7 Things to Do on your Lake Superior Fall Color Getaway at Lutsen Resort
Guided Hikes. Not sure where to go? Let our expert Activities Staff take you to the best spot for great Fall Colors and less people. There are also trails around the resort for easy leaf peeping.
Fireplaces is every room. Apart from the Main Lodge, every room at Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior has a fireplace. Is there anything more romantic than that? Bonus: Bonfires on the beach happen every night!
Maple Syrup Tours. Once a week, our Activities Staff take guests out on a Maple Syrup tour, where guests are able to observe the process and one of our local maple syrup operations and taste test the product!
Apart from throwing rocks into Lake Superior and enjoying the swimming pool, what else is there for younger kids to do at Lutsen Resort?! It’s a question we get frequently so we wanted to tell you some of our favorite activities for kiddos under 10! Comment below and let us know what yours are.
1. T-shirt Tie-Dying. Our Activities Crew started this activity this year and it’s been a huge hit! Every Wednesday from 1:30-4 pm. Bring your own shirt or purchase one of ours for $15.
2. Guided Hikes. Our guided hikes are for all ages but kiddos especially enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and explore. Their favorite are the Waterfall Tours!
3. Kids Pizza and Movie Night. 1-2 times per week we host a kids pizza and movie night. The kids gather in our yurt and watch an age appropriate movie, while the parents have the opportunity to enjoy a dinner on their own.
4. Berry Picking. In late July and early August, you can find raspberries on property here at Lutsen Resort, and you can find blueberries further inland!
5. Kids Camp. Kids Camp happens 3 times per week, each with a different theme. The themes are Explore, Create and Challenge!
6. The Alpine Slide. The Alpine Slide and Gondola are located just up the road at Lutsen Mountains!
7. The Game Room. Air hockey, ping pong and a variety of other games – kids have a blast in the game room.
8. S’mores around the campfire. Did you know that we give our complimentary s’mores kits? Just ask at the Front Desk!
9. Swimming in Lake Superior. Lutsen Resort is unique in that it is located where the Poplar River flows into Lake Superior. The warmer river water makes our beach an ideal spot to take a dip!
10. Rock picking and walks on the beach. Take home a few rocks from the beach to remember the trip. Bonus points if you can get your kiddo to hold your hand!
You may have noticed that we’ve been using a new tagline for Lutsen Resort, “Unforgettable Since 1885”. The tagline was designed to showcase what makes Lutsen Resort unique in 2 ways.
Lutsen Resort is a place to make unforgettable memories.
Lutsen Resort is Minnesota’s most historic resort (that is still in operation).
In this blog post we want to highlight 5 pieces of history that you can see when visiting the legendary Lutsen Resort.
The Pump House.
What’s the story behind the concrete building you see so close to the river’s edge? In 1918, C.A.A. decided to bring electricity to the resort. He built a generator near the lodge on the Poplar River. The generator tapped into the power of the river and provided DC-current electricity to the resort as well as about ten other homes in the area. Keeping the water intake pipes in the river clear of debris for flowage was a daily, year-round job. What we call “The Pump House” is special because it was the first hydroelectric generating plant on the North Shore. It’s a representation of how forward thinking the Nelsons were and how the current owners continue to strive to be. The generator was operational until 1941, when power came to the area. How to see it. You can see the pump house via the upper bridge on the Poplar River, as seen in the photo to the right.
You may have heard how the main lodge burnt down twice, in 1949 and 1951. The fireplaces in the lodge are the only parts of the 1949 lodge that didn’t burn down and the lodge was rebuilt around them. How to see it. One fireplace is located in the lobby and the other is in the Strand Waterfront Dining and Wine Bar. The lobby fireplace is a still a true, wood- burning fireplace, while the dining room fireplace has been converted to gas. Both can be seen roaring if the temperatures are under 30 degrees.
The Fireplace in the Dining Room – Then versus Now
The Polar Bear.
A Lutsen Resort classic! The Polar Bear was captured by George Nelson Sr. on a trip to Alaska in 1962. It’s been calling the lodge home ever since. How to see it. The Poplar Bear is in a display case down the hall from the lobby and before the restrooms.
