The Midwest in autumn is known for magnificent colors, refreshingly brisk air, plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, late night bonfires and delicious crops of apples, pumpkins, carrots and corn. Why not seize the season with a fabulous getaway before the first snowstorm hits? Here are a few suggestions for an all-day trek or a weekend retreat.
Anderson’s Lighthouse – AmericInn
When guests visit Anderson’s Lighthouse along Lake Superior, they’re treated to over 320 feet of private beach with a spectacular view of Grand Marais Harbor. Walk to nearby restaurants, observe Minnesota’s wildlife, fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves, and wake up to the sounds of seagulls as the sun rises.
The lighthouse was carefully designed as a near replica of an actual lighthouse, and includes a full galley kitchen, gas fireplace, double Jacuzzi, laundry area, multiple decks and a lighthouse tower. Turn on the lighthouse light for a real lighthouse experience (the glow is even more impressive when you’re sitting around a campfire). Outside, view Carlton Peak, jump on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail, or hop on the fall color tour on the Temperance River Road. Walk across the street and use AmericInn’s swimming pool, whirlpool and sauna, included as part of your stay.
For more information, visit www.americinntofte.com/lighthouse or call 1-800-625-7042.
Orchard tours and the second wave of fall colors along Lake Superior add to the charm and beauty of Bayfield. “Throughout the Bayfield Peninsula, you can’t miss the color,” says Cari Obst, executive director of the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce. As you travel along County Road J, the beauty of the landscape is showcased by the lake. The woods and orchards add a serene touch. From mid-September through October 31, kids of all ages can participate in the first annual Bayfield Scarecrow Festival and Orchard Tours. This harvest festival includes apple and berry picking, wine tasting, apple and cider sampling, pony rides, hayrides, art gallery tours, field mazes, a flower farm and antique shopping. Scarecrows will be displayed throughout the city and orchards. Get the full Bayfield effect at such hot-spots as Blue Vista Farm, Erickson’s Orchard, Bayfield Apple Company and Hauser’s Superior View Farm. Or take a trip with Apostle Island Cruises, Madeline Island Ferry Line, or Bayfield’s Ghost Walking Tour.
For more information, visit www.bayfield.org or call 1-800-447-4094.
With theater performances at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, miles of trails for hiking and biking in Itasca State Park, Chippewa National Forest and Lake Bemidji State Park, and over 400 fishing lakes within a 35-mile radius, it would take any visitor over a month to see all of Bemidji. The name of this historic, charming town means “lake with cross waters.” It is where the Mississippi River crosses Lake Bemidji. To soak in the culture and history of the Bemidji area, visit the Historical Museum’s new exhibit on Native Americans or tour the Concordia Village where five different European villages are represented. The Bemidji Woolen Mills is also a popular visitor’s stop. This factory outlet, a fourth-generation family business, offers woolen apparel for any outdoor activity. To end their vacation with a scream, families can attend the Halloween Boo-Fest at Headwaters Science Center. Finally, no visit is complete to the “golden city” without stopping at the Visitors Center on the shores where Paul and Babe stand guard.
For more information, visit www.visitbemidji.com or call 1-800-458-2223.
Escape the hustle and bustle of city life to the relaxed atmosphere of Boyd Lodge in Cross Lake. With bright reds, oranges, and yellows encompassing five miles of private hiking trails, fall is the perfect time to take a trip.
“Get away and relax before winter kicks in,” says General Manager Mike Schwieters. “Do a nice long weekend or a couple of days to just disconnect.” Boyd Lodge features wood-burning fireplaces, a sauna/hot tub, tennis courts, and the opportunity to rent boats and pontoons before the end of the boating season. Fall fishing is a prime activity on Whitefish Lake, where Boyd Lodge is located. Local guide “Walleye Dan” takes many visitors around the Whitefish Lake Chain of 14 lakes to catch the best walleye while appreciating the changing beauty of the shorelines. Families, couples or groups are welcome to stay in the 17 townhome/loft cabins available. The Paul Bunyan bike trail is nearby, and Boyd Lodge offers golf getaway specials in the fall.
For more information, visit www.boydlodge.com or call 218-543-4125.
Canoe Bay/Relais & ChÂteaux
Set on a 280-acre wilderness estate, Canoe Bay/Relais & Châteaux encourages adults to feel spoiled and secluded in this breathtaking area, located outside of Chetek in northwestern Wisconsin. Lisa Dobrowolski, who co-owns the estate with her husband, Dan, says the area is surrounded by “three crystal clear lakes, trails amidst the hardwood forests and incredible fall colors.” Guests will experience excellent service, superb cuisine and an award-winning wine list with 700 hard-to-find wines. Tastings are enjoyed in the elegant dining room overlooking the lake, or during a private dining experience in the Wine Cellar. After dinner, retire to one of the six guestrooms at the inn and lodge, or in one of the 15 charming cottages. Unwind in front of the fireplace, in the whirlpool, or by quietly observing the wonders of nature in fall. Work out in the fitness center, play a round of golf at one of the nearby courses, indulge in an in-room relaxation massage, or find a fascinating book, movie or magazine at the inn’s extensive library. Guests can also kayak, hike, bike, or canoe through tranquil settings in the woods and on the lakes.
