We are kicking off Fall Color reporting with our favorite destination for this time of year, Oberg Mountain. We tagged along with the Activities Crew as they ventured out on their tour on Saturday and boy are we glad we did! As of today, the DNR is currently reporting our region to be in the 25-50% range.
It’s always a challenge to predict the peak colors on the North Shore. As many of you probably know, it happens in two distinct phases. First, the maples come ablaze with bright red and brilliant orange leaves. Secondly, the aspen and birch present their golden glory. Some argue there is a third phase when the tamarack trees begin to change, which usually occurs in late October or even early November.
We are very much in that first peak now and Oberg was a fantastic spot to view the colors. The maple trees are beautiful both from the ground and from the overlooks. The birch and aspen have just begun changing and have a little ways to go. The good news is that we don’t have any storms predicted in the forecast, which should help the leaves to hang on a bit longer this year.
If you are coming to stay with us this Fall, be sure to check the activities schedule in advance. We have guided hikes, bike & hikes, fall color kayaking and wilderness canoeing. All of these activities are designed to get our guests outside exploring the most colorful season on the North Shore.
Spring is officially here. Yippee! It’s the time of year when we celebrate longer days, warm sun, rushing waterfalls, and even one last chance on the slopes or trails for spring skiing.
Got Spring Fever? We’ve got the cure. Take advantage of our Spring Fever Special and enjoy a FREE night when you purchase two nights (midweek night is free). This amazing offer runs now through June 13.
Waterfall season is almost here and it’s fair to say that the North Shore of Lake Superior has the best waterfall viewing of anywhere in Minnesota, perhaps the Midwest. This year we are predicting an exceptional waterfall season. Since we had huge amounts of winter snowfall we’ll see spectacular spring waterfalls! In fact, we are already seeing many rivers starting to put on their spring flow show. You can easily spend a few days driving up and down highway 61 checking out all the wonderful falls. Learn more and get great travel tips for waterfall season here.
We’ll be starting a weekly waterfall segment soon. Look for it on our social media pages where we’ll highlight a different not-to-miss waterfall each week!
In addition, here are a few upcoming spring events and activities you may not want to miss:
The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is coming up this weekend! Therefore, now is the perfect time to highlight one of the 2019 Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts Calendar Contest winners. Taken at last year’s race, the photo below was captured by Lenny Palmer during the full marathon race.
The iconic Beargrease sled dog race is the longest in the lower 48 states. In addition, it attracts world-class mushers and includes a mid-distance race plus lots of activities and events for spectators. This year, the mid-distance 120-mile race will be finishing nearby at Lutsen Mountains. The races start in Duluth on Sunday, January 27th with the 120-mile distance estimated to finish Monday, January 28th starting around 7 am. Head up to Lutsen Mountains to cheer on these brave mushers and amazing sled dogs! The full marathon, at almost 400 miles, finishes at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino on Tuesday, January 29th. Visit the John Beargrease website for a full schedule of events, checkpoint times, and spectator information.
This year, we are honored to be part of the mushing action as host of the race officials headquarters. It takes an incredible team of organizers, officials, volunteers, sponsors, vets, and fans to put on this iconic race. Here at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we are excited to be able to support the efforts of this non-profit event.
If you head out to watch the events anywhere along the race route here are a few musher terms you may hear and what they mean:
Gee: The command for a right turn
Haw: The command for a left turn
Come Gee! Come Haw!: commands to turn 180 degrees in either direction
Mush! Hike! Let’s Go!: Commands for the team to start
Lead dog: The dog who leads in front.
Neck line: The line that connects the dogs to the main towline attached to the sled
Line out!: Command to lead dog to pull the team straight out
Whoa!: Command used to halt the team. Used along with pressure to the break on the sled
Good luck to all teams racing this weekend!
New Winter Adventures!
Our activities staff have been busy planning a few new guided winter adventures to add to our broad mix of offerings. Check out these fun new complimentary guided activities. We’ve designed them to help you discover unique places and will feature the best ways to trek along a winter trail based on current conditions.
Onion River Snowshoe Hike & Bonfire: This snowshoe hike begins at the trailhead to Leveaux Mountain and will lead you through a beautiful cedar forest for a half mile. Our journey will end at a Superior Hiking Trail campsite near the Onion River. We’ll even have a bonfire, s’mores, and hot cocoa to keep you warm! This is an easy hike with relatively flat terrain making it a perfect family activity or for those new to snowshoeing and winter hiking. While there you may want to take a quick jaunt a bit farther down the trail to a quaint bridge that leads across the Onion River. Keep very quiet and you may hear the river flowing beneath a layer of ice!
