The camera features 24-hour livestream footage of Bluefin Bay and Lake Superior. It is located on the roof of the Bluefin Grille and will be perfect for viewing our beautiful North Shore sunrises. We hope to showcase the rest of the Bluefin Bay family by adding cameras at Temperance Landing and Surfside on Lake Superior very soon! Now you can truly #NeverMissAWave
Tips for Viewing the Northern Lights
Witnessing the northern lights is a common bucket list item (and for good reason!). They truly are a sensational natural phenomenon. Luckily for us, the northern lights can be visible from Tofte due to our northern location and clear, dark skies. Because this activity is something you can do alone or with your loved ones from your car, it is ideal for this socially distanced winter.
The best time to spot the elusive show is during the winter on a clear night. There are helpful websites which track the levels of geomagnetic activity in different areas, known as KP levels. The KP levels are on a scale of 0-9 and give you an idea of where you can go to see the auroras. In order to see them in Tofte, you will be looking for a KP level of 4 or higher. The website we recommend checking is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Now you may be wondering where to go about seeing the northern lights. The easiest location would be right in front of the Bluefin Grille. The peninsula there extends out into Lake Superior offering a view of the northern sky (like shown in the photo). Be sure to bring a flashlight so you can navigate carefully! Another great spot is up the Sawbill Trail about three miles. There is a pull off area on the left side of the road which features an expansive view of the northern sky. Remember to face north (that one is important!) and to turn off any artificial lights nearby. Bundle up and good luck!
Cross Country Ski Trails Update
It’s been an interesting winter so far in Cook County! We received plenty of snow early in the season and then went a little while without any new snow. Lately we’ve been getting a bit of snow here and there, but not the usual 2 feet snowstorms that we have gotten used to expecting in January.
Overall, the cross country ski trails are in excellent condition. The time period where we didn’t get new snow allowed for the trails to set up really nicely. The downhills can be a bit icy though so be careful! We received 3″ of new snowfall on January 24th and that has helped quite a bit. All trail systems in the area are groomed regularly. The Sugarbush Trail system, which is located nearest to the resort, is reporting phenomenal conditions. The Norpine Trail reports also indicate excellent conditions, but they are suggesting that because of the lack of snow down by the lake, the further away you can get from Lake Superior, the better.
Did you know that there are more than 400 km of cross country trails in Cook County? The trails in Grand Marais and up the Gunflint Trail are magnificent! To see conditions for all trails in Cook County, click here.
All of this information (and the photo below) is current as of January 27th. For consistently updated trail conditions reports, click here. You can also check out SkinnySki.com, which features firsthand trail reports.
**Reminder: Make sure to have a proper ski pass for whatever trail you are using. Trails in the Tofte area require the MN Ski Pass, which can be purchased at Bluefin Bay Guest Services. For maps and location information, click here or visit us the Activities Desk at Guest Services.
The Norpine Fat Bike Classic is a fat tire biking event and being that it takes place in the middle of January, it is not for the faint hearted. There are two distances to choose between: a shorter 14-mile course and a longer 20-mile course. It costs $50 to sign up and the registration fee includes a membership to the Norpine Trail Association, entry into a prize drawing (which includes a two night stay at Bluefin Bay!), a bag lunch and some swag.
What’s different this year? With Covid-19, the event has been reimagined. Rather than a one day event, bikers will be able to ride the course anytime between January 23rd-31st. Riders are expected to be prepared with necessary repair equipment as the ride will not have aide stations on the course. You can register here.
If you have a Fat Tire bike and can’t make it during those dates, fear not. There are fat tire biking trails in the area that you can ride on all winter. Check out this map to see where you can ride, and be sure to purchase a trail pass!
Know Before You Go: Tofte
So far in our “Know Before you Go” series, we’ve covered Lutsen Mountains and the town of Grand Marais. Next we are going to cover our wonderful town of Tofte! There aren’t a ton of shops in the town of Tofte, but we love supporting the ones that are here.
This store is located next to Coho Café and is a favorite with our guests! Right now the hours are a bit sporadic, and we have found that the best place to check is their Facebook page as they update that pretty regularly. It’s most often open from Thursday-Monday this time of year.
Our favorite outdoor adventure store! Sawtooth Outfitters offers rentals of downhill skis and snowboards as well as fat tire bikes! They are open from 8am-6pm, Thursday-Monday.
Waves of Superior Spa
Waves of Superior Spa, located at our Surfside property, is open for massage services. They are operating with a reduced capacity and are not accepting walk-in appointments at this time. Learn more and book your appointment here.
Tofte General Store has all of your basic needs and they are open daily from 8am-7pm (they close at 6pm on Sundays). Holiday Station Store in Tofte also carries most of your basic supplies and they are open from 6am-10pm daily.
There are two liquor stores that are super close to Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. Tofte Bottle Shop, located just across the highway, is open from 8am-7pm and 11am-6pm on Sundays. Temperance Liquors, located near Temperance Landing, is open from 11am-7pm Monday through Saturday.
Tofte Town Park is a great spot to wave watch or have a picnic, as weather allows!
We hope this information is helpful! These details are current as of today, January 13, 2021, but hours can change. For the most current information, click here.
Know Before You Go: Grand Marais
If you’ve visited Bluefin Bay then you have likely made a trip to the quaint, nearby harbor town of Grand Marais. It’s about 25 miles north of Bluefin Bay on Highway 61. The town is known for its cute shops, art galleries, live music, yummy restaurants and the harbor itself.
A trip to Grand Marais looks a bit different in the winter and even more different during Covid-19, so we wanted to make sure to let you know what to expect. We’ll start by saying that most businesses are open and we definitely recommend you go.
