Imagine driving through a tunnel of orange, red, and yellow leaves on a dirt road in the middle of the forest. There’s nothing quite like it. Below are a few of our favorite Fall Color Drives.
Caution: Always take a paper map with you when driving through the woods in our area. Cell phone service is non-existent on most of these roads. Many of these roads are used as snowmobile trails in the winter, so do not drive on them once snow has fallen.
1. Honeymoon Trail – Start at the Caribou Trail (County Road 4) just north of Lutsen off Highway 61. Wind past Caribou Lake and take Forest Road 164 (Honeymoon Trail) to the left.
When you come to the Sawbill Trail (County Road 2), turn left and return to Highway 61 at Tofte.
2. 6 Hundred Road & Temperance River Road – Start at the Sawbill Trail (County Road 2) and head north about 5 miles. Take a left at the 6 Hundred Road. Here you will find the stunningly beautiful Heartbreak Hill. Continue through the forest and take a left at Temperance River Road.
3. Gunflint Trail – The Gunflint Trail is a paved, scenic byway that winds 58 miles into the wilderness. The route begins in Grand Marais, where you’ll take Highway 61 through the town and then take a left onto the Gunflint Trail. You can take the Gunflint Trail as far as you want. Drive slowly as many moose call the Gunflint Trail home.
4. Grand Portage – As soon as the colors begin changing down by Lake Superior, we recommend a drive to Grand Portage. This stretch of the highway is beautiful, truly showcasing Lake Superior on one side and the Sawtooth Mountains on the other. Grand Portage State Park is home to High Falls, the tallest waterfall in Minnesota. The trail to the waterfall is paved and accessible and would make for a great spot to stretch your legs before getting back into the car.
Meet the Activities Staff
If you have visited Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts this Fall then you have likely encountered some of the wonderful people we have working in our Activities Department. We added three new staff members to our team to be able to offer more programming this winter than ever before.
Pictured from left to right are Keanan, Kayleigh, Jessica and Sean.
Sean Henkenius, also known as “Showtime Sean”, is our enthusiastic Activities Coordinator. Sean came to Tofte from Farmington, NM or the Great Southwest as he refers to it. He has a bachelor’s degree in Adventure Education from Prescott College plus a Master’s degree in Recreation Administration from Southern Illinois University. He has super creative ideas for the direction of the Activities Department and we are lucky to have him!
Jessica comes from North Branch, MN and has a contagious passion for North Shore recreation. She is also a registered yoga teacher and leads many of our classes at the resort. Kayleigh is from Yorba Linda, CA and has a degree in Forestry with an emphasis in Forest Health. She has been working in outdoor education for more than four years and offers a wealth of knowledge. Keanan is originally from Towanda, IL and has loved the outdoors for as long as he can remember. He has a degree in Outdoor Recreation but even better, he is an Eagle Scout! Lastly we have Jon aka “Nature Man” from Albert Lea, MN. Jon is an expert in maintaining our seasonal equipment to ensure guests get quality gear to check out. Jon is also a professional musician and you can find him playing his signature harp guitar along the North Shore.
We hope you will get a chance to meet this fantastic crew sometime this winter!
Book Early for Storm Season
Fall is here! And with it comes one of the most entertaining seasons on Lake Superior. Storm Season, also known as the Gales of November, begins in late October and lasts through mid-December. The low-pressure systems that pass over Lake Superior result in strong winds which have the potential to produce massive waves, like the ones in this video.
And if you are reading this post, then you know that no place brings you closer to Lake Superior than the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. Our lodging facilities at Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing provide a panoramic view of the Great Lake. We also have seating areas, pools and restaurants that offer stunning views of dazzling Lake Superior.
Combine Lake Superior’s wildest season with our resorts’ spectacular views and you have a match made by Mother Nature herself. Throw in wood burning fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, complimentary activities plus delicious on-site dining options and you have the perfect late fall vacation. To make it even sweeter, we offer a third night free when you stay anytime between October 24 and November 30th (excluding Thanksgiving weekend). Be sure to book soon as this time is filling up quickly and when nature puts on a show, you want a front row seat.
Waves & Wellness Weekend
Waves & Wellness Weekend
The team at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts is VERY excited to host Waves & Wellness Weekend this November! We hope you can join us for what is sure to be a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend combining two of our favorite things: self-care and Lake Superior. We have been receiving plenty of questions regarding the upcoming event so we wanted to provide a sneak peek. The schedule will be finalized and posted on September 23rd but for now, this should give you an idea for what to expect.
The event takes place November 12-14th and we expect lodging will fill up quickly for the weekend. Additionally, we have a great offer during that time period. The Gales 3 for 2 offer means that when you stay two nights, you get a free night on us! This offer is available at Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing. Book Hereor give us a call at 218-663-7296.
