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“Wonderful winter escape”

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Blue Heron Bed & Breakfast
Ranked #1 of 3 Ely B&B and Inns
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 8 April 2013

Gained weight, slept like a log, relaxed in a fine sauna and visited the local wolf and bear wildlife museums. Could not have had a better time at any of the destinations...especially the breakfast table and comfortable bed. Jo and Bill are exceptional hosts. Probably the best B&B experience my wife and I have had in our many adventures. Thanks for your hospitality.

Room Tip: All good but the corner window views are the best!
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank oo7Jack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (72)
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56 - 62 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 19 February 2013

Ely, MN in January, the Blue Heron is the place where you can enjoy yourself and the beautiful scenery. Come back from a day of Dog Sledding, a walk through the woods and across the frozen lake or just a day in Ely, you'll have a warm fire waiting for you and even the sauna.

The breakfasts that we had were wonderful and if you ask you might even get the recipe for the Gingerbread Pancakes and the Lemon Sauce.

Our next trip will be in the summer when we will be able to enjoy Kaiaking and do some fishing.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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Thank 714_PAT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2012

Stayed 3 nights in October (7th, 8th, 9th) Two of those nights we had the place to ourselves, was great to sit by the log burner in the evening after a days hiking, reading and listening the radio.
No TV which is great access to the wilderness around excellent.
Breakfast great especially the corn pancakes, not too much to overface you, but they will make more if you want them.
Nice place to get away fom it all, bill and jo are not in your face which was great

Room Tip: We had a room on the top floor overlooking the lake " So Forth" was comfortable and had gr...
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2011

This place rocks. The extra cost over in-town hotels/inns is well worth it. The property abuts the BWCA and is perfect for winter or summer visits, when a day trip into the BWCA is plenty. We skied and snowboarded into the BWCA and returned in time for a soothing sauna and the best meal you'll ever have in Ely (as much as I love Ely, I would ding it for food options - you can eat here even if you're not a guest).

Bill & Jo make it a great stay; wonderful breakfast, friendly people all around, and away from town! You can't believe how quiet it is out on that lake. You MUST stay here; I can't imagine how you'll ever have a bad time.

And Sam! If you hate dogs, stay away. Sam is a wonderful rescue labradoodle who will great you and take you on walks around the area (in the winter, he'll lead you on your walks across the frozen lakes - he's soooo friendly!) Sam is the real host at this operation.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank tomsaintpaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2011

I have just returned from a three night stay here and it was everything I had hoped it would be and more. First of all the location right next to the Boundary Waters felt like paradise. They have had even more snow than us and the trees were covered. The hosts for the B & B, Jan and Bill, were the unseen presence that made our home away from home amazing. Breakfasts were always very tasty and as my girls and I are very organic, more than satisfying. Our room was spacious and the beds comfy. The large dining area overlooks the lake and of course the bird feeders are right there. Then there are the two large lounging areas--- one with a microwave and fridge so we could heat up soups--- and the downstairs one with chairs for rest, tables for games and the always stoked woodstove. All the reading material all over was like manna from heaven for us voracious readers. And did I mention that all was taken care of by our hosts without fuss. We skied, snowshoed and walked (often with Sam their wonderful Labradoodle) and used the sauna each evening. We even did the Finn practise of rolling in the snow afterwards one night. Of course Ely is minutes away and though we never made it in for touristy stuff, I have been there before and it's lovely. One of the best parts is that it was only 4 1/2 hours from the Twin Cities so travel was not onerous.If you can't tell by now, it was a fabulous trip.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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Thank SueWeinauer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2010

First, the good. The B&B is in a beautiful setting, with terrific views and great proximity to the BWCA. The rooms are clean and well-kept, the beds very comfortable. The bird feeders attract lots of great birds, there are lots of homemade jams and things at breakfast, and Sam, the proprietor's dog, is at the ready with a wag and a soft muzzle to pet. So, if you're lucky, it's entirely possible to have a great experience at Blue Heron, as many reviewers clearly have. But if you're not lucky, like we were, you may find yourself wishing your stay ends as quickly as possible.