For more information, visit www.canoebay.com or call 715-924-4594.
Fitger’s Inn & Brewery Complex
With amazing views of Lake Superior from a location in historic downtown Duluth, Fitger’s Inn is truly a “one-stop-shop” including 14 specialty shops, four great restaurants and Duluth’s only AAA four-diamond hotel. Celebrating the Harvest Moon on October 20-23 is one of Fitger’s must-attend events for people of all ages. During the festival dig into the deals throughout Fitger’s bluestone walls. On Saturday, beginning at noon, explore the pumpkin patch in the courtyard. There are many activities — from decorating pumpkins, face painting, costumed storytellers, children’s games, and much more. From 1 to 3 p.m. radio station 92.1 The Beat will be broadcasting live and at 2 p.m. join in on the costume parade while trick-or-treating in the Sherman Fitger’s shops. While shopping at Fitger’s, make sure to see the shops decorated for fall and vote for your favorite spooky or creative shop window.
For more information, visit www.fitgers.com or call 1-888-FITGERS.
Fort Williams Historical Park, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Stands of golden aspen, Manitoba maples, spruce and birch come together to form a city full of lush autumn colors in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Panoramic views of the city can be seen from Mount McKay Scenic Lookout. Hillcrest Park has a spectacular view of the harbor and The Sleeping Giant from the north side. Ouimet Canyon is only an hour away and features a 100-meter high canyon, while Kakabeka Falls, known as the “Niagara of the North,” plunges 40 meters over cliffs and fossils. Thunder Bay also offers excellent shopping, world-class hotels, fine dining, a casino, recreational facilities, and year-round sporting events, says Marty Mascarin, communications officer for Ontario Tourism Fort William Historical Park. Throughout October, guests can enjoy the Fall Harvest and Haunts celebration. According to Mascarin, Fort William Historical Park, Belluz Farms and Gammondale Farm present everything from “ghost stories to pumpkin fests; haunted forts and cornfields to seasonal crafts and decorations.”
As the gateway to the Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais offers an amazing mix of nature and culture. On only a tank of gas, visitors can tour art galleries, visit unique shops and dine at excellent restaurants, all while taking in the brilliant fall yellows and golds along Lake Superior. On the drive up Highway 61, stop at one of many hiking trails — Cross River, Temperance River State Park, Cascade River, Devil Track River or Sugarloaf Cove. Don’t miss Crossing Borders, the North Shore Autumn Studio Tour and Sale, from September 23-October 2. Once you’ve reached Grand Marais, take a trip up the Gunflint Trail (County Road 12) and you might be lucky enough to see a moose, deer, fox, or maybe the ever-so-rarely spotted wolf, bear, or lynx. A trip wouldn’t be complete without participating in this year’s Moose Madness, October 21-23, or the Fall Migration Birding Festival, October 28-30. “The friendliness and authenticity of this harbor village, flanked on every side by water, rock, hills, trees and wildlife, is a refuge in the true sense of the word,” describes Director of Grand Marais Tourism, Diane Brostrom.
For more information, visit www.grandmarais.com or call 1-888-922-5000.
With the junction of the Mississippi, St. Croix, and Vermillion Rivers, seeing the rugged and colorful scenery of the Hastings area should be on your to-do list this autumn. Spring Lake Park, Vermillion Falls, Carpenters Nature Center, and Cannon Valley Trail all offer extensive trails for hiking along the bluffs, exploring, and picnic spots for an afternoon lunch. The Afton State Park is perfect for backpack hiking and camping along the St. Croix River, and features many challenging bike trails. The St. Croix Valley Apple Fest is fun for the entire family during the weekend of October 8-9. Area apple orchards will celebrate along the bluffs of the St. Croix River with apple picking, hayrides, games, cider pressing demonstrations, mazes, farm animals and more. Watch for the Alexis Bailly Vineyard Harvest Celebration and the Gobble Gait 2005 coming in November.
For more information, visit www.hastingsmn.org or call 1-888-612-6122.
With two main highways entering Iron County, visitors will be sure to get their dose of fall colors. Iron County’s landscape includes everything from the ancient Penokee Mountains, hidden canyons and remote waterfalls, to four miles of Lake Superior’s Saxon Harbor’s sandy beach. One of the state’s largest hardwood forests, flanked by the Chequamegon National Forest to the west and the Ottawa National Forest to the east is also a feature. “At Saxon on U.S. Highway 2, there’s a great scenic overlook where you can see the colorful forests slope down to Lake Superior, and on clear days, you see the Apostle Islands across the way,” describes Gene Cisewski, Iron County administrative coordinator. For golfers, Skye Golf and Eagle Bluff Club offer spectacular views of the mountains and a kaleidoscope of changing fall colors. “Within 25 miles of downtown Hurley, you can see over 30 waterfalls. In the southern part of the county, Mercer is the state’s loon capital with more than 250 lakes,” Cisewski says. If you are an ATV fan, join the Pumpkin Run ATV Rally, October 7-9. Activities include exploring the colors and trails. The rally will open with an ATV parade and include a mud pit, poker run and more.