Snowshoe Hike at the Lookout Mountain Loop: Join us for a guided snowshoe hike to the top of the beautiful Lookout Mountain in Cascade State Park. When the snow is deep and fluffy we will outfit everyone with snowshoes for the trek. When the trail is covered in packed snow we will outfit our boots in traction cleats for a non-slip hike. This adventure starts out gradually along the Cascade River and then leads to a steeper climb to the top of Lookout Mountain. Enjoy the incredible views of Lake Superior and the eastern view of the Sawtooth Mountain range. Photo op! The total trip is 3.5 miles and the difficulty rating is moderate.
Benson Lake Snowshoe Hike: We’re excited about this new hike in the beautiful George H Crosby Manitou State Park. This adventure will begin with a half mile hike to the park entrance road until we reach Benson Lake. Once at Benson Lake, the trail loops and takes you on a 1-mile walk through scenic spruce and cedar groves. When the snow is super deep and fluffy we will take out the snowshoes and float on top! Wildlife spotting alert: This is a rugged, wilderness park where bears, wolves, moose, deer, and grouse share the trails with hikers! There are also plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery of Benson Lake. The total trip distance is 2 miles and considered easy to moderate in difficulty.
Thanksgiving at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts
Enjoy a November North Shore getaway and celebrate Thanksgiving at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts! Leave the cooking up to us and indulge in our Thanksgiving Buffet at the Bluefin Grille. We’ll be serving up a traditional buffet from 1-6pm on Thursday, November 22nd complete with chef-carved meats, classic sides, harvest platters, soup, salads, and bakery treats. You can view the full menu and details here: Thanksgiving Menu.
Please call 218-663-6200 to make your Thanksgiving Buffet reservations.
Here are a few other reasons we wouldn’t want to be anywhere but on Lake Superior’s North Shore during November and the Thanksgiving holiday:
THE GALES OF NOVEMBER! Wave watching in November and December when the gales whip up the lake is a favorite activity by guests and locals alike. When nature puts on a show, you want a front row seat and there is no better place to watch the Gales roll in than from the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. Take advantage of the Gales Offer – stay three nights and get one FREE!
LUTSEN MOUNTAINS IS OPENING! The early snowfalls and lower temps have been optimal for the snowmakers on the ski hill. Lutsen Mountains is currently planning to open for skiing on November 17th! Combine your Thanksgiving festivities with a little skiing! Stay tuned to the Lutsen Mountains website for ski hill updates.
HOLIDAY SEASON KICK-OFF! We get excited about the fun local activities and events that happen in our cozy North Shore community this time of year. Countless outdoor activities and cozy indoor relaxation are high on everyone’s list but there are also some fun special events and festivals that you won’t want to miss. Find family fun and joy at events like the Oh Ole Night in Grand Marais on November 23rd and Light Up Lutsen on November 24th. Find more information on these events plus many other activities, special events, and live music on the Visit Cook County Events Calendar.
Awesome (& Artful) Autumn!
In addition to the beautiful fall colors that are just beginning to make an appearance, it is almost time to celebrate the incredible artists along Minnesota’s North Shore. The Art Along the Lake Fall Studio Tour begins September 28th and runs through October 7th. Over 20 local artists and galleries will offer experiences like views into their studios, demonstrations, special art exhibits, and hands-on activities. Click here for a brochure complete with a map and artist listings.
Viewing all of that amazing local artwork may inspire you to get out into nature to experience even more beauty. Take advantage of the many adventures provided by our activities department – Wilderness canoeing, guided hikes to view the fall colors, bike rides, Saturday kids activities, yoga, and shuttles to the Nort Shore Winery. Add a little pampering at the Waves of Superior Spa for the ultimate Autumn getaway. Art, Adventure, and Ahhh…
Also, Here at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we will be providing a weekly Fall Color Report. Look for it in our blog and social media every Monday through mid-October!
Fall Color Report: Fall Fun at Lutsen Mountains!
Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts Fall Color Report: 90% Summer Colors and 10% Fall Colors. We are reporting little to no color change by Lake Superior with a bit more fall colors peeking through 1-2 miles inland. It’s still mostly green out there!
A fall color tour to Minnesota’s North Shore isn’t complete without a trip up to Lutsen Mountains. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from the shores of Lake Superior at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts and offers fun for the whole family.
