5 Popular Complimentary Activities at Lutsen Resort

Notes from the 3rd Floor

Lutsen Resort’s Blog

5 Popular Complimentary Activities at Lutsen Resort

Ahh, Complimentary Activities. Here at Lutsen Resort, we are committed to getting our guests outside to play. For many guests, the complimentary activities are the most memorable part of their stay. The purpose of this blog is to outline some of our most popular activities as well as provide some insider tips on ways to enjoy them.

“The best part was the activities. My husband and I did paddleboarding and hiking. We learned a lot and had fun doing it!” – Katie N.

What do we mean by complimentary activities? Let’s start by defining that better. Complimentary – meaning included in your stay. Activities –in this case means recreational adventures. In essence, we’re talking about free adventures.

PSA: I want to start this blog with an important reminder. This time of the year is busy and the resort has many guests in house. We do have 8 guides taking guests on more than 10 tours a day but sign-ups can fill up quickly. Here’s the key – sign up for tours begins at 8 am one week prior to the day of the activity. Log on to the website promptly at 8 am and get signed up! Have a few ideas in mind in case the one you want gets filled right away. Also, try to be considerate of others. If you’re bringing a large family – maybe try to sign up for only 2 or 3 of the guided activities so other guests can enjoy them too. There are plenty of non-guided activities to enjoy as well.

Now for the 5 most popular activities.

  1. Sea Kayaking on Lake Superior. There’s really nothing like it. Getting out on the “Big Lake” is an incredible experience. Doing it in aKayaking with Guide kayak takes it to the next level. You are right on the water. Insider Tip: Bring a phone or camera if you can! Put it in a waterproof case or bag and secure it to your lifejacket. The views of the Sawtooth Mountains are unforgettable.
  2. Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Have you tried it yet? This trendy watersport is fun and easier than it looks. You *typically* don’t have to get wet if you don’t want to. We also do it on an inland lake which is much easier than on Lake Superior. Insider Tip: Start on your knees! Then you can stand if you feel comfortable.
  3. Kid’s Camp. Three hours of nature-based exploring fun for kids. What could be better? We have three different themes. Monday’s focus is “Create!” where the kiddos can unleash their creative sides. Wednesdays were made to “Explore!” and discover new places and things. Thursday’s theme is “Challenge” emphasizing team work. Insider Tip: There is also Kid’s Pizza and Movie night on Saturdays from 6-8pm! Perfect for dropping the kids off and enjoying a meal in the dining room.Kids camp at Lutsen Resort
“As a busy working mom, I loved that Lutsen offers free activities for guests of all ages. [. . .] My kids did yoga, kayaked, and paddle boarded.” – Amy L.
  1. Fly Fishing Lessons. Have you ever wanted to try fly fishing but didn’t have anyone to teach you? Then this lesson is perfect for you. It’s very introductory and gives you a chance to practice on one of the best fishing rivers on the North Shore: The Poplar River. Insider Tip: Wear sunglasses! They also serve as eye protection.
  2. Naturalist Programs. Presented by members of the US Forest Service, these are insightful and fun campfire discussions about different nature topics. Topics change every year and this year our topics are Life of a Voyageur and The Amoosing Moose! These programs do not require advance sign up. Insider Tip: Don’t assume this activity is just for kids! Many of the facts and props the naturalist brings are very interesting for adults as well.

These are our top 5 activities and we have many more! From yoga to cross country skiing to winery tours, there are tons of wonderful things to do year-round at Lutsen Resort. See the full calendar of activities, updated through August, here.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out! Our activities staff is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. They can be reached from 8am-5pm at 218-663-6695.


Top 6 Reasons to Experience Lutsen Resort this Summer

Notes from the 3rd Floor

Lutsen Resort’s Blog

Top 6 Reasons to Experience Lutsen Resort this Summer

Do you have a trip planned to Lutsen Resort for this summer? Are you thinking of perhaps planning a trip? Then we’re talking to YOU!

Because we’re having an adventurous summer up here in Lutsen. We’re kayaking on Lake Superior, we’re hiking to waterfalls and we’ve even seen a few early blueberries popping up. We want to share our 6 favorite summer happenings to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun.