LUTSEN REAL ESTATE/LUTSEN LODGING COMPANY
Searching for that perfect place for a quiet retreat? Lutsen Real Estate Group and Lutsen Lodging Company can help you find your dream home along the North Shore. Take a long vacation in one of the unique properties or look for your next real estate purchase in a beautiful part of the state. With lodging in the mountains, woods, or along the shore, there are lake estates near Clara Lake, Tait Lake, and Caribou Lake. If golf is your cup of “tee,” allow Lutsen Real Estate Group to help you find your next home in communities near Superior National Golf Course.
For more information, visit www.lutsenlodgingcompany.com or call 1-800-686-4669.
Majestic Falls Aveda Day Retreat and Spa
For a few hours or a day of peaceful, rejuvenating relaxation, many make the trip to St. Croix Falls to be pampered by the professional staff at Majestic Falls. Full body massages, deluxe facials, manicures, pedicures and every other type of salon service is offered here. A visit is the perfect excuse for “an escape for yourself, a romantic getaway, or a group of friends,” says owner Jacki Curry. Set in the comforting atmosphere of a three-story Victorian house, guests can slip into comfortable robes and slippers and sip on Aveda tea, water or coffee in the Great Room. The house includes two fireplaces, a wraparound porch, and a third floor meditation area; all with a scenic view of the river. “Enjoy a sensory journey for your own individual needs. You are welcome to enjoy individual service experiences or spa packages,” Curry says. Majestic Falls also offers microdermabrasion, cranial sacrial, reiki sessions, and life coaching sessions by special reservation.
For more information, and to make your next reservation, call 1-877-232-8332.
Sometimes a bed and breakfast is just not enough for a romantic getaway. Jake Seiler, co-owner of Security Jewelers in Duluth, wants to make sure you treat your spouse to a little bobble, a piece of Gucci Jewelry, or a pair of Lazar diamond earrings that sparkle like Lake Superior. In October, Security Jewelers will be hosting a special event opening for three Swedish glass artists. “Three gentlemen from Kosta Boda — Kjell Engman, Bertil Vallien, and Göran Wärff — will be showing their limited edition sculptures in our store,” Seiler explains. The sculptures will be one-of-a-kind signed originals including bowls, vases, sculptures, figures and much more. Security Jewelers has also received a new line from Verragio and unique 19k gold and platinum rings from Scott Kay. With a small-town atmosphere and variety of prestigious brands, Security Jewelers will definitely help you find a Swiss Army, Rolex, or Swiss Railway watch to bring back to the city, or a piece of jewelry that has lovely warm tones like the fall colors in Duluth.
For more information, visit www.securityjewelers.com or call 218-722-6633.
Stone Hearth Inn
If you’re looking for a more traditional, social bed and breakfast, the Stone Hearth Inn is the perfect retreat. At the carriage house, 40 feet back from the shoreline, guests can relax in a hot tub, warm up by the fireplace, and enjoy a continental breakfast in a private setting. At the Main Inn, 80 feet back from the shores, you will find classic B&B rooms with private bedrooms, bathrooms and full breakfast, and a lakeside dining room. During the morning and afternoon, escape to the hills filled with a canopy of maple trees, views of the Sawtooth Mountains, and hiking trails along the ridgeline. “The shoreline is stunning with the water views and birch along the shorelines,” describes Susan Michels, who co-owns Stone Hearth Inn along with her husband, Charlie. “The inland has spectacular cranberry and fuchsia colors.” Toward the end of October, mid-week rates will decrease by $30 for the fall and winter season. Reserve your room now and don’t miss out on the crisp evenings, warm bonfires, and full moon on October 17.
For more information, visit www.stonehearthinn.com or call 218-226-3020.
YMCA Camp du Nord
The towering red and white pines, brilliant colors of the maple and birch trees, and the serenity of Burntside Lake surround YMCA’s Camp du Nord to create a perfect retreat for wilderness adventures or a time of reflection. Individuals, groups and families travel past Ely to discover the Northwoods and participate in many of the activities available. Throughout the summer and fall, many visitors enjoy hiking and running on woodland trails and canoeing and kayaking on pristine lakes. After a long day of adventures, the warmth of an autumn bonfire or sauna can’t be beat. Camp du Nord also has special weekend retreats throughout the year, such as the creative arts weekends, “Bringing Beauty to Life” and “Bringing Balance to Life,” and a silent retreat weekend, “Bringing Silence to Life.” In the winter, Camp du Nord has many cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and sledding opportunities.
For more information, visit www.dunord.org or call 651-645-6605.