The Summit Express Gondola is one of our favorite ways to view the fall colors. You’ll travel above the treetops heading up 1,000 feet to the top of Moose Mountain with views of the autumn colors, Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains. Hop out at the Summit Chalet for even more breathtaking views, scenic overlooks, and hiking trails. For those looking to add a long hike to their Lutsen Mountains experience, we recommend heading out on the Superior Hiking Trail starting from the end of the road that runs past the main ski area. This 4.5-mile hike winds across the Poplar River and around the back of Mystery and Moose Mountain through forests of cedar, brightly colored maple and aspen. The hike ends at the top of Moose Mountain where you can purchase a ticket and head back via the gondola – a sweet way to end a rewarding hiking adventure! The Summit Express Gondola is open daily through October 21.
The Alpine Slide is perfect for those looking for a few thrills during their fall color tour. One of the best parts of this activity is the chairlift ride to the top of Eagle Mountain providing a unique view of the fall beauty. Your trip down can be fast and thrilling or slow and easy as you zip down a half-mile track on your sled. This one is a family favorite! The Alpine Slide is open weekends through October 21.
This week’s Lutsen Mountains fall photo gallery…
Activity Spotlight: Caribou Falls!
Our Caribou Falls guided hike begins with a short shuttle drive to a favorite Minnesota State Wayside. A pleasant walk along the Caribou River leads to one of the most breath-taking waterfalls on the North Shore! We’ll descend four flights of stairs to the base of the stunning 35-foot waterfall and then hike back up to the top…remember to count the number of steps for bragging rights later on! We’ll spend plenty of time at the base of this incredible waterfall just taking in the sights and sounds of this pretty river gorge. Once we start our climb back up and reach the top of the stairs, we’ll continue north on the trail for a short distance where you’ll enjoy a large observation platform with an amazing view of Lake Superior and the falls below.
The Caribou Falls hike is a great family activity because of its shorter distance and relatively gradual incline. Those who do not want to tackle the long set of stairs to the base of the falls can choose to head straight to the observation deck where you’ll enjoy a longer pit stop for enjoying the view. This hike is wonderful in all seasons but especially in the spring when the waterfalls are really rushing and in the fall as the leaves are popping with color!
The feeling of standing at the base of the 35-foot waterfall!
The large overlook platform with Lake Superior views and the Caribou River gorge far below. This spot is perfect for family photos or a romantic proposal!
Summer’s Last Blast!
Summer is still here in full force but there is just something about mid-August that makes us feel like time is running out and we need to do what we can to hold onto those summer vibes. That means it’s time to plan one last summer getaway!
Most of Minnesota is feeling a bit of a heat wave this summer and now is the perfect time to take advantage of Lake Superior’s built-in air conditioner!
In case you need a few more reasons to plan that one last summer adventure with family or friends to Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts:
Summer resort activities are in full swing! Check out our Activities Calendar to plan complimentary adventures like wilderness canoeing, Lake Superior kayaking, guided hikes, bike rides, Kids Adventure Club, and so much more! Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to just hang out by the shores of Lake Superior, roast marshmallows, dine with a view, and just watch the waves.
A cool breeze off Lake Superior. Need we say more?
Discover Sugarloaf Cove
We are really fortunate to be located just a short drive from a beautiful and very special place dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the entire North Shore of Minnesota: Sugarloaf Cove. Here you’ll find one of the most beautiful protected coves on the lake, interpretive nature trails, a nature center, and year-round programs on geology and wildlife. Sugarloaf Cove is the North Shore Stewardship Association and their mission is to “inspire the preservation and restoration of the North Shore’s unique environment through education and exemplary stewardship, especially at Sugarloaf Cove.”
Sign-up for one of our complimentary resort guided hiking trips to Sugarloaf Cove where our guides will lead you on a marked interpretive route through a Red Pine Plantation that showcases the logging history and geological history of the North Shore. This 1.5-mile round trip hike is easy and perfect for the whole family.
Or, head out on your own Sugarloaf Cove adventure. To get there it is just a short 5 – 10-minute drive from the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts properties and located just off Highway 61. Grab a trail guide from the nature center and enjoy a walk along the interpretive trail, visit the picturesque cove surrounded with 1.1 billion-year-old rocks, visit the interpretive center to talk with the staff about this incredible area, or participate in one of their nature programs. Here are a few of their other on-going weekly programs:
Bird Banding on Thursdays: Sugarloaf Cove is participating in bird research to learn their migratory patterns, how long they live, and where they nest. Get up close to a wild bird (and maybe even hold one!) during their bird banding sessions to see what’s happening with our Minnesota birds.
Stories in Stone on Sundays: The Sugarloaf beach has many different kinds of rocks and you can find out how they got there, how to spot an agate or Thompsonite, and how this area was formed on this casual walk with a Sugarloaf guide.
Friday and Saturday programs change weekly and include topics like Small Life in Big Lakes, The Story of Sugarloaf Cove, The world at Dusk, and Moose Stories.