Looking for a lodge in the Boundary Waters
January 2, 2007 7:58 PM   Subscribe

I'll be running a marathon in Duluth, MN, in June and would like to stay at a wilderness lodge with my brother and parents for 3-4 days afterward to relax. Where should I go?

Looking for something within a 5-hour-or-so drive from Duluth, probably north into the Boundary Waters area. Google searches have turned up a few good possibilities (Clearwater Lodge, for example), but almost everything just looks so cheesy.

I'm looking for something like the amazing Hazen Inn in Northern Wisconsin—or the fictional Great Northern, for that matter. I'd like to stay in a lodge rather than in an individual cabin. Any ideas?
posted by rossmeissl to Travel & Transportation around Duluth, MN (11 answers total)
Ely and the lodges out east of town are great. There'll be a lot of fishermen round that time, tho.
posted by notsnot at 8:06 PM on January 2, 2007

I'll second Ely.
posted by starman at 8:24 PM on January 2, 2007

Bluefin Bay in Tofte.
posted by limicoline at 8:30 PM on January 2, 2007

Bluefin Bay strikes me as pretty cheesy, actually.

It's not a terrible idea to just drive up the lakeshore (by which I mean Lake Superior's) and pick cabins that look nice. I think the place that I have the best memories of closed, so that's out... But seriously, try driving up to around Tofte and then start looking at roadside cabins. Once you get to Lutsen, turn around and drive back to the place you liked best. I tend to prefer places next to the Lake, because it's so beautiful in so many ways, but places on the other side of the road from the Lake may be cheaper.

My parents are building a cabin just south of Grand Marais, apparently along with the entire rest of the Twin Cities' population, so I don't have much sense of the rentable properties there anymore, but I do know that Grand Marais is getting more commercial. The Angry Trout is a great restaurant, though -- try to make it there at least once.
posted by jiawen at 8:58 PM on January 2, 2007

in Tofte, MN. Quaint, gorgeous view, not cheesy. They cabins are cute and they have an AMAZING sauna. For Boundary Waters fun, drive 30 minutes to Sawbill Canoe Outfitters, also Tofte. They'll rent you whatever you need and you can go right into the Boundary Waters from there. Good luck with Grandma's.
posted by bonheur at 9:08 PM on January 2, 2007

Oops, I meant to say: Try Cobblestone cabins in Tofte.
posted by bonheur at 9:09 PM on January 2, 2007

Do you want a remote area or something populous? On Superior or in the woods? I went to Grand Marais this past summer. I had never been there in my 25 years of living here and was blown away. Really cool small bay town. There are a few rustic hotels in town that aren't chains. Don't know about lodges.

Lutsen is in between Duluth and Grand Marais. Went there as a kid and stayed in a cabin on what must have been a resort type place. That was neat too from my recollection. Lutsen is a ski area in the winter so there must be all sorts of off-season things. Grandma's is early enough in the season when it's not nice enough for things to be really hopping on the North Shore.

Of course, within a mere 2.5 hours of Duluth is the Grand Lodge, home to the Water Park of America, just minutes away from the Mall of America. The surefire cure to any marathon recovery.

And as far as cheesy goes, it's Minnesota - that's how we roll.
posted by DonnieSticks at 9:20 PM on January 2, 2007

BIG important TIP!!! Whatever you do, book early, lodgings fill up crazy quick for Grandmas. I live in Duluth and so I know. Just driving up the shore is likely going to land you in a motel 6 or something even more disappointing, as everywhere nice will be booked, you are starting major tourist season about that time. Ely is not a bad suggestion as it is totally geared for the thing you're looking for. Check the chamber of commerce site. It's a few more extra hours north. Likewise you may want to check around Grand Marais . Again, a few more hours north driving.
My last suggestion, try this site, it may be of some help.
Good luck in the race.
posted by edgeways at 9:26 PM on January 2, 2007

My wife and I had a very nice stay at the rather rustic Gunflint Lodge. Personally I think it is well worth a couple of hours extra driving to get into more natural settings.
posted by nanojath at 9:38 PM on January 2, 2007

Former Minnesota travel editor here...Canoe Bay is truly amazing, though it may not fit your criteria of wilderness. We stayed in an individual cabin (though calling those places cabins...they're so pampering it's hard to). I think they have bigger lodge-like bldgs though. We used their canoes to go out on their private lake, watched beavers build dams, ate fantastic meals, hiked, had no phone or TV in our rooms (but did have sumptuous hot tubs).
posted by GaelFC at 10:26 PM on January 2, 2007

Alternatively, if you do decide to stay in Duluth there are plenty of outdoorsy things do do right in and around town. IF I am around during that time I'd be willing to give you a tour around tailored to what you're interested in. (my summer plans are rather fluid at this stage). anyway, email is in profile if I can help.
posted by edgeways at 11:48 PM on January 2, 2007

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