Art Painting Workshop Spring Booking Special

Learn the Basics of Painting with a Summer Art Painting Workshop at Northwind Lodge and Into The Brush!

Just imagine spending time outside looking at our beautiful wilderness and then coming back to the studio to paint what you saw.  Yes, you can do it!   It’s great fun and the best way to try your hand at painting in a relaxed, casual environment which also serves as your vacation as well!

Sign up now and give painting in our beautiful wilderness a try!  Bring your friends along!  Into The Brush will take you into the woods and on to the canvas back at the studio!

Plan #1:  One person attends the  Art Workshop and you either bring your spouse or a friend and they stay for free.  While you are at the classes they can go fishing, hiking, canoeing kayaking, or just sit and relax.

Regular $770 for a 4 nite/5 day stay  Now Only $699.00*

*(3% lodging tax in not included with the price that would be extra)

Plan #2:  Two people attend the Art Workshop.  When not in class you can enjoy fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking or just sit and relax.

Regular $1265 for a 4 nite/5 day stay  Now Only $999.00*

That would be only $499.50 each!

*(3% lodging tax in not included with the price that would be extra)

All materials and instruction provided.  Bring yourself and prepare to paint.

Call 1-800-280-1078 to book your program!

Read more about our exciting programming at 

Loons at Northwind Lodge Ely MN

Northwind Lodge Last Minute Getaways.

Escape to Northern Minnesota this summer!  Northwind Lodge is your place for families & friends.

We’re offering  special rates for cabin rentals beginning June 20th and ending July 8th. Contact us today to book your vacation while you still can at these GREAT rates!  218-265-5489

Cabins range in size from one bedroom up to 3 bedrooms. Fishing boat rentals are available.

Nightly rates starting as low as $95 per night for two.

Minimum 2 night stay is required.

Treetop Haus $95.00  (Reg. $133.00) for the first 2 people and $10 extra each additional person up to four total.

Cabin #4 $129.00 (Reg. $197.00) for the first  2 people and $10 extra each additional person up to four total.

Cabin #5 $119.00  (Reg. $169.00) for 2 people.

Cabin #7 $119.00 (Reg, 169.00) for the first  2 people and $10 extra each additional person up to four total.

Cabin #6 $139.95 (Reg $219.00) for the first  2 people and $10 extra each additional person up to four total.

Guest Haus $99.00 (Reg. $142.00) for the first  2 people and $10 extra each additional person up to four total.

The fish are biting, the water’s fine, the wilderness is clean!  Give us a call, now!


Only for new reservations starting June 20th 2017!

The Wood Lake Experience at Northwind Lodge

Wood Lake is a BWCA lake which means no motors, cans, bottles, and you have to fill out a day-use permit at the head of the portage.   The portage is moderately rugged and 210 rods long.  A rod is 16.5 feet according to the King’s measuring system of a zillion years ago.  Translation:  The Wood Lake Portage is about .58 miles long one way.  It’s all downhill going in and all downhill  uphill coming back.  There are rocks and mud and logs and on occasion, bug who help you walk.  Once you are on the lake and in a Northwind Lodge rowboat.  everything levels out plus the bugs usually stay on shore at the portage namely – to help you get back out.  If that sounds horrible, it’s really not.  Take your time.  Wear some bug dope but don’t slather it on automatically like so many people do.  Have it handy and if you need it, apply it while on the portage.

Once on Wood, you will need to follow a river with no current for about 3/4 of a mile to get to the actual lake to fish.  Wood can have some rather spectacular fishing.  On the lake itself, you will see no man made structures of any kind.  We’ve actually had a few people literally freak-out by this, but that is the actual beauty of the lake.  And for those Boundary Waters zealots who thank the government for the lack of man-made structure – Wood Lake has NEVER had a permanent, man-made structure on it.  We used to be able to use little motors on it but they took that away in 1978 under RARE II, (a last-minute rider to the Boundary Waters law PL 95-495) which was signed by Carter and designed to take Northwind Lodge & Deer Trail Lodge out completely -I am now convinced.  Well, guess what?  We’re still here….but I digress…

Fishing from a row-boat actually ended up with us traveling  much farther into Wood Lake which is 453 acres in size,  with no fear and a little bit of planning.   Back when we had motors, we used to have to watch our available gasoline and our range ended up being limited.   The thought at the time was that if we ran out of gas, we would have to do the “impossible” and row all the way back to the portage. (Impossible and a super-human feat, we thought!)   In 1978, we discovered that we could actually row much farther in a day than the motor would take us plus instead of cranking up and moving to the other side of the lake when biting was slow, we worked our current spots harder and branched out from there.  By changing our technique, we actually ended up catching more fish with less weight and extra concerns even when it was really rough.  We also learned a heck of a lot about boat handling in wind.  People who only use motors really don’t know a heck of a lot – no offense – in controlling a boat when the motor conks out.   (They are so screwed while bobbing helplessly in the whitecaps!)  Relying on that motor all the time, especially in a wilderness situation, can be a false sense of security.  Don’t misunderstand me, however.  I find nothing wrong with a motor on the back of a boat, but there is a heck of a lot to be said about having your oars and knowing your abilities.  With that in mind, go to Wood Lake and plan on spending the day, taking your time and fishing all along the way. Do not plan on “fishing here” and then decide to crank up and go to the other side of the lake to try it there.  Because you are rowing and moving slowly but steadily, you fish while you move and you never know what you may discover or catch along the way.  Without all the running around people do with outboards, you actually spend more time with your lines in the water which ultimately improves your catch.

