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Summer heat is on the wane, but that doesn’t mean vacation season is over.
A growing number of people are extending their vacation well beyond Labor Day for a few different reasons: The weather is not too hot and not too cold (bonus that the mosquitoes are gone), the landscape is a gorgeous palette of greens, yellows, oranges, and reds, and there are smaller crowds and better bargains during the “off-peak” season.
We chose a few destinations that are picture-perfect during the autumn months.
Hudson’s Spirit of the St. Croix Days, held October 15-18, will combine family entertainment, education, and a national fishing tournament to celebrate the city of Hudson and the St. Croix River Valley. The Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau created Spirit of the St. Croix Days to bring families to Hudson’s Lakefront Park and celebrate historic downtown Hudson. The national fishing tournament, the Professional Walleye Trail, will host two events—a three day catch and release walleye year-end tournament, and an exciting eight-hour tournament— the “Top 50 Anglers” in the U.S.— on October 18.
In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the St. Croix River becoming a National Scenic Riverway, the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau is bringing Big Top Chautauqua to town on Thursday, October 16, for a free evening concert. During this exciting fall event Lakefront Park will host a variety of food and beverage vendors, musical entertainment, The All American Lumberjack Show, the “Taste of Hudson Food, Beer & Wine Experience,” a boat show, and fishing presentations. October is the perfect time to visit this area.
Lutsen Resort, set amidst a palette of blazing reds and brilliant yellows, is the ideal autumn getaway—whether you prefer relaxing on a lakeside deck, strolling along Lake Superior in front of the resort, or fishing in Poplar River. Join resort guides on some of the many complimentary fall activities such as guided hikes (don’t forget your camera to capture the spectacular vistas overlooking the forest) or guided kayak tours along the colorful shoreline. A backroad driving tour winds through the forest where the birch and maples contrast with the dark green of pine trees. Lutsen Resort offers lodging options for every taste and budget, from historic lodge rooms to hand-crafted log cabins, luxury townhomes to seaside villas. Those looking for a romantic getaway will enjoy candlelit dinners in the lakeside dining room, quiet moments in front of a crackling fire, in-room Jacuzzis, and the solitude of Lake Superior. Fall highlights include the opening of Lutsen Resort’s new Massage and Wellness Center, and the Fall Color Getaway “Food & Wine Weekend” Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
Surfside on Lake Superior
Surfside on Lake Superior, a new luxurious waterfront retreat in the Lutsen/Tofte area, is surrounded by a kaleidoscope of fall color. Experience the charm of the North Shore during autumn by renting or buying one of nine completed coastal contemporary townhomes (there are 26 total planned).
After hiking, biking, fishing, or simply sitting outside with a book and cup of coffee, unwind at the Superior Waters Spa.
“At Superior Waters, nurturing you is our second nature,” says Lori Schaefer, marketing director. “Treatments and services are inspired by our surroundings, which are spectacular, pristine and holistic. Here, nestled between the Sawtooth Mountains, a forest of pine and birch, and the magnificent Lake Superior shoreline, we have created an oasis of tranquility for relaxing the mind, relieving the body and rejuvenating the spirit.”
Superior Waters Spa officially opens in late August. Guests are encouraged to “test the waters” with a Surfside Sampler Package, offering 25 percent off lodging, 25 percent off all spa services, and more. After enjoying a massage or body treatment, soak in the indoor pool or whirlpool overlooking the lake before retiring to your private townhome for a glass of wine.
Located on the shores of Lake Darling, beautiful fall scenery is worth a trip along I-94 to Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria. In addition to prime color viewing, Arrowwood guests have the option of biking down area trails, enjoying the Big Splash Indoor Waterpark, relaxing at the Darling Reflections Spa, playing a round on Arrowwood’s 18-hole course, horseback riding, or warming up (and roasting marshmallows) by an evening bonfire. Accommodations range from lodge rooms and suites with lakefront views to luxurious four bedroom townhomes.
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Embark on a number of “autumnal adventures” in Thunder Bay, Ontario this fall.
Explore Marina Park through a lakeside barrier-free network of walking paths and boardwalks as they weave by boats and a beautiful landscape with unobstructed views of Canada’s No. 1 scenic wonder, the famous Sleeping Giant. Thunder Bay is also home to the world’s largest reconstructed fur trading post, Fort William Historical Park, where every weekend something exciting happens. Don’t forget to stop in at Thunder Bay Oak Cheese farm for award-winning Gouda cheese, an old-fashioned bakery, the Nolalu eco-straw house, and the Organic Café. Just outside the city is the magnificent thundering Kakabeka Falls (“Niagara of the North”); the beautiful Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Thunder Bay Amethyst Mines (pick your own amethyst), fishing at Eagle Ridge Trout Ponds, and Eagle Canyon Adventures.
Morton—home base of Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel and Dacotah Ridge Golf Club—lies on the Minnesota river (off Highway 19 and US 71) where the fall color viewing is prime during the chilly autumn months. Minnesota’s first casino offers 325,000-square-feet of live gaming excitement (two floors) with video slot machines, fast-paced table games, live poker, live entertainment, four superb restaurants, and a 375-seat bingo hall, in addition to the Rees Jones-designed Dacotah Ridge Golf Club, rated as one of the state’s best by Golf Digest. The Lower Sioux Lodge, adjacent to the casino, is an AAA Diamond Rated hotel with deluxe accommodations. Next to the hotel is Kids Quest Childcare, ideal for children six weeks to 12 years old.