  1. The Lake Breeze. Summer is here! So are its two companions: heat and humidity. I’ve been peeking at weather reports in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. Oof-dah. Take a break from the heat and enjoy the natural air conditioning effect of Lake Superior. It truly is cooler by the lake! See what I did there?
  2. Go on an Adventure. We know all too well that summers in Minnesota are short (but sweet!). When is the last time that you tried something for the first time? Here at Lutsen Resort we’ve got a lot of ways you can push outside of your comfort zone. But they’re all guided activities so it’s really more like taking a small step outside of your comfort zone. OK maybe even just a toe. Some ideas? Try one of these.
    • Sea kayaking on Lake Superior
    • Stand up paddle-boarding on an inland lake
    • Fly fishing on the Poplar River
    • Hiking to a nearby waterfall

  3. Have a Nature Moment. Recently I popped down to our Activities Desk and saw that they have a “Wildlife Sightings” book. Well that’s nice, I thought…a place for guests to write down when they see the Lutsen Resort eagles that hang out by the bridge. Shows what I know. The book was filled with wildlife sightings. Since May 1st, our guests have seen moose, wolves, bears, beavers, loons and all kinds of rare birds. Pretty cool, huh?
  4. Spend Quality Time Together. Whether it’s you and your honey or you bring the whole family, Lutsen Resort is a special place to spend quality time together.
    • S’Mores by the campfire
    • Adventures (see #1 in this post)
    • Picnics on the beach
    • Cribbage in the pub
    • Massages at the spa
    • Live music in the lobby

These are just a few ideas that come to mind. Take a night off from Netflix and chilling and make some new memories.

  1. Take it Easy. The Eagles said it best, “Lighten up while you still can, don’t even try to understand. Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy.” Well it’s a bit warm in Winslow, Arizona this time of year, so come to the North Shore instead! Adirondacks on the beach…. enough said?! Add to that: complimentary guided activities (yes, this includes yoga and kids’ camp) as well as a bar and restaurant on site. We even have someone to light your bonfire for you. Too easy!
  2. New Menus and Fresh Fish. Chef Chris has batches of fresh lake trout from Lake Superior coming in weekly and is filleting it fresh in house. Yum! We recently published our new summer menus for the Lakeside Dining Room and the Poplar River Pub. There are classic summer dishes (buffalo chicken wraps, anyone?) as well as more extravagant dinners and decadent desserts.

So, there you have it – 6 reasons to come to Lutsen Resort this summer. It was hard to limit ourselves to 6, but we didn’t want to overwhelm you on a Friday. Thanks for reading and we’ll meet you at the Adirondack Chairs!


Now you’ve heard all the reasons – Plan Your Stay!

Menus for 2018 Spring Food & Wine Dinner

Lutsen Resort wine dinner

Our Guest Chefs Thomas Kavanaugh and Tim McCarty, along with our culinary team has finished the menus for our annual spring food and wine event! This spring’s event takes place on Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5 in our Main Lodge. Visit our dining page to learn more. You can register for one or both evenings below.

An Evening of Spanish Tastings, Friday, May 4
7 pm | $55 per person (21 yr+) | RSVP here

Classic Seafood Paella, Paella in “Our Style”

Cheese and Charcuterie
Prawns in Garlic Sauce
Creamy Leek with Manchego
Mushrooms in Sherry Cream
Wild Mussels, Garlic, Beans and Basil
Spicy Meatballs
Catalan Ratatouille
Patatas Bravas with Smoked Paprika Aioli
Chicken Livers, Chorizo, Cider
Seared Duck with Porto, Cherries, Figs and Walnuts
Grilled Bread and Tomato
Pork Cheeks Confit, Apples, Mustard, Red Wine Reduction

An Irish Journey, Saturday, May 5
6 pm | $90 per person (21 yr+) | RSVP here

Irish Cheese and Charcuterie

Crispy Day Boat Scallop

Polenta / Tarragon Hollandaise / Tomato-Cucumber Relish / Chorizo

Hot Smoked Salmon

Shrimp Bisque / Charred Leeks / Celeriac / Broccoli / Pea Puree

Oyster, Potato and Morel  

Quail Egg / Sorrel Puree / Crispy Bacon / Cashel Rye

Irish Pub Salad

Butter Greens / Sweet and Sour Beets / Pickled Beans / Roasted Fingerling Potatoes / Baby Carrots / Cucumber / Cahill Porter Cheese / Tarragon Mustard Vinaigrette

Killian Irish Red Sous Vide Duck Breast

Apple-Ramp Compote / Duck Cracklings

Corned Pork Cheek & Mustard Braised Pork Belly

Creamed Cabbage / Spring Potatoes / Dijon Caviar / Pickled Red Onion / Cornichon

Irish Apple Cake

Softly Whipped Cream / Muscovado Sugar / Candied Apple


Ballymaloe Brown Bread, Treacle Bread and Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Guest Chefs Named for the 2018 Food & Wine Dinner

We are pleased to announce Chefs Thomas Kavanaugh and Tim McCarty as our guest chefs for our 2018 Spring Food & Wine Dinner. Chefs Kavanaugh and McCarty bring over 60 years of combined culinary experience. They bring a wealth of experience and a long list of accolades which include working with renowned food personalities such as Anne Willin, Hartmut Handke and Jean Louis Palladin, judging numerous culinary competitions, competing in the World Food Championship and taking home 5th place, among others. Our culinary team and our guest chefs have wasted no time and are in the process of developing a delicious menu for the two-day event. The preliminary appetizer and hors-d’oeuvres menus look delectable.