There are a couple docks that move in and out of visibility depending on how the lake and river are moving. One of them is in the river and one is on the edge of the beach. They were likely pieces of larger docks that were built for fishing and boating purposes. How to see it. The Poplar River dock is usually visible in the Spring and Summer. In fact, if you look closely, you can see it on our webcam. The beach dock was visible last Fall for a few days, for the first time in almost 30 years.
The Sea Villas.
The Sea Villas have a fascinating history. They were actually built in two phases on two parcels of land separated by a small resort with five seasonal cabins. That resort was owned by the Running Family, and it was purchased in 1990, uniting the two sections of Sea Villas. Still on property are two buildings from the previous resort. What we call “The Running House” was the resort family’s home, and is now used by Lutsen Resort staff for Housekeeping and storage. Also, still in existence is one of the cabins from the resort, what we call the “little red cabin”. It’s used seasonally by Lutsen Resort as staff housing. Without running water or electricity, it takes the right kind of tenant. How to see it. The Running House is located on the left-hand side as you pull into the main driveway to the Guest Service Building. The little red cabin can be found by walking down the path from Guest Services Building toward the playground. But remember – if you go in the summer, there may be someone living there.
The owners and staff of Lutsen Resort have GREAT respect for the history. In fact, the appreciation for the legacy is what most of us have in common, as it’s what attracted us all to this iconic resort to begin with. So next time you are visiting, check out one of these great pieces of history – or find a different one! They’re all over the resort.
Here on the North Shore we are under the impression that you SHOULD go chasing waterfalls (despite the popular 90’s song)! Because the spring thaw isn’t something to simply endure, it’s something to CELEBRATE and mother nature does that exceedingly well. When the 8 feet of snowfall from this winter melts, the resulting waterfalls along the North Shore will be flowing with ferocity. The roar of the rapids and rainbow inducing cascading falls are truly a natural phenomena and something everyone should see in their lifetime.
Every winter is beautiful in its own way but here on the North Shore, this winter takes the cake. Conditions have been excellent, with new snow seemingly in the forecast every time the current snow gets to be a bit crunchy. All in all we’ve received over 90 inches.
The large amount of snowfall has caused animals that would normally stay inland, to come down and visit us at the lake. Transportation is easier down here where there is less snowfall. Also, for a few weeks Lake Superior was frozen solid in front of the resort and animals were using it like their personal freeway.
Here’s the story of the winter nature moments at Lutsen Resort.
It all began back in January, when we had a fox on our roof (!)
We actually noticed it because a guest had posted a photo of it and tagged us on Twitter. When we saw the photo the next day, we figured there was no way he would still be there. But he was. And he returned every couple days for almost a week.
Next came the river otters. Now we get river otters on the Poplar every year, but with the way the river froze so much this year, they were much more visible. Staff and guests reported seeing them sliding on the their bellies all the way under the bridge.
Finally, dun dun dun….the wolves! The wolves were so cool. They were first reported on February 11th by our Front Desk Manager.
And then…we just kept seeing them.
On February 13th.
And again on February 19th.
And then again on February 22nd. This time we weren’t sure if it was wolves or coyotes.
It’s not too late for you to come experience great nature moments. Winters like this don’t always happen. We have about another month before the snow begins to melt. And Spring is a great time for wildlife viewing as well!
We are thrilled to share with you more information on the renovation of the Strand Waterfront Dining Room! “Strand” means shore in Swedish. This highlights one of the dining room’s best assets – the incredible view of Lake Superior and the Poplar River. The Strand went through a complete renovation including new walls, flooring, tables, chairs, lighting and more, all while maintaining the historic integrity of the Lutsen Resort dining room. The driving force behind the renovation was to provide our visitors with the greatest fine dining experience in the region.
You might be thinking, “Hey. That renovation took place last December. What’s been the hold up?” You’re right. The Strand has been open for business since December 14th. We were waiting to post about it until we had the final piece to the puzzle AKA the icing on the cake – our 1200-bottle, enclosed, temperature-controlled wine cellar. Tah-dah!
The new wine cellar is made of glass walls with a birch bark backdrop. The birch bark is a tribute to the historic “birch room” that once graced the presence of Lutsen Resort. The cellar can hold between 1100-1200 bottles of wine in a variety of formats.
We also added a 16-bottle wine dispensing station.
Naturally, with the addition of the cellar and the dispensing station, the wine menu also received an update. The Strand Waterfront Dining Room now carries nearly 200 different bottles of wine. We’ve greatly increased our international wine selection, now featuring bottles from Australia and South Africa. We’ve also added more variety from France and Italy. We have 20 wines from the Wine Spectator Top 100 list, including the #1 wine, Sassicaia 2015 from Tenuta San Guido estate.
In addition to the wine cellar and dispensing station, we have made changes to enhance the overall dining experience. We swapped out the formerly yellow hued lighting in favor of Scandinavian designed white drum shades with lighting that maximizes the “wow” factor of our dishes. We added custom built wingback chairs as well as new tables crafted from reclaimed wood sourced from a dismantled cigar factory dating back to the 1800’s. We’ve creatively re-imagined the menu in an innovative way (hint: fondue!). Smaller details were improved including new centerpieces, napkin rings and upgrading all of our wine glasses to Reidel brand glassware. Overall, we enhanced the way we serve and present our dishes. To truly get a feel for the impact of these changes, you’ll have to experience it for yourself. May we suggest the Spring Food and Wine weekend?
Here at Lutsen Resort, we are fully embracing the adventurous North Shore winter. We have a few fun and exciting upgrades that have happened recently. We’ve shared some details below, but keep in mind – you’ll have to come see for yourself to enjoy the full experience.
The new wine dispensing station
Firstly, our largest project was the renovation of our dining room. The renovation is just about complete and the dining room is open for business. The final puzzle piece we are still waiting for is the wine cellar installation. Once that happens, we’ll do a separate blog posting all about it. Until then, you can see photos of the new dining room on our Facebook Page. We’ve received an outpouring of positive feedback, which we greatly appreciate and value.
Secondly, we installed an outdoor ice-skating rink. The ice rink is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm and has already been enjoyed by many! Use of the ice rink as well as skate rentals are complimentary for guests. There is also a seating area with a bonfire pit next to the ice rink. Oh, and did we mention that the outdoor ice rink has Lake Superior views? Photo op!
Thirdly, the rooms in the Lutsen lodge got bundled up for the winter with old fashioned ski décor. The goal was to encompass a true ski lodge experience and, as you can see, the result is cozy and beautiful.
Fourth, complimentary hot chocolate bar! Need we say more?
Fifth, we’ll be updating the lobby with some new furniture. Now this won’t be a major renovation or anything, but we are adding new couches and curtains. We take pride in having the coziest, most welcoming lobby on the north shore and we want to continue to provide that environment for you to come enjoy.
Lastly, we’re adding cheese fondue to the menu! Chef Chris has perfected the recipe and it’s ready to serve this week. Because who doesn’t love fondue?
We all know that recognizable sign, “Lutsen Sea Villa Townhomes” indicating you’ve made it to Lutsen. Have you ever stayed in a Sea Villa? Do you know what makes them distinct? How about the interesting history behind the development? Built in 1968, the Sea Villas are now celebrating 50 years of accommodating visitors to the North Shore.
The primary reason for building the Sea Villas was to fill a growing need for lodging that Lutsen Mountains Ski Area demanded in the winter months. The units are situated right on the shore of Lake Superior, an inland sea. The design was based on a Scandinavian ski villa. Hence the name – “Sea Villas”.
They were originally developed by George Nelson Jr. and Irving Hansen, the owner of Isak Hansen Hardware. 57 units were built in two phases on two parcels of land separated by a small resort with five seasonal cabins. Believe it or not, the whole idea of townhomes and condominiums was very new back in the late 60’s. The Sea Villas were the first lodging of this kind in Minnesota. A unit could be purchased and used exclusively as a vacation home or contracted with “Lutsen Resort” to manage and rent out the property. This model is now used widely both within resorts and through private homes.
The small resort property that separated the East and West Sea Villa units was purchased from the Running family in 1990, uniting the Sea Villa properties into one continuous parcel. The picturesque red cabin located on the point is the only remaining cabin from that era. It is now used as housing for resort staff in the summer months. The larger house across from the Guest Services Building is now used for housekeeping purposes, but it will always be referred to as the “Running House”.
In the mid-90’s a villa owner and architect, Rich Wolfgramm, designed phase one of the Guest Service Building. This was the reception section and it was created in the style of Edwin Lundie who designed the Lodge at Lutsen Resort. The second phase, the recreation/pool building, was designed by SMMA Architects and was completed in 1998. The Sea Villas also feature a playground and a network of hiking trails.
