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.