About the Event

Our annual Spring Food & Wine Dinner will take place over two days, May 4 and 5. Our culinary team has teamed up with Tom and Tim to create special menus for each day, along with complementary wine pairings.

Cost per person


Saturday, May 5 | $90

Cost does not include tax and gratuity. Must be 21 years+ to attend. 


You may register online via the links below or call 218.663.7212.

Friday registration

Saturday registration


Chefs Tim McCarty and Tom Kavanaugh will be the guest chefs for Lutsen Resort's 2018 Spring Food & Wine Dinner

Guest Chefs Tim McCarty and Tom Kavanaugh

Beer Lover’s Dinner a Great Success

Maine mussels from Lutsen Resort's annual Beer Lover's Dinner

Last Friday at this time our culinary team, along with Hoops Brewing was only minutes away from opening the doors for our annual Beer Lover’s Dinner. This year’s dinner was a great success! With numerous compliments on the food as well as the brews, this may have been one of the best ones yet.

This year’s menu featured mouth-watering beer steamed Maine mussels, beer sous vide beef brisket and turkey and pork beervarian sausage stuffed raviolis. Of course, what is dinner without dessert? The night was topped off with a fabbri cherry beeramisu!

fabbri cherry beeramisu at Lutsen Resorts annual Beer Lovers Dinner

Now that the beer dinner is over, we are turning our focus to our annual Spring Food & Wine Dinner. We have the dates set and you can rsvp online or by calling 218.663.7212. The dates are Friday and Saturday, May 4th and 5th. The cost for Friday evening will be $55 per person and Saturday evening will be $90 per person.

Please remember this is a 21+ years event. Registration links are provided below.

RSVP for Friday, May 4, 2018 | $55 per person

RSVP for Saturday, May 5, 2018 | $90  per person





Top 5 winter activities to do while visiting the North Shore

There are many winter activities and sights to explore on the North Shore

To say it’s been a little chilly ‘up here’ is a bit of an understatement. We’ve had some brutally cold temps in the past two months and frankly, just in the last few days. Get ready, a heat wave is a-comin‘. With the temps set to warm up this week and through the rest of the month, there is no time like the present to venture up or over to the North Shore for some outdoor winter fun! Here’s a list of our staff’s top 5 favorite winter activities.

  1. Cross-country skiing

    The North Shore has the best cross-country ski trail systems in the state. We’d like to think so. With hundreds of kilometers of well-maintained trails, coupled with the plethora of terrain and beauty of the Northwoods, you just can’t have a bad day skiing. We have trails for all experience levels, trails that connect resorts and lodges where you can plan a stop for a cup of joe or to warm up midway through your ski and of course, trails with breathtaking views of this place we call home. Check out maps of various systems here.

    Did you know? If you are a guest of Lutsen Resort, you can join one of our guided cross-country ski tours or borrow ski gear (skis, boots and poles) for free. If you ski on a state trail, you will need to purchase a ski pass.

  2. Snowshoe hiking

    Not everyone is up for a go on the skinny skis and that’s ok. Heading out for a snowshoe hike can be just as rewarding. Hiking the Superior Hiking Trail is a popular option, but snowshoes also give you the flexibility to go “off trail” and explore the uncharted areas. Lutsen Resort guests can also borrow snowshoes or join a snowshoe hike, all complimentary.

    **Candlelight XC Ski & Snowshoe** 
    Sugarbush Trail Association will be holding their annual candlelight cross-country ski and snowshoe this coming Saturday evening, February 17th beginning at 6 pm. Meet in the Oberg parking lot and hit the trails lit by candlelight. When you’re done with your hike or ski, meet back at the bonfire and warm up with a cup of cocoa.

  3. Alpine skiing or snowboarding at Lutsen Mountains 

    When talking about things to do on the North Shore in the winter, Lutsen Mountains inevitably comes up in the conversation. Lutsen Mountains is the Midwest’s largest alpine and snowboard park and they are only a couple miles up the road from us. The park boasts four mountains, 95 runs, a 825′ vertical rise, new eight-passenger gondola and ample amounts of snow that make for the ultimate ski and snowboard experience.

