Weekend in Review – 4th of July, 2020 – What you missed

Well, despite the less-than-savory news outside of the wilderness bubble in which we are fortunate to live, Northwind Lodge guests appeared to have had a GREAT time social distancing with family and friends.

They caught a bunch of fish in Jasper.  The Rust/Ramsland party in Cabin 6 reported nice-sized largemouth bass caught on weedless worms that we stock in the Fernberg Gallery (weird, I know…but good tackle is like art!)  Cabin #2, the Smith family also caught fish, ate fish, disappeared with their canoe for a day and took painting classes when they weren’t outside having fun.   I didn’t even see Cabin #8 for the entire weekend.  Same with Cabin #3 with the exception of them coming in to see about checkout today.  They wanted to go for one last, Jasper Lake kayak ride on this beautiful morning after our first major rain in months.  They are somewhere out there right now.   TreeTopHaus is still here until tomorrow and I haven’t seen them since yesterday morning.   For several days, the air smelled like pine needles, clean water and mouthwatering barbecue.  Yeah, it was really miserable here with the loons flying overhead calling.

I always conclude our guests are having a good time when we don’t see them for long periods and they check out at the last possible second.  The last thing I want to see are guests chomping on the bit to leave.   They rarely, if ever, seem to do that.

Art lessons with me are pretty hot right now.  I only teach related groups due to China virus  these days, but it seems to be working well.  Six, micro art lessons (2-hours) in four days was a lot of fun and many people took home a rock that they painted as a souvenir and inspiration to pursue painting.   I’m going to have to take another run to Lake Superior for more rocks!  Darn….

In other news, Ely held what could be defined as an almost impromptu (and greatest) Patriotic March on the 4th of July.  I attended as a member of my organization, Fight For Mining Minnesota.  We brought along my painted canoe that, when not being dragged around in patriotic marches, otherwise reside inside the Fernberg Gallery as a large historical display.  A handful of patriotic renegades in Ely cobbled together a parade that was probably the best I have ever seen.  They extended the route for social distancing purposes, worked with the Ely Police Department and City of Ely, acquired the permits, and even arranged insurance via a quick, really-successful, fundraiser.

It was about 92 degrees F, as I walked the route handing out “Iron Range Proud” yard signs along with two young and very motivated helpers.  Ahead of me were logging trucks, fire engines, classic cars, old jeeps, American flags and blue stripes to support law enforcement officers.  The wildly popular, Ely Klown Band played brashly and slightly out of tune to the beat of rattling, pounding drums.  There were heavily decorated ATV’s, side-by-sides, heavy-equipment trucks with Fight For Mining Minnesota banners, more Jeeps, motorcycles, someone with a really huge, old, twin-screw boat on a trailer that I was told was worth over “a hundred grand”, and on and on.  There were “Iron Range Proud” signs for as far as the eye could see plus we handed out another 250 of them to whoever wanted one.   Our Congressman Pete Stauber was there with a trailer and looked me up in the lineup to say “hi”.  As he shook his head in amazement, he said “Ely is going to be put on the map for this one”.  We were both in awe of the spectacle.  It was stunning.  There were Trump/Pence signs from one end to the other for as far as the eye could see.  No other signs were present.  None…

As I walked the street handing out signs next to my canoe (Greg & Jane Mosher pulling the trailer with their SUV in air-conditioned comfort), I got to an area where there were so many people yelling my name for signs and just to give me a thumbs-up, I didn’t know which way to look/turn/run next.   It was pretty crazy and lots of fun!

Then, there was Zup’s market.  I swear Jimmy Zupancich is one of Ely’s most creative business owners.  As per usual, they were almost shoveling candy with snow shovels out to the socially-distanced crowds.   Spectator kids were standing with buckets full of cavity forming goodness.  It was a sea of Tootsie Rolls and a wide variety of other sweets.  They were also tossing what looked to be packages of cookies, and all sorts of toys and potato chips.  As we approached the end of route, a Zup’s, un-decorated, windowless van, suspiciously squeezed off from an avenue into the parade line right behind me as I sat on the back of the trailer.  When it straightened out on the road, the side doors were FLUNG open.  I could have sworn I heard someone yell in a thick, Spanish accent “Say ‘Hello!’ to my little friend!”.  The innocent, unsuspecting bystanders were unmercifully pelted with even more bags of chips, plastic toys, toothbrushes (?) and cookies.  Jim Zupancich, Sr. was sitting white-haired in the passenger seat laughing his head off.

But the pièce de résistance was the funniest part of the parade:  Toilet paper.  Zup’s had a huge trailer full of toilet paper and was tossing rolls to the crowds.  I’ve never seen people holding toilet paper while standing on the side walks before.  This week’s Ely Echo is going to be pretty fun, I’m sure.

As the parade approached its end near Whiteside park, we had run out of Iron Range Proud signs.   Me and the little red-cheeked kid sat on the trailer until Mort Tome was seen standing on the north curb with a garden hose.  The kid and his sister (Mike Banovetz’ grandson and granddaughter), both stopped off to get hosed down in the street with cool water by Mort.   Towering Mort laughed in his usual, bellicose manner, the soaking wet kid thanked him and hopped back on the trailer. It’s little things like that which add life to any painting or story.

All this activity was officiated with  two USAF  F-16’s blasting low and westward down Sheridan Street (Steve Saari organized that) and ended in a raucous fireworks display on over Miners Lake later that evening.

It was great to “feel American” again.

You missed this year’s Ely parade.  Doesn’t mean you have to miss staying in the woods for a vacation in northern Minnesota.  We’re very proud to be Americans up here in Ely.

Painting Cool Art – in the Woods near Ely

From what I can see, there are not too many resorts in NE Minnesota who have a resident artist on staff who teaches painting lessons.  I’m not trying to toot my own horn here so much as point out what really makes Northwind Lodge a different northwoods experience than all the rest.  We are the only resort where our guests get to go fishing, paddling, and play outside in real wilderness with the option to  visit an art gallery and take art lessons – all just steps from one’s cabin.   Heck, you can even commission  a painting to be done, here.   That’s definitely not “in the ordinary” among “ma & pa” resorts.

So, think about this:  Your family comes up and avoids the crowds.

Go fishing.  Take a kayak out.  Sit outside the cabin and listen to the birds.  Take an art lesson with only your family members.  Barbecue.  Sit by a fire at the beach in the evening. (RULE:  Last one who leaves is responsible for putting it out dead with water – we don’t need a forest fire).  Go back to your cabin.   Avoid petting any bear in the dark.  Sleep like a log.  Ignore the outside-world insanity.  Take advantage of our variable internet connection and ignore the internet.   It’s win-win.

Most recent art lessons at Northwind Lodge.

 

 

Call to reserve your cabin at Northwind Lodge, 15 miles NE of Ely, MN.  We’re 5 miles south of the border and surrounded by the Boundary Waters park on three sides.  We’re easy to get to and enjoy.

218-365-5489

For painting-specific programming we offer, visit our education site:  intothebrush.org

Jasper Lake Near Ely MN - cabin rentals near Ely, MN

May & Memorial Weekend Special – NEW! Personal Shoppers!

We all need a break from Covid-19.    While we all struggle with getting back to normal, we do have an advantage out here in the woods.  Unlike every metro, or big commercial operation, we are not an overdeveloped facility with large numbers of people moving around, big meeting rooms, etc.   Social distancing is very easy.  If you don’t have mask on when you leave your cabin, nobody’s going to shame you if you even see anybody.  That’s the nature of living in the woods when the closest cabin is 100 feet away through the woods.

Jasper Creek in early May with Cabin 3 in the background
Jasper Creek in early May with Cabin 3 in the background – at Northwind Lodge

Our guests arrive to relax and enjoy themselves here at  Northwind Lodge, a traditional, “ma & pa”  Minnesota resort.  I was once told by a MN state official that small resorts are a dying breed and our relevance was fading as to our importance in tourism.  I wish I could find that dude now.  I wonder how his big convention centers on over-populated lakes with a spas, restaurants, and golf courses are doing right now?   Sorry,  but after that insult to our type of lodging experience for many years by people who were supposed to be helping, I feel the need to rub this new truth into his face just a bit.  Don’t worry, I’m working through it….

New for 2020 – Personal Shoppers!  

If you feel you don’t want to go shopping, we can do that for you.  Put together a list, work with us over the phone or email, and for a cost 10% of  your bill at the grocery store, we’ll get your groceries for you.    (If your total bill is $200, your Personal Shopper cost is $20)  We have good groceries in Ely with two stores available.  We’ll put them in your cabin fridge for you.  If you need an item that you forgot from your main grocery list,  (if you can wait a bit) we’ll take a run to town for you at our earliest convenience if we don’t have the item here.  Hey, gas is cheap and we want you to have a good time.  Just know that this is Ely and we may not have hydroponically-grown arugula and radicchio.  You might have to settle for romaine.   Once you get here, you can be on your own, enjoying your exotic salad and listening to the loons.  They have been here for about two weeks at this writing. Yes, they are noisy right now as you would expect to hear from a jaded dweller of the north woods who is writing this blog post.  Every day at Northwind Lodge is like watching a Tarzan movie, whereupon deep in the jungles of Africa, a hired loon from northeastern Minnesota is calling hauntingly in the background just before the drums begin their chant of danger.   Cue the loon!  (That loon looks silly with all that bling and those blue sunglasses he wears inside all the time…and, what’s with that five pound wristwatch, anyway!?  Actors….SMH…)

Jasper Lake at Northwind Lodge, May 2020
Note the clarity of the water here in NE Minnesota.

