanford Center, is scheduled to open in late 2013.

Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts: Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior, Surfside on Lake Superior, Temperance Landing

bluefinbay.com • 1-800-BLUEFIN (258-3346)

» We are: Minnesota’s most incredible lakeside resort and the North Shore’s best opportunity to get closer–to Lake Superior and to each other. Our three properties—Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing—offer an incredible spectrum of comfort from upscale to high-end luxury, with friendly hospitality around every corner. Experience the North Shore through our complimentary cross-country ski and snowshoe equipment, guided tours, ice skating rink, shuttles to/from trailheads and Lutsen Mountains, evening campfires, and more.

» Our visitors are: Families, friends, and couples. Some are looking for relaxation and romance, and can unwind at our full-service Waves of Superior Spa. Others want high-adrenaline adventure, and can find that on miles of trails perfect for cross country skiing, or downhill skiing or boarding at Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort, just a short shuttle away. Yet others just want to unplug and reconnect. Our lodging options offer the perfect setting to slow down, talk, get comfortable, and reenergize those special relationships in a romantic setting close to Lake Superior.

» Other highlights: We offer Ski and Stay packages (featuring discounted lift tickets), Honeymoon, Romantic Retreat, and Couples Spa Packages, and live acoustic music Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday nights.

Cook County

visitcookcounty.com • Lutsen-Tofte, Grand Marais, Gunflint Trail, and Grand Portage

» We are: The longest downhill ski runs, the greatest freshwater lake, the largest groomed cross-country network in North America, 120 inches of annual snowfall perfect for snowmobiling, dogsledding, sleigh rides and more.

» Our visitors are: ready to ignite some adventure and fall in love with winter all over again.

» Other highlights: Visit during Winter Tracks, a 10-day family-friendly festival from February 1-10 featuring the Lutsen Mountains Family Fun Fest, Ridge Riders Snowmobile Fun Run and Easter Seals Snowarama along with a Plein Air Painting Competition, snow sculptures, luminary lit ski trails, guided snowshoe tours, dog sled or horse-drawn sleigh rides, live music and more.

Lutsen Mountains     

lutsen.com • 1-218-663-7281

» We are … the “Vail of the Midwest,” with the most ski acreage in the state—92 sweeping runs and 1,000 feet of vertical drop. Our downhill terrain is not typical of the Midwest, with beginner’s terrain on Ullr Mountain and more challenging terrain on Eagle Mountain.

» Our visitors … came from 30 states last year (including Texas, Florida, and New York), but the majority of the 100,000 annual skiers are from the Twin Cities area.

» We take pride in the fact that … the snow is reliable, the runs are up to a mile long, and there are some beautiful, breathtaking views of Lake Superior from the top of the mountains. We’re also proud to offer an incredible value. Purchase lift tickets online (up to 72 hours in advance of arrival) and save both time and money. Lutsen partners with the region’s best lodging facilities to offer the lowest prices on ski and stay packages.

» Other highlights: Not only is there excellent skiing and boarding, Lutsen offers on-mountain dining and entertainment—providing an aprés-ski experience—along with groomed, tracked trails for Nordic skiing, dog sledding, backcountry snowshoeing, and sleigh rides.

Hudson, Wisconsin


» We are: A vibrant riverside community! Find the perfect blend of unique restaurants, boutiques, lodging, history and a scenic river just 30 minutes east of the Twin Cities.  Set on the banks of the St. Croix River, Hudson invites you to enjoy the beauty and amenities of a quaint river town built on rich history.  

» Our visitors are: Energized by the opportunities to have FUN in Hudson. Historic downtown Hudson provides visitors with several blocks of one-of-a-kind shopping and exceptional restaurants. For those who love spending time in the great outdoors, we offer scenic beauty for biking, golfing, boating, birding, and hiking. We also have a vibrant arts community and memorable historic sites. Walk along the Historic Toll Bridge Road and experience a bit of history.  This was the original river crossing from Wisconsin into Minnesota before the interstate bridge was built. Hudson is also the Gateway entrance to the Yellowstone Trail, the first east-west highway from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound.  Drive the trail and experience a piece of Americana!

» We take pride in the fact that … we are surrounded by natural beauty and offer an unforgettable vacation experience.

» Next winter event: Visit during the Hudson Hot Air Affair hot air balloon festival Feb. 1-3 for an evening parade, hot air balloon launches, geocaching, shopping, smooshboarding, arts and crafts, a hot air balloon moon glow, and great food. Check out other stay and play itineraries at hudsonwi.org.

Visit Winona 


» About us: With the Mississippi River on one side of town and majestic limestone bluffs on the other, a more beautiful place than Winona is hard to find. This charming city—located in southeastern Minnesota—is home to historically significant buildings, a variety of dining, shopping, and lodging options, and numerous recreational opportunities. Winona has also earned a reputation as an arts and cultural mecca, with four museums, a vineyard, and interesting festivals taking place throughout the year.

» We take pride in the fact that … we are home to unique attractions.  Visit the Minnesota Marine Art Museum which houses impressionist and Hudson River School artists such as Monet, Pissaro, Cole and Bierstadt; Watkins Museum and Store; Polish Museum; Winona County History Center; and the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka.   We also have Garvin Heights Vineyard which is part of the Great River Road Wine Trail, and Sugar Loaf Antiques and Crafts, which houses about 50 vendors in its building.

» Other highlights: There’s always a fun festival or event happening in Winona. Visit from Jan. 23-27, 2013 for the Frozen River Film Festival, offering documentary films and programs that engage, educate, and activate our community to become involved in the world. February 6-10, 2013 is Rockwell Kent in Winona: Centennial Celebration, with exhibitions of his work, an original play, a film, a book study, and a symposium.

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