It was about a 4-1/2 hour drive north of the Twin Cities, the closest I’ve been to the Canadian border in years.
The resort itself was smaller than I had anticipated. An old cabin feel with decorating details that included cutout light fixtures, pine furniture, and even a woodsy-themed shower curtain! .
There was a bonfire/marshmallow roast each night, an arcade and ping pong table, indoor swimming pool, a lounge (with the BEST margaritas), a playground for the littles, free paddleboats, and a restaurant on site. We saw many of the same employees working each day, their friendly familiar faces simply added to the charm.
There was an old mining facility across the street (with another lake behind it, barely visible behind the truck in the image below)….
Which (much to our surprise) happened to be the very place locals gather to watch 4th of July fireworks. Grand Ely Lodge had a little spot sectioned off so we spread out our beach towels and waited for the show to begin.
It was the closest we had ever been to fireworks!
Downtown Ely was only about a mile away and had several gift shops, restaurants, a few bars, couple of grocery stores, and at least two ice cream parlors.
Despite being the busy season, the crowds were not overwhelming at all. Just a short wait for most of the restaurants.
A few recommendations if you plan to stay at Ely Grand Lodge Resort:
– Bring your bikes and/or walking shoes, the Trezona Trail is right across the street!
– Go to Stony Ridge Café for the BEST burgers around. If you can snag one of their outdoor tables at sunset, even better.
– Have your kids save their quarters for the onsite arcade; there are even a few game tables there as well so be sure to bring along your favorite board game (or deck of cards) and snacks for your own family game night.
– A Taste of Ely is the coolest coffee shop/café; each table has a JOURNAL on it to share your experience in Ely with other visitors. [I LOVE THIS!] My favorite breakfast of our trip was eaten here.
– Check out the Annual Blueberry Art Festival in late-July.
– Be sure to go to the North American Bear Center. You will want to go walking with a pocketful of nuts afterwards, I swear.
– The International Wolf Center is also in the area.
– Stop by the Soudan Underground Mine State Park on the way home for a tour.
Ely Grand Lodge Resort would also make a great place for a wedding. Or class reunion. [We saw both!]
I would love to go back and take in some of the sights we missed. (My family feels the same.) Ely Grand Lodge Resort is definitely on the repeat list!