All activities are included in your stay but advance sign-up is required. Sign-up opportunities will be available beginning on September 23rd when the schedule is posted. Activities will include craft classes, guided hikes, bonfires, yoga and HIIT classes plus a Signature Event on Saturday night that you won’t want to miss! The events and activities will be female-focused but anyone is welcome.
This year’s Signature Event will feature Motivational Speaker and Energy Master, Kristen Brown! Kristen is a frequent media contributor on topics relating to business, professional development, and personal growth. She has been a guest on over 500 media outlets including CNN, Inc., NBC, ABC, Live with Kelly & Michael, HLN, BBC, Fox, Psychology Today, Working Mother, and many more. Kristen writes frequent articles for The Huffington Post, Lifehack, LinkedIn, and her own blog. The Signature Event will also have wine hosted by the North Shore Winery and appetizers hosted by Bluefin Bay.
Return guests have noted that this weekend was previously known as Girls Gone North. We changed the name this year to give more focus to our restorative activities and the November Gales. Rest assured, the female-focused weekend will be similar to previous years and promises to be enjoyable and entertaining.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Local Craft Classes
There’s something about the Autumn season that awakens the artist in all of us. The colorful leaves all around and the chill in the air bring out our creative side. At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we embrace that inspiration with local craft classes.
The classes below are completely free for guests staying at Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot by clicking on the links below. No artistic experience is necessary for any of these classes and all supplies are provided.
Classes at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. The Carolina Snowflake is simple to make and useful as a Christmas tree top ornament or a decorative wall hanging. Jane specializes in basketry utilizing a variety of materials such as birch bark, red osier dogwood and rattan reed.
This workshop is from 12:30 – 4 pm and you can drop in any time! No sign-up necessary. Learn how to dye your own silk scarf and take it home with you! The workshop includes a brief introduction to the dyeing method. You’ll then pick your colors and design, and go to work.
Fall Color FAQs
It may seem a bit early to be thinking about the vibrant red, pumpkin orange and lively yellow leaves that will soon be spread across our shoreline. Fall is notorious for being one of the best seasons to visit the North Shore of Lake Superior and because of that, lodging at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts tends to fill up quickly. If you’re hoping to visit us for this glorious season, read over the FAQs below and book your stay as soon as you can!
Fall Color FAQs
When is the best time to see the Fall Colors? Each year varies but typically the best time is mid-September through mid-October. September is when the maple trees change which brings the brilliant reds and oranges. Towards October is when the birch and aspen trees change, highlighting the forest in golden yellows.
What are the best hikes to see Fall Colors? Some of our favorite local hikes include Oberg Mountain, Lake Agnes and Carlton Peak. See the full list here.
What activities are happening at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts in the Fall? Resort activities including guided hikes, bike and hike tours, fall color kayaking, wilderness canoeing, kids adventure club, art activities, campfire & s’mores and more. Check out our activities calendar here.
Are there any specials or discounts? During peak fall colors, the best discount is our internet savings offer, which you can receive for booking your stay online. We begin our Gales 3 for 2 Special after MEA weekend on October 22nd, which offers 3 nights for the price of 2.
Missing our Girls Gone North!
As many of you know, this upcoming weekend would have been Bluefin Bay’s 13th (!) annual Girls Gone North event. We are bummed to not be able to host this event that is so close to our hearts this year. We wanted to take some time to look back to previous Girls Gone North events. You can see an amusing slideshow of photos from previous years here.
Girls Gone North Weekends are a treasured time for gals to get away and enjoy themselves. We always say that what happens on the North Shore, stays on the North Shore! Our goal at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts is to plan enough activities for the ladies to be as busy as they want to be.
We usually feature a mix of these events:
Hiking. There’s always a couple hiking options throughout the weekend to make sure we get outside to see the beauty of the area. November is an interesting month on the North Shore – we’ve had snow, rain, sunshine, November gales, you name it! There are typically a couple resort guided hikes and then we incorporate a “girls only” hike as well. Together we’ve explored Carlton Peak, Sugarloaf Cove, Oberg Mountain, Caribou Falls, Cascade State Park and more!
Indoor Activities. Last year we tried a new event – Silk Scarf Dyeing Workshops – and we had a blast! We’ve also mixed in other indoor events like our Fitness Fashion Show (2016), Paint & Sip (2017), Girls Only Happy Hour (2018) and more. It’s always fun to try something new with friends.
Yoga. Morning Yoga has always been a restorative and refreshing part of the weekend.
Wine Tasting. When the North Shore Winery opened in 2016, we knew it needed to be incorporated into our fun weekend plans! We have had wine tastings there (resort shuttle included!) every year since. The staff at the Winery are phenomenal and are happy to give us a tour and teach us about the wine making process while we’re there.
Spa Treatments. The Waves of Superior Spa has been generous in giving our Girls Gone North weekend participants discounts on spa treatments and extended hours upon request.