We were celebrating my 40th birthday weekend. We are not fabulously wealthy; this was a real splurge. We'd really had trouble picking the right room, and to her credit the hostess had been extremely patient with us before we arrived. We ended up choosing the suite with the hot tub -- specifically for the tub. Sadly, the tub malfunctioned the first time we used it, and long after bathtime ended and the tub drained, the jets would roar on every 15-20 minutes as if the thing was possessed. I called the proprietor, who by this point was in her home down the way. I was told there was "nothing that could be done." When I pointed out that we would be unable to sleep, I was told again "there's nothing that can be done." When I inquired about the empty rooms in the inn, I was directed to use one with an unmade bed, and told that sheets were in the dresser. They weren't. To be fair, I don't think she realized that, and she did eventually came up with a solution that quieted the tub by around midnight. Perhaps all's well that ends well, and we certainly don't blame the proprietor for the malfunction (stuff happens) -- but it was handled in a fairly stressful manner -- and at $136 a night, it wasn't an auspicious start.

The next morning she was apologetic, but the miscues continued and we both felt as though we were repeatedly being chastized for things that innkeepers normally take in stride. When I woke with a fever one morning, my husband asked if he could bring a breakfast plate in to me -- and the request was denied due "mice" ("she can come out in her pajamas or in a wrap"). Asking for an early breakfast late afternoon the night before resulted in a clipped "I wish I would have known about this sooner, I would have made the proper arrangements." If she'd answered firmly but kindly -- "no, I'm sorry, I can't" -- that actually would have been preferable. After awhile these uncomfortable exchanges really took the joy out of what was supposed to be a celebration. We found ourselves literally hiding and/or deferring (eg: we wanted to use the sauna one night but were afraid to ask).

My 40th birthday present was an amazing day of dogsledding -- though my husband probably shouldn't have gone as he was fighting a cold and the temps were below zero most of the day. When we returned we were happy but bone-cold ... and so was our room. The heat was out, and we both really needed to get warm -- and fast. I called the innkeeper, who again was in her home across the property, and was informed that she had selected a "savings" plan with the electric company that allowed them to turn off certain circuits in the B&B when power demand was high (as it probably was that evening, with temps dipping to -25). The backup space heater in the room was also not working. I again was told "there's nothing that can be done." After I persisted and pointed out that we would be unable to stay in the room with no heat, I was told to leave the door open so heat from a woodstove in another room would get in, and use the privacy screens (not a great option when your partner is hacking up a storm, coughing loudly and uncontrollably). She also directed me to get space heaters out of another room. I grabbed a few space heaters and promptly blew a fuse -- I probably should have been thinking more carefully about where I plugged them in, but while negotiating all this in a winter coat, I admit I wasn't operating on all cylinders. When I called her back for help, she was unable to mask her displeasure, and ended the conversation abruptly (as in, "click."). Thankfully a very sweet long-term resident of the inn intervened, flipped the circuit back on, and eventually (after about two and a half hours) our room heated to an acceptable temperature.

Both my husband and I think the innkeeper is a very good person at heart -- she has built a truly beautiful place -- IN a beautiful place -- and she clearly works very hard. The recession certainly has not been easy on her -- and guests (like us) are not always easy to deal with. We admit that we can be really difficult at times! But ultimately it seemed things could have been handled with more grace and gentleness.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank sleep99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2010

Many B&B's restrict children in order to cater to the couples market. Others are so full of fussy antiques that it's like you are sleeping in a museum. That's fine, I suppose but it limits your options if you are traveling with a kid. This B&B is run by a really nice couple who gave us lots of ideas for activities. The lodge was very inviting, cozy and beautifully situated. Breakfast was awesome and we had so much fun just hanging out, enjoying the first snows of the year, hiking with the dog, Sam and sledding. There is a wood-fired sauna and our room had a spot-jet tub. A nice combination of luxury and casual. We'll be back in the summer when we can canoe on the lake.

Stayed: November 2010, travelled with family
Thank Jennythenipper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blue Heron Bed & Breakfast

Address: 827 Kawishiwi Trl, Ely, MN 55731-8270
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Minnesota > Ely
Amenities:
Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Ely
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a 5 room Bed and Breakfast, that sits on the edge of the BWCA Wilderness. We are located on Farm Lake with South Farm Lake {which is in the Boundary Waters} just around the corner. We have canoes and kayaks for our guest to use along with a wood burning sauna. We are 7 miles from Ely,Mn. We have a lot of species of birds, deer,ducks, geese, Loons, Fox and an occasional bear. We offer a full "Country Style" Breakfast and lunches upon request. ... more   less 

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