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!

Minnesota Getaway Vacations – Look where you can hide for a week!

When you want to bug out of Dodge for a week, why not come hide among the trees and along a pretty northwoods lake just five miles south of the border?  Northwind Lodge is a Minnesota Family Resort and perfect for YOUR family!  Housekeeping cabins tucked away at this simple resort make this the perfect, easy-access, resort away from the crowds.  You need to come here and decompress!

Watch this short video with our Cabin Layout.  Note that I forgot Cabin 6 in the layout – dang it, anyway!  It is just below the Into The Brush Studio on your screen with a car parked next to it.

Come Stay, Come See – Pack it all in?

I have to laugh a little.  The world, under digital “assault” and influence has become a bit silly in how it seeks recreation these days.  I’m referencing the “need everything/do everything that-can-be-fit-into-a-day” crowd who kindly call to find out more about making a reservation to stay here at Northwind Lodge.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about anything but I am marveling at what appears to me to be either a really high set of vacation expectations or a complete lack of common sense or a little of both.

We get calls from new guests who want to stay here at the lodge.  Many times, they are only willing to commit for two nights.  That’s fine – we are very happy to get them here to see what they’ve been missing for all this time.  But, in the reservation process, with knowing that Check In is usually 3:00 PM or later and Check-Out is 9 AM, two nights and about two days is not a lot of time.  Heck, you just get here and it’s time to go already.  (We hear that all the time.)

The interesting part is the initial phase of making the reservation.  Now everything is laid out in the website as to available activities here.  Nonetheless, I think they just need to hear a human say the activities roster on the phone.  As a result, they want to know what species of fish are in Jasper Lake (Large/smallmouth bass, sunfish, northerns, perch and some walleyes) plus they want to know what they are biting on (three weeks into the future – OK, we’ll guess), and if they will be catching fish (another guess – Most Certainly, Sir! – 6 to 10 hours).

Then, many need to know what the hiking options are (Blackstone/Secret Trail – 3 hours, Kawishiwi Falls Trail 1 -hour, Bass Lake Trail 3-hours) and how difficult/easy they are.  Then, they want to know what there is to do in Ely (Wolf Center – 3 hours, Bear Center- 3 hours, shopping in Ely – 3 hours).  Then they need to know what dining options there are in town (Italian – Sir G’s, Nouveau – Insula, Chocolate Moose,  American-Evergreen Restaurant, Rockwood, Steak House Gators Cheese Emporium,  Fast – Dairy Queen, Subway, and a few others I’m forgetting here.  Each restaurant will burn up about 2-3 hours of time.

After that, they need to know if they can fit in a Boundary Waters Day Canoe trip to an area that will have few people (Sure, how fast can you paddle?).  That’s another 6 hours minimum.  Many times, they will need us to rattle off all the entry points (Moose Lake, Snowbank Lake, Lake One, Ojibway Lake, Fall Lake, Wood Lake) that surround us for their consideration before deciding to pull the trigger on a two-night stay here at the lodge.

OK, at this point, knowing that it is two whole nights and about the equivalent of two daylight days, you may want to do the math and add up some of the hours.   Usually after that barrage of questions in making time-management decisions, we see people checking in, going to town to have dinner, and oversleeping the following morning by about 2 hours.  At about 11 AM, they are up and around saying they “usually don’t oversleep like this at home”.   Then, some head down to the lake and sit in the Adirondack chairs and look out across the water.  Others head out in a kayak and enjoy the day.  Then, they come in for a sandwich and later, check out our store and then take a nap.  Then, maybe a hike on the gravel road to Ojibway Lake and it’s time to grill a steak and have a beer or glass of wine.  Then a nap before bedtime.  Maybe sit by a fire at the beach.

After that, they wake up the next morning and have to check out at 9 AM.

I grew up right here and for 48 years have observed this going on for all these years.  In my opinion, two nights at a region like this is  great, but doesn’t quite hit the mark for the vast majority of vacationers.  In pre-trip decision making,  one needs to realize that in fresh air surrounded by the incredibly beautiful area called “Ely” and particularly at Northwind Lodge, the activity list usually gets chucked and time speeds up, even in a week long stay.

So, in making plans to run all over the state in a week-long whirlwind tour, give that some thought.  It’s not Wally World and Youtube and in reality,  you most likely won’t be getting a heck of a lot done in just two nights.

Stay a bit longer, plan on wasting a few of  your days snoring.  Then go paddle and hike and fish and shop and explore.

rustic rental cabin on island

Island Adventure

rustic rental cabin on island

This is an excerpt from a post from Life on a Minnesota Resort which is our “story blog” about living and working for a lifetime on a resort near Ely Minnesota.  If you’d like to read more about staying at our rustic Island Cabin, please follow the link below.

For year after year, this couple stayed on the Island in the small cabin that my dad built in 1962.  It was to be his summer home and for years we called it “the shack”.  It’s a nice little cabin and when I was a kid, we spent many weekends out there in the winter, ice fishing on Jasper, flying kites in the winds of March and being really hot with that old wood stove that would almost drive us out even at -35 F below zero.  When we stayed there with no electricity or running water, our entertainment was whatever old magazines we had to read in the din of the gas lights.  We also had an old, black,  massive, battery-powered,  radio we had that pulled in shortwave broadcasts and AM signals from around the world.  There were hardly any…..Read More

 

Ely MN Resorts and Rental Cabins the old fashioned way

Staying in a nice cozy cabin in the northwoods of Minnesota on a lake, away from crowds, noise and pollution.   Breathe in that fresh, northern Minnesota air the morning after you’ve slept like a log all night long.  I just heard on Saturday one of our short-stay cabin guests regretted that their schedule would not permit them to stay for a longer duration.  They were in rental Cabin #5 and slept like a stone.  They were even a little late getting out the door because I think they were somewhat reluctant to leave.  The guy REALLY liked that cabin with the view and the knotty pine.