The Sea Villas have welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests over the years and they remain as a unique lodging experience on the North Shore. They are grand-fathered in as one of the closest properties to Lake Superior and they have large glass windows highlighting this advantage. The Lutsen-Villa Owners Association has created standards that all Sea Villas must abide to. Many have been updated several times since they were built. Most feature fun lofts for kiddos and some are pet-friendly. For some, a trip to the Sea Villas has been a family tradition for all 50 years.
Greetings friends of Lutsen Resort! Over the years we have heard from many of you that you would be interested in purchasing our dining room furniture, should we ever decide to make a change. The time has come!
We will be completely renovating the dining room between November 25th and December 13th and we’d like to give you the opportunity to purchase some of the furniture.
In order to be fair, we will be selling the furniture lottery style. We will collect contact information of anyone interested in the furniture via this form.The form MUST be completed no later than 10 am on Monday, November 26, 2018. The form does NOT commit you to buying anything. It simply ensures that you are eligible for the drawing that will give you the opportunity to purchase furniture if you’d like. Selections will be drawn on November 26th at 12 pm. We will notify those that have been selected by 4 pm on November 26th.
Items will be available to be picked up beginning November 26th. They MUST be picked up by December 14, 2018 at 4 pm.
Please note: The Dining Room chairs will still be in use following the renovation therefore that lottery drawing will occur at a later date, yet to be determined.
Own a piece of history! Here is the information on the furniture available. Images are posted below.
Dining Room Tables – These are the original main lodge dining room tables, built in 1952 following the 2nd fire. They were recently refurbished with a heavy “bar pour” style. They are available in
6-tops (38″x68″) $250
4-tops (45″x45″) $200
2-tops (32″x48″) $150
4 Strand “Jello Lamps” – $200
Dining Room Chairs – $25 – note that these will be available at a later date yet to be determined.
Remember you MUST fill out this form. Note that filling out the form does NOT commit you to buying anything. It simply makes you eligible for the drawing that will give you the opportunity to purchase furniture if you’d like.
Contact Marketing Director, Katie Krantz, with any questions. 218-663-6669 or [email protected] Note: It’s possible that more jello lamps will be available as we continue to renovate. That will be determined at a later date.
Regarding the renovation, follow us on social media to see the progress! Be sure to book your stay to see the newly renovated dining room after December 13th.
Last week we filmed our fall video shoot here at Lutsen Resort. The timing was tricky. The idea was that the second week of October would mean leaves were changing color down near Lake Superior but also sticking to their red, orange and yellow glory inland on the Sawtooth Mountains. In anticipation of the shoot, a nervous marketing director (me) was checking the weather daily. Of course, I was hoping that we would have a beautiful blue-sky day to showcase this heavenly time of year. Meanwhile, the forecast showed rain and a lot of wind and the nerves continued.
On Wednesday, day two of filming, I was reminded that rain and wind are not a bad combination here on the North Shore. In fact, it can be a really great combination. I don’t use the word epic often, but we really did have an epic wave day at Lutsen Resort. It was one of those days that remind you that Lake Superior is more of a sea than a lake. The water was turning over so greatly that it was brown from being stirred up with the bottom of the lake. We even found a dock that hadn’t been seen in over 20 years (read more on that here). The rain meant that the mighty Poplar River was flowing at full volume.
Day 2 of Filming – Can you spy the drone?
Needless to say, this made for some incredible drone footage that we cannot wait to share with you. There’s no denying that the fall colors are stunning. We won’t argue with you on that. But late fall with its wavy storms, unpredictable weather and November (also October) gales must not be forgotten. It is truly a sight to savor. Also – shameless plug here – did you know that Lutsen Resort has the best wave watching lobby on the North Shore?
One of the views from our lobby
In addition to great wave watching, late fall is also a prime time for hiking. Fallen leaves means you can see for miles through the boreal forest. And have you ever experienced a first snowfall while in the middle of the woods? It’s pure magic, like being inside a snow globe.
Lastly, Lutsen Resort has over 150 fireplaces. 152 to be exact. Is there anything better than cuddling up next to a fireplace with a good book and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine? I think not. So, have I persuaded you yet? Come join us for a late fall vacation! Escape before the mayhem of the holiday season sets in. Take some time to appreciate the natural wonders this time of year has to offer.