So, consider taking a trip into the designated wilderness for a day when staying at Northwind Lodge.  It will be a memorable experience and sometimes cold and wet – but your won’t forget it.   NOTE:  Wood Lake rental boats are only available for registered guests of Northwind Lodge.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, beard, sunglasses, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, cloud, sky, outdoor, water and nature
Thanks to Rob and Jake Croushore for the great pics of their recent trip to Wood!

Current Bug Report

The Short Summary:  

No bugs to speak of here.  Sure, in the evenings we see some mosquitoes, but the black flies were here for about a week and now they are gone.   Might see a couple here and there, but I haven’t noticed much when mowing grass and that’s the time you really notice them.  No ticks in the past two weeks -none on the dogs, none on me.   No deer/horse flies – yet.  They are reserved for July and can vary widely.  Bugs are pretty much thinned out right now at Northwind Lodge.  Can that change?  Sure.  Will it change?  I doubt it.

The Long Summary – rife with opinion, sarcasm, and sardonic tone:

It seems that bugs capture the attention of everybody, these days.

There was a TON of terrifying information about future children being born with tiny heads (Summer 2016 and 24/7 Zika virus news reports).  Then, there was West Nile virus overtaking the entire city of New York and potentially slaughtering millions of unwary city dwellers, (the last 3 years 24/7 reports and worse than a nuke by far),  and this season, the advent of killer wood ticks who not only bite humans and spread Lyme’s disease with every, single, bite –  they’ve been known to eat small dogs and a few human babies in foreign lands!  Nothing survives the wood tick or the news, apparently.

So, like the extinct polar bears (still 25,000 in stock but one day it will happen in the next 1,000 to 10,000 years), and the hole in the ozone layer (disappearing but still a potential threat to all mankind within the next 1000 years…maybe) and Y2K (Remember that one? Many prepared for Armageddon with complete certainty and extra boxes of macaroni in the basement.)  Let’s throw this one in for good, panicky measure:  130+ years of mining right through copper-nickel bearing rocks to get to the iron ore and they were still able to make a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness because the waters  -with actual mining within that very watershed –  were so pristine.  How is that even possible??!!!

So, here we are today in bug-laden Minnesota with our metro-dwellers terrified by everything, or so it seems.  Minnesota Public Radio reporter Dan Kraker tweeted that somebody from the Twin Cities “had so many ticks on their tent”, that they were forced to leave the BWCA wilderness and head back to the much safer metro region.  Apparently, moving campsites was not an option.  So, while reticent to share my opinion, Kraker’s tweet of terror  – to people so terrified of bugs, did nothing at all to help tourism in Ely, MN.  I tweeted Kraker accordingly.  He did not respond.  Hmmmm.

And, now the US Forest Service has joined the game of terrorizing people.  Of the handful of paddlers who now stop into our store, over 50% of them ask about the bugs and namely ticks because of the dire warnings about death in the BWCA from wood ticks.  I swear they are trying their dead-level best to shut down the wilderness and Ely via “bug terror”.

A guy came into the shop the other day and wanted a frank discussion about “ticks” because he was literally terrified for his children who were also going on the trip.  The Forest Service had just told him to be really, really concerned with the almost certain arachnid death ahead.  I told him to forget about the ticks, and if they get a tick on them, pull it off with their fingers and rip its little head off or light it on fire – a particularly satisfying act and very fitting for ticks.  He stared at me on the verge of shock.  I was fearless in the face of publicly-accepted and imagined death.   I spend a good deal of my time in the outdoors working here in the woods which are EXACTLY  the same as the BWCA woods.  This despite zealots claiming that “angels with trumpets come out to greet you” when you set foot just over that infinitely small line that separates us from God’s country.  Same rocks, sticks and water on this side of the line.  No difference.  Bugs are the same, too.  No difference, whatsoever.  Fish?  Same, too.

I told the guy to go paddle and enjoy.  Stop worrying about the assured and certain death that would surely befall him if he sees a tick on his shirt.  I also told him that the black flies are “here and there” and not always out irritating people.  That was last week.

This week, (June 7th) there are three black flies out here at Northwind Lodge of which I just killed one yesterday – so two left.  I had a mosquito in my house this morning and I also killed her with relish – the females need your blood.  About 200 feet away, I saw a mosquito going by and a dragonfly ate him as well so there will be no baby skeeters to bother us from that couple who met their horrible, and somewhat punitive, demise.