Signature Events. Always the highlight of the weekend, we have enjoyed some impressive signature events! From motivational workshops to skin care seminars to wine pairings, the signature event is always engaging and entertaining. And we are always open to new ideas if you have something you think would be fun.
Even though we can’t be together this year, we’ll be thinking of you all! If you can come visit us in November, we’ll be offering a 3rd night free for the rest of the month. Cheers to Girls Gone North 2021!
Beware the Gales of November
November has arrived! And with it, Storm Season. While November is a quieter time of year on the North Shore in terms of visitors, it is Lake Superior’s loudest season.
In late Fall, low-pressure systems pass over Lake Superior which result in stronger winds. The winds, sometimes called “Nor’easters” can reach up to 50 miles per hour, with gusts up to 100 miles per hour. These wind patterns can result in large waves on our Great Lake, known as the Gales of November. The highest recorded wave on Lake Superior is 28.8 feet, although unofficial wave heights are believed to have exceeded 40 feet.
Thanks to Gordon Lightfoot, many have heard of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But Lake Superior has claimed hundreds of ships into her cool depths. Another notable shipwreck event occurred on November 28th, 1905 when the Mataafa Storm caused 29 vessels to sink or be seriously damaged. One of those vessels was the 478-foot iron ore carrier William Edenborn, which was towing the 436-foot barge Madeira. The large waves caused the towline to part around 3 a.m. and the unpowered Madeira crashed into the shoreline. Around the same time, the Edenborn was whooshed into the mouth of the Split Rock River. The carrier was split in two. Luckily, the Edna G. provided life saving services to both crews and only 2 seamen lost their lives. That storm led to the construction of Split Rock Lighthouse, which was completed in 1910.
And if you have not had the opportunity to discover this memorable season for yourself, consider visiting us this year! Stay 3 nights and take advantage of our Gales of November offer for a free night on us.
Trick or Treat Yo’ Self
Halloween is one of our favorite holidays at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. Creative costumes, scary movies, tasty treats – what’s not to love? We love it so much that we like to kick off the celebrations early on MEA weekend.
So if you are visiting us this weekend, get ready for a spook-tacular time! We will have a pumpkin carving contest for guests. But be warned – we take these kinds of things pretty seriously around here. There are over $300 in prizes. You can pick up your pumpkin and carving tools at Guest Services beginning on Friday. We will be judging and presenting prizes to the winners on Sunday October 18th.
Not coming up for MEA weekend? Join us for Halloweekend! We have a staff costume contest each year and we love when guests join in on the fun.
We will also be beginning a few new activities in the coming weeks. Firstly, we’re bringing back Bonfire Hikes starting on on October 24th. These hikes are usually about 2 miles round trip and are complete with a bonfire and s’mores! Perfect for family-friendly excursions. Secondly, we are introducing a brand new activity that we like to call Guided Wood Burning Class. In this activity, we’ll use hot irons to burn fun designs into round slices of wood. You can create a fun souvenir (think coaster or holiday ornament) or create a gift for someone else. Lastly, we’ll be starting Guided Painting Classes on October 19th. In this class we will be painting a 3” by 4” canvas and we’ll focus on a simple North Shore landscape.
There are plenty of reasons to come visit Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts in the coming weeks! And don’t forget, our Gales 3 for 2 special begins October 18th. Happy Halloween, everyone! Remember to eat, drink and be scary!
Fall Color Report: October 6 – Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts
For this week’s Fall Color report, we couldn’t resist telling you about the delightful scene at our different properties: Bluefin Bay, Surfside on Lake Superior and Temperance Landing on Lake Superior. The DNR’s Fall Color map shows that the North Shore area is past peak, but near the lake the leaves tend to hang around a bit longer than they do inland. It makes for a magnificent view from the guest rooms, pool areas and Bluefin Grille. The dark blue of Lake Superior is the perfect contrast against the yellows and golds. We also begin to see a bit more wave action in October on the big lake. Here are updates from all 3 of our resorts.
Whether you select a stunning lakeside suite, multi-bedroom condo, or a guestroom overlooking the ancient Sawtooth Mountains, you’ll get a front row seat to one of nature’s greatest shows. At Bluefin Bay, we bring you closer to the lake, and to each other.
Dramatic angles, vaulted pine ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, vast expanses of glass, in-suite fireplaces, double whirlpool tubs, glass and tile showers, and more balconies and patios than any other resort on Minnesota’s North Shore – are all right here waiting for you.
There is perhaps nothing as warm and inviting as a log home for escape from our hectic, fast-paced lives. Place it on Lake Superior’s North Shore and you’ve got the perfect destination for family vacations, a couples’ retreat or friends’ getaway.
This will be our last Fall Color report for 2020. We’ve received questions from guests wondering if the colors changed earlier this year than usual. The answer is yes! You can view maps from previous years on the DNR’s fall color page on their website, which we found to be very interesting!