I really did not know if this museum would be worth the $6.50 admission (seniors and AAA members receive a discount making admission only $5.50), but it certainly was. I was there on a rainy day so I was the only visitor on my tour. Even though some of the exhibits are outdoors and you must walk to the cabins, the heavy canopy provided by the huge pines allowed very little rain to reach the gravel trail. It is located right next to the International Center on the east side of Ely so just follow the signs for that.
Once inside there is a great gift shop to see while you wait for the next tour. Although I had a private tour early in the season, the guide said tours can have 30 people when it is busy. I highly recommend going early if possible to avoid the crowds so you can get close to the exhibits. The history of how Dorothy, a registered nurse from Pennsylvania, came to be in the area and acquire the property is a story in itself, but even more interesting is learning about her lengthy stay until she passed away there in 1986 and the fact she had up to 6000 visitors a year purchase or later make a donation to have some of her homemade root beer. She faced government bureaucracy in addition to the hardships of living in such a remote area reachable only by canoe and several portages.
There really is much to see here including a 15 minute video which runs continuously, her Winter Cabin (which houses her root beer making equipment on the front porch), Point Cabin with exhibits on her life including her love of birds and flowers and her favorite expression "kwitchurbeliakin" and the video, a recreated outhouse, her canoe paddle fence, picnic and game area, nature and bird feeding area and Cady Cabin and exhibits. I spent two hours here and would go again. I only wish I had been one of the lucky people to have met here in person.
See if you can resist the temptation to buy some of the root beer (by the bottle, six pack or case)-I had to have some and was glad I did as it is great tasting. Otherwise for a few dollars you can buy the recipe and make your own.
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