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  1. #1
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    Default Minnesota (or nearby) vacation

    Midwesterners (and others) - we need to head to Minneapolis next week and want to tack on a few days/week for vacation. Not familiar at all with that area of the country. Any recommendations on a luxury resort or very scenic, unique, or charming places to go near there (within a four or five hour drive)?


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  2. #2
    ahisma is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbert View Post
    Midwesterners (and others) - we need to head to Minneapolis next week and want to tack on a few days/week for vacation. Not familiar at all with that area of the country. Any recommendations on a luxury resort or very scenic, unique, or charming places to go near there (within a four or five hour drive)?


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    Stillwater? Duluth? I'm not sure what you're after with a luxury resort - I love the area, but most of what I know there is pretty outdoor-focused.

  3. #3
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    We have family in that area and love to go to Ellsworth for the best cheese! https://www.ellsworthcheese.com/
    Allison

    DD1 11/05
    DS 04/08
    DD2 11/11

  4. #4
    erosenst is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Check out Madden's in Brainerd or Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. You may be able to get midweek, last minute reservations. Both fall into charming/unique/scenic rather than luxury....

  5. #5
    wallawala is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default MN travel ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by elbert View Post
    Midwesterners (and others) - we need to head to Minneapolis next week and want to tack on a few days/week for vacation. Not familiar at all with that area of the country. Any recommendations on a luxury resort or very scenic, unique, or charming places to go near there (within a four or five hour drive)? [/url]
    Ely:
    Home of polar explorers Paul Schurke and Will Steger (check out the 1976 cover of time magazine...)
    Stay at Grand Ely Lodge. Some rooms pet friendly. Has restaurant, indoor pool and gameroom on site. On a lake with fishing poles, kayaks and motorized boats (to rent)
    Eat at Chocolate Moose, Insula (chic), Ely Steakhouse (looks old school but holy cow steaks)
    Watch movies at the State Theater (on the historic register) for $5
    Lots of outdoorsy places to shop including local Piragis and their 40% outlet, Wintergreen (crafted all the clothing for the polar expedition, previously owned by Paul Schurke's wife), the original Steger Mukluks for the polar expedition are available at the factory by appointment only (the store in town is currently closed due to lack of staff). These are hand cut/sown locally by the ex-wife of Will Steger - these were the exact design worn on famous polar trip and many since.
    The Wintergreen dogsled resort is amazeballs to stay at in the winter, not sure if they have any summer offerings. Run by Paul Schurke, and the chance to hear his stories from many adventures if you stay in the main lodge is priceless.

    If you are driving from Minneapolis, as you pass through Cloquet there is a functioning gas station designed by Frank Llyod Wright, and a few blocks further up Gordy's High Hat Grill is a great stopping point for lunch. Fenced dog area, lots of bathrooms, and killer blackberry shakes. Onion rings there are MASSIVE.

    Duluth:
    Stay in Canal Park. Walk around lake superior. Head up to any of the state parks for hiking, but Tettagouche is a favorite. Tour Split Rock lighthouse.
    MUST eat at Northern Waters smokehouse or at least get takeout sandwhiches and smoked fish. Duluth Pack is fun locally crafted leather and canvas bags that is a must do. We always get woodfired pizza at Vitta. Very fast, fun and short walk from canal park hotels (Entire Canal park is very walkable if kids are 8+). Vikre spirts is epic and fun to pick up goods to take home/up to North Shore. New Senic Cafe (just north of Duluth on Old Senic Hwy) is an epic farm to table place. Get the "Tuna Tacos" if they have them (tuna sushi with fried wanton wrapper for "taco shell"). If you head north of Duluth up along the North shore... don't miss Betty's Pies (a restaurant famous for pies, obvs) and we always stop at Lou's Fish House (looks like an abandoned old motel) in Two Harbors for (more) smoked fish.


    Itasca State Park is the official start of the great Mississippi river. Haven't been, but it's another don't miss MN option

  6. #6
    wallawala is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Can give a few more North Shore can't miss fun stuff if you think you are going that route.

    If you want the name of the best fishing guide in Minneapolis, happy to share. My DD is on his webpage with her bass she caught on Lake Minnetonka. He's not cheap, but worth it and supplies everything. Books way in advance.

  7. #7
    elbenn is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallawala View Post
    Ely:
    Duluth:
    Stay in Canal Park. Walk around lake superior. Head up to any of the state parks for hiking, but Tettagouche is a favorite. Tour Split Rock lighthouse.
    MUST eat at Northern Waters smokehouse or at least get takeout sandwhiches and smoked fish. Duluth Pack is fun locally crafted leather and canvas bags that is a must do. We always get woodfired pizza at Vitta. Very fast, fun and short walk from canal park hotels (Entire Canal park is very walkable if kids are 8+). Vikre spirts is epic and fun to pick up goods to take home/up to North Shore. New Senic Cafe (just north of Duluth on Old Senic Hwy) is an epic farm to table place. Get the "Tuna Tacos" if they have them (tuna sushi with fried wanton wrapper for "taco shell"). If you head north of Duluth up along the North shore... don't miss Betty's Pies (a restaurant famous for pies, obvs) and we always stop at Lou's Fish House (looks like an abandoned old motel) in Two Harbors for (more) smoked fish.
    We visited Duluth a couple of years ago and did many of these things and it was really fun! I would also recommend the Lake Superior cruise because it was really interesting.

  8. #8
    gobadgers is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I've never been to Duluth, but we were in Bayfield Wisconsin earlier this summer and visited Apostle Islands Natn'l Lakeshore. If you have time to visit Lake Superior, I recommend you do it. So beautiful!
    -Christine

    DD, 9/07
    DS, 5/09
    and a very tolerant pup

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