Resort Life, Minnesota Style
A week “Up North” at the lake is a summer ritual for many Minnesota families, and those who don’t have their own cabins usually take up residence at their favorite resort. Resort, it should be pointed out, has a different definition in Minnesota than it does in Colorado or Cancùn.
Sure, there are plenty of fancy lodges with golf courses, marinas, and other four-star facilities, but the classic Minnesota resort is a dozen or so rustic cabins with faux wood paneling, linoleum floors, furniture the owners bought back in the 1950s, and fully equipped kitchens for frying up the day’s catch.
Most people raised in the Upper Midwest, myself included, have fond memories of a week at the lake in a cabin just like this and are happy to relive them again and again and again. Clearly these aren’t for everyone, but many get so much repeat business that they don’t advertise.
Not all of the small, family-run resorts are stuck in a time warp, so if you’re looking for something a little fancier and more modern, but with the same olden-days character, you’ll have no problem finding it.
There are some things that all resorts have in common, no matter what the era. First, all are on a lake or a river, and it’s common for each cabin to come with its own boat. Few resorts rent for less than a week during the summer and most close up shop for the winter.
Pricing terms you may encounter are American plan, which includes three meals a day; modified American plan, which signifies only certain meals are provided; and European plan, meaning no meals are included. A housekeeping cabin comes fully equipped and you do the cleaning. Always ask whether linens, dishes, and towels are provided; often they aren’t or they cost extra.
While there are plenty of resorts listed in this travel guide (including some of my favorites, like Lutsen Resort, Burntside Lodge, Kawishiwi Lodge, Nelson’s Resort) I would still recommend calling the local tourism office if you’re interested in this type of lodging. Tell them what sort of vacation you are looking for, and they can recommend places that best fit your needs. The Explore Minnesota website is a good place to start your resort search.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition