A group of German and Swiss families who arrived on a steamboat in 1856 were Beaver Bay’s first settlers. A nationwide financial panic the very next year caused the abandonment of all the other fledgling towns between Duluth and Grand Portage, but these hardy immigrants remained.
A sawmill provided the livelihood for most of the town’s first residents, and soon several Ojibwe families moved here to join them in the lumbering business. About two dozen, including John Beargrease, a legendary North Shore resident who is famous for delivering the mail by dogsled before any roads or trails existed in these parts, were laid to rest in the traditional burial ground behind town. There’s little to see here since it is left in a natural state, but if you want to visit, take the first left off County Highway 4.
The Beaver Bay Agate Shop (1003 Main St., 218/226-4847, www.beaverbayagate.com, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) is worth a look even if you don’t want to buy.
Half a mile before town is Cove Point Lodge (4614 Hwy 61, 218/226-3221 or 800/598-3221, www.covepointlodge.com, $128 rooms, $209 cottages), a great hotel in a great setting on 150 acres. All rooms in the lodge, built and decorated in the classic Northwoods style, face the lake, as do the large two- and three-bedroom cottages. Guests can use the pool, whirlpool, sauna, and canoes, but lazily watching the lake appears to be the most popular activity. A spur trail connects the lodge to the Superior Hiking Trail.
The plain-Jane Inn at Beaver Bay (1017 Main St., 218/226-4351, www.innatbeaverbay.com, $55–130) is on the main drag, away from the lake, but very close to hiking and ATV trails. If you plan to spend most of your time outside anyway, this is an affordable choice. Not all rooms have air-conditioning.
The inimitable Northern Lights Roadhouse (Hwy. 61, 218/226-3012, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat., summer hours sometimes longer) serves big platters of Northwoods game and Scandinavian specialties in a dining room full of outdoor gear and on a patio surrounded by wildflowers.
Get a quick sandwich or a sweet treat at Wits’ End Corner Country Store and Bakery (Hwy. 61, 218/226-4074, www.witsendcorner.com, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat., closed Sun.–Mon.), where they bake bread, cookies, cakes, and more daily. It’s also stocked with deli meats and cheese, a few meals to take home, and gifts.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition