Good omen: driving down the Gunflint Trail toward the lodge - spotted a wolf trotting down the side of the road - who once the headlights hit him - ducked back into the Superior Forest.
Was a bit nervous in Grand Marais proper - the lawns were brown - no snow. But once on the Gunflint Trail the Jack Pines were frosted (blasted) with snow - and the Aspen and scrub were coated in snow. A winter wonderland indeed.
Check-in was easy. Cabin was toasty warm upon entering the Friday before New Years Eve. Built a nice fire - opened bottle of wine - popped a viddy in the machine. Perfect arrival.
Dinner at the lodge was delicious. Wine menu is nice - and not killer. Dinner and dessert was great - a table in front of lodge fire.
Next day Saturday - hit the nordic ski trails. Big Pine to Lazy Lake View trails. Was picture perfect - pines covered in snow like icing on a wedding cake. Light snow falling. The 2-4" of new snow during previous days allowed trails to be groomed for classic and skating. But nobody out there! Trails to myself! Except one cute friendly red squirrel. No other humans or animals. Fantastic skiing. Gunflint Lodge never disapoints.
Back to cabin for a sauna - long and hot - then back to lodge for lunch of walleye chowder and Sierra Nevada pale ale.
Great birds outside cabin window - Pine Grosbeak, Chickadees, Common Redpolls, Grey and Blue Jays - all competing for the sunflower seeds that I tossed into the pine boughs.
Sunday was a repeat - though took Big Pine to Overlook to West End to Rabbit run - temps dropping to about 5F above - trails still in excellent condition - and bright sun to boot.
Monday - bitter cold - wind chill to minus 20F. Good day inside the cabin 22 for sauna, reading, videos - and some time outside for photography.
New Years eve was quiet. Lodge Bar closed down by 11 PM - I know - because I headed over after photos for a champagne toast. Ah well. No worries.
What a great weekend in the Northwoods.
Thanks to Mandy, Chris, Mark, Rich in the dining room for excellent service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- All-inclusive luxury cabins in the Minnesota Northwoods on the historic Gunflint Trail bordering the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Lakeside cabins with fireplaces accommodate 2-14 people and many have in-room saunas or spa pools. Activities include canoeing, hiking, fishing guides, guided Naturalist activities, swimming, horse back riding, full meal service, and the Towering Pines Canopy Tour. Winter activities include cross country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, snow shoeing and ice fishing. Lakeside patio dining, full-service bar, and massage therapist are available. Featured in "1,000 Places to See Before You Die-U.S. & Canada." Always Pet Friendly. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gunflint Hotel Grand Marais