Thanks to Lauren Johnson and family for these cool candid pics of a week at Northwind Lodge. I’m guessing they had a great week.
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.
Our first weekend with lodge guests went by beautifully. We had sunny blue days, temps in the high 60’s, low 70’s and everybody was hiding somewhere. Well, hiding is perhaps the incorrect word but one party was fishing from their kayaks on neighboring Triangle, another took their canoe on a day canoe trip from Lake One to Ojibway and another spent their days fishing on Jasper. Sounds like everybody caught fish, too. Usually, when the days are this beautiful, fish are less cooperative. Apparently, the fish are fed up with quarantine as well.
Two of our our groups stopped in to see my growing, but un-hung art collection. That’s always fun for me. Many paintings have stories and while socially distancing, I waved my arms, pointed and told a few. It’s a bohunk thing.
I spent a good part of the time painting and figuratively “guarding the fort”. It’s insanely quiet so I’ve been able to get a long way on a whimsical landscape I working on right now. It’s almost done. Then, it’s back to a larger commission for which I developed painter’s block. Going whimsical/abstract-ish, helps me break out of the creativity killing fog that sets in once in a while.
For those of you sick and tired of watching and waiting with this China plague, if you are healthy, you can come out and play in the woods. Please practice social distancing when in the presence of people outside of your group. (yes – we know, we don’t like it either but it’s ridiculously easy here) Stay in a nice housekeeping cabin for ONLY $89.95 for the first 2 people and $10 each additional person. That’s for any cabin! (We try to fit it to your needs and size. Taxes not included. Total 9.875% Three night minimum rental required.) These rates apply THROUGH May 26. We still have openings and we’re a Mom & Pop resort, not a gargantuan center on a highly populated lake. We are surrounded by the BWCA. Bring your canoe. Go take a day trip. Hang out on Jasper. Roast a steak on the Weber. Live the simple life in the woods. Come look at art.
Give us a call. It’ll most likely be me answering. If I’m not in, please leave a message. We’ll call back. 218-365-5489
Resort sponsored activities are planned for
Tuesday through Thursday each week.
During select weeks at Northwind Lodge, join us for our weekly activities. To see when they begin, please visit our activities calendar (Click Here)
The Activities Low Down
Get your creative juices going by taking a painting class during your stay. Classes are scheduled for Tuesday evenings. Also, depending on schedule availability, classes can be held at other times and for private groups. We paint rocks and Christmas ornaments in the two-hour sessions. Other longer classes and programming is available at different price rates as well. For more information about our regular art programming options, please visit intothebrush.org our non-profit art education organization.
It’s S’mores time, come to the fire ring by Jasper Creek Falls to enjoy an evening sitting around the campfire. Bring your s’more components. Wiener sticks – the whittled kind – are provided.
NEW – Thursday Potluck
New for 2020! Potluck Dinner on Thursday evening! Get to know some of the guests at the lodge and join us for dinner! Bring a dish, bring dessert, bring yourself. Dress is casual, conversation entertaining, dining is outside.
What a fun way to get together to greet and eat! Joe will be cooking as well. Who knows? It may be gastronomical adventure! That’s why “luck” is part of the word used to describe it!
Call 1-800-280-1078 or Message Us in Facebook (Click Here): Northwind Lodge
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.
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
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
Pronounced: gee’ oh cashing
the recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website.
Get your cell phone or GPS, pick a cache that somebody hid somewhere and go find it. It’s like a treasure hunt where you search for the treasure but leave it behind for someone else to locate. Some are easy, others more difficult to locate. Once you find the cache, you sign the log book and mark it down in you phone’s log. There is more information on the site
Never did this before? Here’s a quick video on how it is done:
Here are a few Geocache sites for the Ely, MN area.
It’s a great way to spend and afternoon when you aren’t fishing or hanging out at the beach.