Nestled on the sandy shores of Leech Lake, Northland Lodge offers world-class fishing, solitude, luxurious amenities, and a family-friendly atmosphere (think beach-side volleyball and paddleboats) that has kept generations of guests returning year after year. Choose from over 18 custom-built lake homes each designed with an “Up North” experience in mind. The Lodge is only minutes away from golf courses, bike trails, antique shops, casinos, dinner cruises, fine dining, and beautiful autumn colors.
Grand Casino Mille Lacs overlooks the colorful shores of Lake Mille Lacs in the heart of Minnesota’s finest vacationland. Go hiking, biking, walleye fishing, or boating during the day, than get ready for excitement, entertainment and plenty of casino action at night. Choose from more than 1,500 video slots, dozens of blackjack tables, and live bingo six days a week. See a country, comedy, rock or R&B performance. After you’re done playing, treat yourself to the comfortable, affordable luxury of the Grand Casino Mille Lacs Hotel. You’ll also enjoy on-site restaurants including the Grand Buffet, the Grand Northern Grill, and The Woodlands Steakhouse.
Designed exclusively for couples, Canoe Bay—the only prestigious Relais and Chateaux member in the Midwest—is a gorgeous, unspoiled, secluded fall retreat located in northwestern Wisconsin. Explore miles of hiking trails on the 280-acre country estate, admire the beauty of the changing leaves from your private deck, or go canoeing, kayaking, or fishing on quiet Lake Wahdoon. While you’re unwinding, why not treat yourself to an hour-long massage in the hotel’s spa, cuddle in front of your private fireplace, or relax in a two-person whirlpool? In the evening, head over to the lakeside dining room to enjoy a glass of wine (there are over 500 domestic and imported vintages to choose from) and an excellent four-course meal prepared by a talented chef. Lodging options include guest rooms in the lodge, new deluxe cottages, or Edgewood, a 2,000-square-foot villa, complete with a 1,500-square-foot wraparound deck.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Duluth in the fall, and Nokomis Restaurant and Bar is one of them. Located about 20 minutes from downtown Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior, Nokomis Restaurant serves both classic and new cuisine.
The changing menu features mouth-watering seasonal items (chef and co-owner Sean Lewis promises diners an interesting menu of fish, meats, pasta and salads) and a superb selection of over 130 carefully-selected wines.
Caribou Highlands Lodge
Caribou Highlands Lodge is in a prime North Shore location for enjoying fall’s flashy fashion show. Nestled in Lutsen’s Sawtooth Mountains on the shores of Lake Superior, this family-friendly vacation Mecca offers colorful views of the changing leaves. Take the gondola ride up and the vista view from the backside of the mountain on the way down will take your breath away. The area offers exceptional hiking right out the door along leaf-covered trails, as well as excellent birding, canoeing, and mountain biking opportunities. For those who prefer to tee it high and let it fly, fall golf on the North Shore is a must.
Visit the website for details about the Superior National Golf Package.
The Minnesota Zoo is a beautiful venue in the fall. Gorgeous autumn colors can be appreciated all around the zoo, located in Apple Valley. Another reason to visit? The much-anticipated $23.6 million exhibit, “Russia’s Grizzly Coast.” Get eye-to-eye with grizzly bears Sadie (rescued near a landfill in Alaska), Haines (an orphan cub found roaming in Haines, Alaska), and Kenai (an orphan cub found along the coast near Seward, Alaska), as well as four sea otters, three Amur leopards, and ten wild boars. This is the first exhibit of its kind featuring the region, landscapes, and animals of Russia’s Far East. Watch the massive bears roam among steaming geysers and bubbling mud-pots, a land of stunning scenery including a rocky coastline, erupting volcanoes, and dense forests.
Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior
Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior is located just 30 minutes north of Duluth. The Scandinavian-style cottages are tucked away in 40 acres of private woods for the ultimate in privacy and fall colors. Guests enjoy modern conveniences in upscale cottages, equipped with TVs and DVD players, home theater systems, full-service kitchens, quality goose down comforters, and cozy gas fireplaces in select cabins. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy opportunities to hike, bike, paddle, fish, or golf, while those wanting to stay put and unwind will appreciate the full-service Ledge Rock Grille and Lounge (offering an extensive wine list), heated indoor pool, and wood-fired sauna and massage cottage.
Grand Superior Lodge
Grand Superior Lodge sits on 1,500 feet of pristine Lake Superior shoreline, with the Superior National Hiking Trail just across the highway and Gooseberry Falls State Park almost next door. Fall guest activities include charter fishing on Lake Superior (special guest rate), complimentary bikes (ride in Gooseberry Falls State Park or down the Gitchi Gami bike trail), and free use of canoes. This authentic log lodge is on the water’s edge and features a renowned restaurant with lakeside deck. A free Minnesota State Park day pass is available online with two-night reservation.
Trapper’s Landing Lodge on Leech Lake
Immerse yourself in autumn’s splendor at Leech Lake’s newest family resort, Trapper’s Landing Lodge, featuring spectacular three-bedroom lodges on 1,600 feet of lakeshore. The newest addition to the resort, the Hudson Bay Cabins, offers the ultimate in luxury lake home living combined with a beautiful scenic location. Hike or bike in the nearby Chippewa National Forest, or go canoeing, kayaking, or fishing in Leech Lake. The resort features a sandy swimming beach and full-service marina. A winery, golf course, museum, riding stable, and casino are close to the area.
Gold, scarlet, and auburn leaves create a mosaic of rich colors in Grand Marais from mid-September through late-October. Travelers come for amazing scenery, wildlife viewing (the area is home to 155 bird species, as well as moose, wolves, lynx, bears, deer, and fox), excellent fishing, unique shopping (Grand Marais is the only North Shore community whose downtown is right on the lake), inspired art galleries, over 30 designated hiking trails, 2,000 miles of biking trails, and a plethora of lodging and dining options.