We wanted a unique and romantic place to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Most couples would opt for a cruise or Hawaii or Europe but we decided on the BWCA so we could really be alone together. The friendly owner is Ron Brodigan and he runs the "Great Lakes School of Log Building." He and his students have built the half-dozen or so log cabins that guests are treated to. Now for the disclaimer: This is NOT a luxury 5star hotel where you will be pampered and treated to all the amenities a 5star resort typically offers. But if you want to get away from the beaten track (where all those amenity-seeking people go) and discover a piece of the wild that very few are treated to, come here. You can even bring your well-behaved dog! The cabins are very comfortable but you will need to bring a few things along: groceries, bedding, and your own shampoo. Each cabin is well-equipped with all the kitchen equip you'll need (including coffee maker) and has a private privvy a few steps away. If you need to use the wood stove for heat, there is plenty of
Now, if you are still reading, I know I can hook you with the next part. Ron owns over 300 acres of this beautiful wilderness and he is willing to share it with you - he has groomed miles of trails through it for hiking, cross-country skiing and showshoeing. He has a real Finnish wood-fired sauna (this is also how you take your showers). The property borders the beautiful Sand Lake and you will hear the Loons in the evening and morning from your cozy bed. The sky lights up from the stars we can't see from our city home. We could have spent lots more than the $60/night we spent and stayed in Ely but we'd have got a lot less for it.
We brought our own canoe along so we could venture the few miles more to the BWCA and enjoy a full day paddling a chain of lakes from my college days when I was an intern at the Environmental Learning Center in Isabella. If you don't bring a canoe along, there are several places you can rent them in Ely or Isabella. Ron allows use his canoes on Sand Lake but for safety sake, doesn't allow them off his property. We also enjoyed spending time in Ely, which reminds us so much of the Cicely Alaska location on the old tv show "Northern Exposure." One evening there was a free concert at the "Front Porch Coffee & Tea Company" and it seemed half the town came out, the street was blocked and it gave us a very good vibe for the friendliness of the town. There are dozens of restaurants in Ely but keep in mind it's 45 minutes away.
If you want a romantic, private getaway you have to give this place a try. We will definitely come back, maybe even in the winter when it's a little more popular but we can enjoy the skiing.