Three weeks ago, I had a tick on my shin.  I ripped it off, and crushed it with my pliers which I always carry.  (Never know when I might need to crush another wood tick, so I’m always ready.)  My mom reported a tick on her about 10 days ago – she lit it up with a match.  My 85 year-old dad had a tick and broke its little neck about two weeks ago using just his thumbnail.  So, based on the timeline and the tick-talk, ticks are rampant.

I just came in from rebuilding a tiny little brush cutter carburetor – outside.  I started the machine and it ran brilliantly with a tiny bit of my tuning of the jets. Now it idles and cranks up with commanding torque.  Brush beware.  Incidentally, I was working outside with tiny bolts and screws wearing NO insect repellent, a short sleeve t-shirt and devil-may-care attitude.  I survived with NO bugs whatsoever!!!!  It’s June 7th!  According to the US Forest Service permit issuers and Minnesota Public Radio, instead of a delightful time twisting in brass-plated bolts, I should have been floating above my prone, lifeless body looking down upon my former mortal self while planning my next adventure inside the Great Beyond.

So, in summary, how are we who live and work here making it?  Plus, we are not afraid of anything despite the government warnings, the signs, and maybe a computer model somewhere with predictions of a tick plague.  I’m also pretty sure there is a grant and a study involved as well.  There’s always somebody making money from selling fear.

Nonetheless, for the rest of you daredevils, come on up and take your chances! The proverbial (and literal) water is quite fine!

The bug reports from various areas are reporting back “not very bad at all”.  Sure, you may experience and “off the charts” moment on occasion, but you need not go running home to Mom on your first tick sighting should you  actually manage to find one.  Besides, I think we killed all four of them here at Northwind Lodge

Ely’s 1st Boundary Waters Artfitter

You heard it right here,  folks!   Northwind Lodge is the first Boundary Waters Artfitter in the Ely, MN region.  Art lessons in the wilderness full of beautiful things waiting right here for you to enjoy?

You also get time to relax, fish, sit by the beach, and just be.  You and your friends can make a 6 day adventure an annual event.


Into The Brush Logo

Not only can you come up and stay at a really nice resort in housekeeping cabins near the Boundary Waters, you can enroll in the art program sponsored by Into The Brush right at Northwind Lodge!

When you take this “art vacation” at Northwind Lodge,  it is completely “artfitted” meaning that your art materials are all provided as well as a guide who takes you into the brush and helps you observe beautiful wild things artistically for a few hours.  Then, follow your guide back inside to the art studio where you learn to paint what you saw and get “into the brush”.  It’s tons of fun and when your adventure is complete, you will take home with you a new skill set and the confidence to get “into the brush” at home.  So, after being artfitted at Northwind Lodge, you can take home more than just some really great memories.  You take home exposure and skills.

How about this possibility?  You want to paint but your spouse is into fishing?  The way we structured our artfitting, you can take the program and the spouse can go out on this pretty lake we call Jasper in search of some really nice bass, bluegills, northern pike and walleyes.   It’s a win-win for you both!

Here’s are some of the things we paint:
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings at Northwind Lodge
This is a moose on canvas.  We strive to
get you to this level but it may take a few tries.
Never give up!
Moose on canvas
You also will be painting on wood
and on glass:
Glass Painting at Ely's Artfitter Northwind Lodge
These are some examples of what you can expect to be doing with Into The Brush 6 day programs.  Don’t even think for a minute that you cannot do this and think of the fun you’ll have when you return home! Plenty of time to practice and perfect your technique!

So, why not give us a call and book your Art Vacation, right now?  1-800-280-1078.  You can also email us at

For reasonable rates that include all your gear and discounted cabin rates, Click Here


Srping Snow at Northwind Lodge Ely mn

Where did Spring go?

The robins are running around asking the same question.  Northern Minnesota at its finest. Snow will not stop us from getting the resort ready for opening on May 13th.  Spring cleaning is starting next week.  Have no worries everything will be done!

Srping Snow at Northwind Lodge Ely mn

On a positive note the lake is open and opening fishing starts the same day.  You need to come up and do a little fishing and then relax to the sounds of Jasper Creek and the singing loons.

Jasper Creek in April Snow Storm

Have your reservation already…great!  If not, call us today to make yours at 218-365-5489.  Share with your friends and spread the word!

Spring is in the Air – the birds are cheepin’- the ground is still frozen

We are now in the “mud season” of the five seasons of the year.  Fortunately, it has been a bit dry.  Unfortunately, the ground is still frozen all over the place and here is the proof:

About 125 feet away from our permafrost.  We have this:

As soon as the ground thaws we’re firing up the hammers, saws, skidsteer and more for our guests!  The docks are in, logs from last summer’s massive blowdown on our beautiful beach waiting to be picked up and we are only weeks away from putting the finishing touches on this season’s new adventure.  Stay tuned for more updates.