    We offer ski and stay packages and we have a shuttle that runs to and from the ski hill. We’ll pick you up at your room (lodge lobby if you are staying in the main lodge) and take you to the ski hill and back. Please make sure to schedule a time with us in advance.

  4. Songwriter series at Papa Charlie’s

    If you are looking for something with a little less snow or you want to wind down after a long day of outdoor adventure, then you need to check out Papa Charlie’s Songwriter series. During the winter months, you can find live music every night of the week somewhere in Cook County. We are fortunate to have an abundance of talented, local musicians that play at various establishments and venues – however, the Songwriter series is a staff favorite. The series features the Midwest’s most talented songwriters in a theater-like setting. These are free to the public and run every Monday and Wednesday night during the winter. For a complete schedule, visit Papa Charlie’s event calendar

  5. Eat!

    After an eventful day in the great outdoors, you’re going to need to refuel. The area offers a number of great eateries, pubs and tap rooms. Whether you are looking for fine dining or a casual, sit-back and watch the game experience, there is something for everyone. We have two restaurants on site; our Lakeside Dining Room and our Poplar River Pub. The dining room provides a spectacular view of Lake Superior and the Poplar River Pub features Minnesota-made brews and spirits.

Valentine’s Day Dining Specials

Lutsen Resort will have a special menu for Valentine's Day

Make plans to take your valentine out next week and enjoy a delicious meal in our Lakeside Dining Room. Our culinary team has created a special menu for Valentine’s Day.

Dining Special | Receive an appetizer, choice of soup or salad, choice of one entree and dessert all for $70!

Items will also be available a la Carte. Please see below.

Valentine’s Day Menu


1/2 dozen Plymouth Champagne oysters on the half shell with Mignonette sauce, tobasco and lemon. $18


Lobster | Butter poached lobster tail with drawn butter, warm quinoa and cous cous salad with citrus vin and roasted asparagus. $45

Surg & Turf | Filet Tournedos with seared diver scallops, herb roasted fingerling potatoes, mustard pan sauce and roasted asparagus. $48


Chocolate Mousse cake with smores strawberries, creme anglaise and raspberry coulis. $10


We highly recommend making reservations for Wednesday, February 14. Call 218.663.7212 for reservations.

Annual Beer Lover’s Dinner Menu Available

Lutsen Resort's Annual Beer Lover's Dinner with Hoops Brewing

Our fifth annual Beer Lover’s Dinner is right around the corner and this year we are pleased to welcome Hoops Brewing from Duluth. On Friday, February 23, guests will enjoy a delectable four-course meal, paired with brews from Hoops Brewing. There’s still time to register. Register here

This past week, our culinary team has put the final touches on the menu for the evening. Take a gander below.

First Course | Beer steamed Maine mussels with green curry and crispy fried ham hock.

Second Course Turkey and pork beervarian sausage stuffed raviolis with aged white cheddar beer cheese sauce.

Third Course Beer sous vide beef brisket with peppered potato hash and beer gastrique.

Dessert | Fabbri Cherry Beeramisu

When February 23, 2018 @ 6:30 pm

Cost $50 per person (does not incl. tax or gratuity)

Payment will be taken at Lutsen Resort. Registering online secures your place at the event. For questions or to register via phone, call 218.663.7212.

Must be 21+ years of age to attend. 

Register Online

Fall colors update | Join us for the autumn show

The first day of autumn may have only been a couple of days ago, but already we are seeing the vibrant fall colors showing themselves throughout

Honeymoon Trail near Lutsen Resort

Honeymoon Trail near Lutsen

the North Shore. The colors down by the lake are still working their way from green to a soft yellow, but head inland just a couple of miles and you will be greeted by bright oranges and fire engine reds!


The poplars and tamaracks are bursting with light yellows, while the maples are transitioning from orange to red. According to our Activity Guides, they are putting fall colors at about 30-40% peak and are estimating that we will be at peak within a couple of weeks.

If you haven’t made plans to venture up to join the show, now is the time! The weather is gorgeous (a couple days of rain are in the forecast) and the rest of the week into early next week is forecasted to be in the high 50s/low 60s. The dip in temperature from the past few days of 75-80 degrees is sure to push the colors closer to peak.

Weather week of September 25

Week of Sep 25 weather in Lutsen, MN


There are plenty of trails and roads nearby the resort where you can either take a hike or drive the backroads to view the colors. The gondola at Lutsen Mountains is also a must-do! Taking you high above the tree line, the views from the gondola and on top of Moose Mountain are spectacular.