So, let’s get back to normal together.

We know times are tough on many fronts for all of us.  We are feeling it all too well.   But Northwind Lodge is here for you to provide an escape that won’t break your bank account while giving you some respite from the new, untamed, wilderness out there.  We’ve been doing this since 1944 officially and actually a bit earlier than that.  That’s 76 years, now!  How many places do you know have been around for 76 years and run by the same family in the same spot on the same lake?  Apparently, we are NOT fading away.

Beginning May 11th through May 26th – Rate special!

Cabins for 2 people at only $89.95 a night.   Three (3) night minimum stay requirement, and $10.00 per night for each extra per person.     Personal Shopper fee is 10% of your grocery list bill.  Of course, should you have a question about any of this, give us a call or message us in Facebook under our “Northwind Lodge” page

Our intention is to help get back us all back to normal so you can buy your own beans & weenies – not that we mind one bit.   We’d love to have you come stay.  Our only request is that you minimize your human contact on the way here and, of course,  please stay home if you are ill.  If you have a mask and want to wear it, please do.   Please bring your own bath towels, personal effects and fishing gear.  We do have some tackle here for sale.  Motors are available for rent on request.  Kayaks and beach canoes are free to use.  Have a fire by the beach or waterfall but give everybody some space.  It’s pretty much common sense for the times.  Campfire conversation from 6 feet away is optional and doesn’t spread anything but maybe some humor and good cheer.

The deposit required is $300 or the cabin total, which ever is less at the time of the reservation.  Sorry, but we cannot refund deposits for any reason.  Please be able to commit to the time you have reserved.  Thank you for understanding.

Call now 218-365-5489 to book your respite at Northwind Lodge. (you may need to leave a message – we’re running around outside, in and out.  We’ll call you back.)

Jasper Lake from Northiwnd Lodge
Deep blue water, no people.

 

Winter Wilderness Art Retreats

Winter is breathtaking in the Ely, MN area! It is less crowded and you have the freedom to move about as you like and at your own pace! Come up and stay just 5 miles south of the border for a Wilderness Art Retreat at Northwind Lodge! It’s a great way to explore your creative side either by yourself or with small group of friends or family. It is Art Classes and Vacation all wrapped into one unique experience at Northwind Lodge.

ely mn moose

Our forests are covered in white and our frozen lakes are your invitation to explore your creative side in art. Listen to the quiet. Howl for wolves at night. Then, let the thrill of wilderness living be your guide during Into The Brush art session! After classes, round out your vacation by doing outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, visiting the Fernberg Gallery (on premises), going to town (watch for wolves) or just relaxing. The entire experience is fun and and something you probably don’t do all the time at home. Plus, we are only about 4.5 hours from the Twin Cities (for perspective)!

The retreats are held all winter Northwind Lodge located 15 miles northeast of Ely, MN, 2267 Fernberg Rd.   The 2-Day Program includes: 8 hours of instruction, all painting supplies, after-class independent painting time if desired.  Meals not included.  Class participants may want to bring snacks but can also return to their apartment very easily. Basic kitchen facilities provided in the apartment.

Apartment Housekeeping Unit – Comfortable, housekeeping, apartment-style unit with private driveway and entrance.  Sleeps up to 4 in two bedrooms. One double bed in one bedroom, One double and one twin bed in the second bedroom. Located about 150 feet from the art studio building.  This unit comes with satellite TV, gas range, refrigerator, microwave, basic cooking and eating utensils, bathroom with shower, toilet and lavatory.  Bedding is provided.   Please bring your own towels.   Many of our guests request this rental year after year.

 

This 4 day/3 night Art Wilderness Art Retreat is only: $499.00* for up to the first 2 people*

*and $100.00 extra per person up 4 people

*Plus MN sales tax (6.875%) and local lodging tax (3%)

Call now for availability. Dec 13th 2019

1-218-265-5489 or 1-800-280-1078

Retreat Instructor
Joe Baltich will be your instructor. He is an accomplished, commissioned artist proficient in acrylics. For a quick sampling of his works of the past 3 years, please visit instagram.com/joebaltich. For more details and other art programming for summer, please visit intothebrush.org.

For more on our Fernberg Gallery, visit: Fernberggallery.com

 

Fernberg Gallery at Northwind Lodge is Underway!

Artwork is hitting the walls in Ely’s newest,- the Fernberg Road’s only, Art Gallery!   We just hung the Ensley watercolors and are waiting for photography to come in!  Other artist’s works will be displayed as well.  It’s an exciting new addition and venture for us at Northwind Lodge.  Art is always fun!

Check out the new Fernberg Gallery Website:  Fernberg Gallery

Fernberg Gallery Logo
Image may contain: indoor
Nancy Ensley original watercolors ( 4 matted and framed)