I grew up in the resort business right here at Jasper Lake Resort.  In 1982 we renamed it Northwind Lodge as it has been called for 33 years now.  From my earliest days to the present, the resort business has been a major, all consuming of my life.  As a kid, I grew up with a new batch of people living on our property every Saturday.  They were from Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and from as far away as New York City and Los Angeles, California and all other places in between.  I traveled the world through the eyes and words of our guests.  I heard funny stories, terrible tragedies, and life lessons that stuck with me to this day.   In exchange, we traded tales back with stories of bears and hippies and crazy things we’d seen on the portages and lakes surrounding Northwind Lodge .  There were guests that I hoped would come back because they were just plain fun when they were on vacation here.  The Kaufman clan from Bensonville, Illinois, the Dundek family from Oak Lawn, the Kusynskis from Hickory Hills, the Edwards from Indianapolis, The Freyfogles from Urbana, the Webbs from Racine,  the Niskas from Mountain Iron, the Walkers from Iowa,  are only a few of the many who made “work” not seem like “work”.  Over the years, I’ve concluded that being a resorter is not really a job.  It’s more of a lifestyle and every week, we get to see the extended family come and go.   As a kid, we really got attached to many of our guests and waving goodbye on Saturday was usually a very sad moment.  But there was never much time to lick wounds and be bummed because a new batch friends and family would be arriving at 3 PM and new week would again begin.

We had then, and still have now, a vast majority our customers to Northwind Lodge who call their cabin “home” for a week or two each summer.  A large percentage of our cherished guests have been staying here at Northwind Lodge for three generations spanning 30-50+ years!    Many of our guests also stay in the same cabins for literally decades.  What is really enjoyable is when an entire full house of guests all know each other and can’t wait to get together for another year.  They all know each other and go fishing together, sometimes watch each others grand kids. (Many third gen’s here), go out to dinner or just sit down by a campfire at the beach.  It’s then like a small, quiet neighborhood.  The nice part is that everybody comes, goes, and participates at will with no obligations and they all seem to have a good time.

Still today, we do cabin rentals at Ely MN the old-fashioned way.  We rent the cabins and our guests entertain themselves by doing those resort things like hanging out at the beach, reading a real paper book, going fishing and swimming, going to town for an evening out, taking day canoe trips into the BWCA and returning back to their cabins.  The one ultra-modern thing we have at Northwind Lodge is WIFI in all the cabins.  We fought it for years, but unfortunately, the “new” people coming in have “issues” if they can’t be “connected” all the time. (Yes – I’m being a bit dismissive in my comments about being connected all the time.  Take a break – you’ll live, literally.  Maybe, don’t let your time here slip by, but, if that floats your boat….)  Well, they can now remain “connected” because we have WIFI all over the main resort.  One of our guests is an IT guy and he worked his magic.   I’m still hoping that the computer-addicted will  fight the urge to stay in the cabin all day doing mindless facebooking and surfing when they could be in kayaks and on stand-up-paddle boards instead.   I can understand if they need to get online for work or to contact family or make a telephone call through Gmail.  But in my humble opinion, no one should let the week slip by staring at that digital demon when there is a beautiful lake just out the door.   Everybody can already do that at home.   When in the woods, be in the woods.  It’s an experience that is very hard to find in any metro areas.

Since I grew up here, I already know that it is beautiful especially with the creek going through the yard and access to the lake in about 90 seconds or less from all the rental cabins here at the lodge, but I’m used to it.   What really brings me out of my somewhat jaded view is hearing it from our guests.   This year in particular, I’ve heard “how beautiful it is here” many, many times.  When I hear that, I always wonder what it must be like where they are from.  My guess is that their backyard is also beautiful but in another way, perhaps.  Obviously, what makes it so special here is the pristine nature of the place.  We’ve been here for 76 years now with 71 of those years as a licensed resort.  Everything that was here then is still here now along with the traditions, memories and experiences of our many wonderful guests and friends.

You ought to give us a try, as well.  Two nights is our minimum stay requirement and it is really not enough time to let it all sink in.  Instead of packing in an extra Vegas trip where you can relax with hundreds of others sitting by a pool while getting annoyed by someone who may have imbibed a bit too much or on a cruise where you can stand in line waiting for food that someone sneezed on,  maybe come to the north woods and prepare to be blown away by the lack of people.  We also have a lack of street lights, timberwolves that howl in the distance, bears that occasionally snort around the cabins and loons who call all night long just to make sure you know they are still there.   (It was only in recent years that I suddenly realized that some of our guests are freaked out by the lack of street lights. Sorry, we are never adding street lights, ever.  Get a flashlight and suck it up!)     I cannot emphasize enough what it is like to wake up on a sunny or rainy morning in a cabin tucked away in the northwoods of Minnesota.  In fact, it’s hard to accurately describe.  One needs to experience it in person to actually understand it.  It will make you regret the end of your stay so enjoy it while you can and get a calendar.  Most of our returning guest “X” off the days like a prison sentence until the day they are released and can get back to their rental cabin at Northwind Lodge.