White Sky Rock near Lutsen Resort

White Sky Rock Overlook


Fall Colors Lodging Special 

If you’re looking for a lodging, check out our Fall Colors Package which runs now through October 18th. The package includes two nights of lodging, breakfast each day and one dinner entrée in our Lakeside Dining Room – starting at $174/night.


Guest Chefs Named for 2017 Fall Food & Wine Dinner

Stephan Hesse and Tyge Nelson

We are pleased to announce that Stephen Hesse and Tyge Nelson, chefs and co-owners of the Parajito restaurant in St. Paul, will be joining us as our guest chefs for our Fall Food & Wine Dinner this November. Our culinary team will be collaborating with Stephen and Tyge in the coming weeks to develop the menu for the event. We are excited to see the ideas that follow and will share the details with you as soon as we can.

“These two have been local industry luminaries for a long time, and if you listen carefully you can hear a big “OMG at last,” from many, many cooking lines in local kitchens. Both are Tim McKee protégés: Hesse opened Masu and has been making Libertine taste good since it opened in 2014, and Nelson started cooking for McKee in the kitchen at La Belle Vie Stillwater in 2000  …  Hesse and Nelson’s new spot looks to …  take food that people already like, and make it with all the cheffy insight and tricks of the trade which make it better.”  

                                                                              ~ Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

About the Chefs

Stephan Hesse

Parajito is a dream fulfilled for Stephan Hesse. Known for his rare combination of culinary artistry and business savvy, for years Stephan had been thinking about opening a neighborhood restaurant – bringing dining with character and originality to a community more typically home to chains and fast food. And, it would appear that Stephan was destined to open his own place – few chefs have racked up more than 25 years of culinary experience while still years shy of hitting 40.

Stephan started working in the restaurant industry at the tender age of 13 at his mother’s Maplewood Perkin’s restaurant and never stopped. After high school the St. Paul native took a job in executive dining at 3M; and it was there one of the chefs noticed Stephan’s talent and suggested he pursue a culinary career.

That decision quickly led Stephan to the Art Institutes International of Minnesota where he enrolled in the Culinary program. Upon graduation, Stephan’s early career was filled with work at the prestigious four-star St. Paul Hotel and St. Paul Grill as well as at Premier Restaurant Management where he was instrumental in opening such Minneapolis crowd-pleasers as Stella’s Fish Café and Prestige Oyster Bar, Tonic of Uptown and Major’s Sports Cafés.

For Stephan, Pajarito’s vision is to be a great neighborhood hangout with superb Mexican food:

“We want to push the envelope on traditional Mexican fare with modern touches and fresh, vibrant flavors. Tyge and I will both be building on our passions and strengths. I’ll be playing up my skills in in-house butchery and charcuterie, while Tyge will be playing up his extensive knowledge of the differences and subtleties between various Latin American and Mexican regional cuisines in his use of chili peppers and seasonings.”

Tyge Nelson

To quote Star Tribune restaurant critic, Rick Nelson, when describing Chef Tyge Nelson, “Talented chefs beget talented chefs.”

Tyge’s interest in food traces back to childhood memories of watching his grandmother canning and baking, and trips with his grandfather to buy fresh milk from nearby dairy farms. However, his culinary destiny was not a foregone conclusion.

Like many other chefs, Tyge discovered his own interest in food only after pursuing other potential career paths. “I’d been going to school for awhile (at the University of Minnesota) and nothing really drew me.” But when he thought about becoming a chef, it just “felt right.”  So, in 1999 he quit the University of Minnesota and enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Mendota Heights, graduating in 2000.

Upon graduation Tyge won a coveted internship working for uber-talented Chef Tim McKee at then just two-year old La Belle Vie, which was still located in Stillwater, Minn. Tyge was quickly promoted to sous chef.  When Tim brought in Jack Riebel to serve as La Belle Vie’s executive chef as he began splitting his attention between the two restaurants, it created new opportunities for Tyge to learn from yet another talented chef.

Pajarito is an opportunity for Tyge to showcase his depth of expertise as well as his love of Mexican food and culture.

“With attention to detail, technique, and ingredients you quickly elevate the dining experience into something extraordinary. For example, a salsa can be a simple dish, but it becomes great when you put thought and effort into every aspect: the selection of the vegetables, how they’re roasted, type of heat you introduce, the amount of acidity. The end result still looks simple on the plate, but the effort elevates the final result and the overall experience.”


RSVP online now via the links below or call us at 218.663.7212.

  • Friday, November 10 | $50 per person, rsvp here
  • Saturday, November 11 | $90 per peson, rsvp here

Cost does not include tax or gratuity. Must be 21 years of age or older to attend. Registering online secures your rsvp for the event. Payment will be taken at Lutsen Resort.