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Owatonna, Steele County Free Fair


If April showers bring May flowers, then May is the perfect time to stick around and smell the roses. Whether you are looking for in-town adventure or a quick weekend getaway, we feature everything from where to stay during the fishing opener to cozy lodges that offer great spring deals.

Places to Go

Schedule a tee time on one of two challenging courses, fish for crappie, walleye, bass, muskie, and rainbow trout on Bay Lake, or unwind with a massage at the relaxing Aveda Concept Salon while vacationing at the 500-acre Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge in central Minnesota.

“It’s the closest Brainerd Lakes Area resort to the Twin Cities, but feels more North Woods and natural,” Chris Ruttger,  president of Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge, says of the family-friendly resort.

Spend sunny spring and summer days playing tennis, boating, participating in organized activities (families with kids ages 4-12 especially enjoy the Kids’ Kamp), or skating, biking, running or hiking along the Cuyuna Lakes or Paul Bunyan Trails. Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge also offers four on-site shopping venues and a coffeehouse, lakeside bar, and full restaurant.

Kavanaugh’s Sylvan Lake Resort, the only resort set on the shores of Lake Sylvan in the heart of the Gull Lake area, is large enough to offer a complete destination vacation, yet small enough to be attentive to guests’ needs.

In addition to two swimming beaches, pontoon rentals, 108 holes of golf within less than two miles, three large playground areas, and indoor and outdoor pools, there are paved hiking and biking trails on-site connecting to a city-wide system, with bike rentals available to encourage families to get outside and ride.

The resort has been family-owned since 1969, and the pride of ownership is evident in the efficient management, updated units, genuinely friendly service, and meticulous landscaping. Once a week the four Kavanaugh brothers (all co-owners of the resort) do a cookout with guests.

“It’s nice to get out and chat with everyone,” says Tom Kavanaugh, co-owner. “Even as we’ve grown as a resort, we’ve tried to maintain our family atmosphere.”

Visit on Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day) to take part in the first day of the famous Kavanaugh Rubber Duck Races; a fun event hosted on the Kavanaugh grounds every week through Labor Day. “Because of Kavanaugh’s great network of streams, ponds, and lakes, the duck races have become something that both young children and kids at heart enjoy,” Kavanaugh says.

Arrowwood Resort, a two-hour drive away from the metro area in Alexandria, offers something for everyone. Their outstanding recreational facility includes an indoor water park, 18-hole golf course, bike rental, full service marina, and 30-horse stable with riding ring and trails. Families can also play on the basketball court, indoor/outdoor tennis courts, and sand volleyball courts (well lit for nighttime play).

Love is in the air this spring, and if you’re looking for more of a romantic getaway than a family trip, Arrowwood has the perfect date night planned (valid until May 27).  Pay one price and stay one night in a deluxe standard room, and enjoy dinner for two in the Lake Café and two movie passes to Alexandria’s Midway Cinema 9.

If the spring thaw is putting visions of the North Shore in your head, consider staying at an Odyssey Resort. Relax and enjoy the beauty of Lake Superior at Larsmont Cottages, Grand Superior Lodge, Caribou Highlands Lodge, Trapper’s Landing, or East Bay Suites.

The hottest deal right now? If you book a three-night stay at one of the beautiful log homes, cabins, suites, or lodge rooms at Grand Superior Lodge, you’ll receive the lowest-priced night free. During your getaway, dine at the Rock Restaurant & Lounge, swim in the indoor pool, relax in the sauna and whirlpool, and explore nearby Gooseberry Falls State Park.

If your idea of the perfect getaway includes the words romantic, quiet, and secluded, Cove Point Lodge is right up your alley. Located about 80 miles north of Duluth in Beaver Bay, the Scandinavian-style lodge is surrounded by 150 acres of woods and rocks, with all rooms facing Lake Superior—the ideal setting for a romantic getaway.

About 230 miles north of the Twin Cities, Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior is located in the year-round playground of the Lutsen-Tofte region, set against the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains and surrounded by Superior National Forest.

“You can’t get any closer to the magnificent waters of Lake Superior than Bluefin Bay,” says Lori Schaefer, marketing director. Bluefin offers a full summer activities program with guided hikes, kayak lessons, a kids’ activities program and more. And Bluefin will be holding their first annual Vow Renewal Weekend event June 11-13. Guests of the Vow Renewal event can renew their vows in small group or private ceremonies throughout the scenic grounds of the three properties in the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts (Bluefin, Surfside on Lake Superior, and Temperance Landing), with packages including professional photography, flowers, champagne, and a small celebratory reception.

“Whether it’s your first or 50th anniversary, every year spent together deserves a celebration,” Schaefer says.

Also located along Lake Superior in the Lutsen-Tofte area is Lutsen Resort, celebrating their 125th anniversary this year. The resort is inviting guests to celebrate their long tradition of hospitality during a Spring Food & Wine Weekend May 14-15, a great way to mark the resort as the longest continually-operating resort in the state.

“Our history has been woven into the fabric of Minnesota travelers for many generations, and we continue to see new generations getting acquainted with us,” says Nancy Burns, Lutsen Resort owner. It’s easy to see why so many generations of families choose to vacation at Lutsen Resort, with activities such as beach campfires, hiking, golfing, biking, sea-kayaking, kids’ programs, and simply relaxing and reconnecting in a natural setting.

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