Next, go hungry and plan to shop! There are many tasty restaurants in Grand Marais. Whether you are looking for tacos, a brewery, pizza and burgers or just a good cup of coffee, you will find great options for meals in town. There are also wonderful art galleries and gift shops in Grand Marais and most are open year-round. It’s important to support small businesses this year and Grand Marais has many.
Lastly, we would recommend that you plan some time to go see the lighthouse. The lighthouse in the Grand Marais harbor is absolutely iconic and it’s the perfect spot for a photo op. We recommend heading out just before sunset. Be careful though! It can get pretty icy in the winter. If the walk to the lighthouse isn’t safe, you can still see across the harbor from the coast guard parking lot.
Final note. If you are reading this blog post and Covid-19 is over, we have to tell you about one more thing. Grand Marais is home to two of the coolest institutions: North House Folk School and the Grand Marais Art Colony. Plan ahead and sign up for a class or just stop by and say hi. The folks here are some of the kindest, most creative people you will ever meet! Both places host fun events, too!
We hope you find this information helpful in planning your next trip to Grand Marais.
Know Before You Go: Lutsen Mountains
Because this winter is a bit different, we thought we’d start a “Know Before You Go” series. As part of this series, we’ll explain what’s open and you need to know…before you go.
This week we wanted to chat about the biggest winter attraction in the area, Lutsen Mountains. Please note that this information is current as of today, December 30th 2020, but that it is changing all the time. For the most updated information, check out Lutsen Mountains website here.
Here is what you need to know before you go to Lutsen Mountains:
Buy Tickets in Advance. Lutsen Mountains has implemented daily capacity limits. This means that busy days will sell out. You can combine lodging and lift tickets by booking a Ski and Stay package or if you would like to stay longer and ski less, book your lift tickets separately from your lodging. You are required to purchase lift tickets and sign your waiver online and then you can pick up your tickets at the Gondola Base ticket office.
Use Your Car as your Basecamp. Because of the current guidelines in Minnesota, the restaurants at the Ski Hill are only open for takeout dining and bathrooms. This means you will be wanting to use your car to warm up and eat meals.
Arrive Together, Ride Together. Stick with your household on lifts. Guests are asked to self-group and load the lifts with their traveling party. Masks and 6 feet of social distancing are required when in lines and on the lifts.
The Rental Shop is Open. You are required to fill out rental forms online in advance and there are capacity limits for the building, so be sure to arrive early!
Other Information that’s Good to Know:
Bathrooms are open
Ski and Snowboard lessons are available
Outdoor seating is allowed with up to 4 people per table, from the same household
Each year the holiday of Thanksgiving reminds us to give thanks. We take time to remember what we are grateful for and we acknowledge how important that practice of gratitude is. At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we have a lot to be thankful for. We are grateful for our dedicated employees and our owner partners for the trust and energy they give to the resorts. We are thankful for all of our vendors and contractors that help us to provide excellent service. We are grateful for the little slice of heaven that is the North Shore of Lake Superior and our community here. And every year, we are especially grateful for our loyal, return guests. We are also grateful for our new visitors this year and we thank you for trusting us with your vacation experience. We are grateful to all those that choose us as their home away from home ❤❤❤
If you happen to be visiting us this weekend, we wanted to give you the scoop on dining and activities.
Dining on Thanksgiving Day
We will have two dining options available to you on Thanksgiving.
Coho Café will be open for takeout from 8am-3pm. You can see the breakfast & lunch menu here. You can order online here.
Bluefin Grille will be open with a Thanksgiving Menu available from 12-8pm. We do ask that you pre-order your Thanksgiving meals by calling the Grille at 218-663-6200. The Thanksgiving menu will be available for takeout and delivery (delivery only available for guests of Bluefin Bay Resorts). Bluefin Grille will be open the rest of the weekend from 3-8 pm.
Activities on Thanksgiving Day
Due to the recent guidelines announced in Minnesota, our guided excursions are now becoming self-guided excursions. What does this mean? We’ll have someone at the Activities Desk all weekend to help you plan out your adventures. We can tell you where to go if you’re looking for snow, the best locations for a scenic afternoon drive and information on conditions.
On Friday after Thanksgiving, we’ll be hosting a medallion hunt. The hunt will begin at 8am, with clues posted every two hours. Clues will be posted in the Guest Services building and can also be found in the stories section of our Instagram and Facebook pages. The winner will a receive a $100 gift card.
#WinterIsComing – Bluefin Bay Activities
Winter is coming! Are you ready for it? Here on the North Shore we had a few early snowfalls that had us dreaming about winter weeks ago. We’ve already begun hanging holiday lights and preparing the ice rink. But because things are a bit different this year, we wanted to write a blog post on what you can expect at Bluefin Bay for winter activities. As a reminder, all of these activities are included in your stay at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts.
Rentals & Guided Tours
The Bluefin Bay Activities Department has all of the tools to help you make the most out of this winter.
Guided Tours – If you are new to cross country skiing or snowshoeing, you can join one of our guided tours. Our activities crew will provide you with all of the equipment plus basic instruction and feedback.
Cross Country Skiing
Rentals – If you’d rather go out on your own, you can take advantage of our complimentary rental program.
Hockey & Figure Skates
Hockey Sticks & Pucks
New Activities This Winter
At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we are continuously coming up with fresh activities and events to inspire our guests. These activities will be new this year:
Guided Wood Burning Class
Wood burning isn’t just for fireplaces. This activity takes you through everything you need to know about this unique craft. We will be using hot irons to burn fun designs into round slices of wood. Whether you want a fun souvenir, or a gift for a someone we will provide the tools and teaching to get you up and running.
Guided Painting Class
In this class we will be painting a 3” by 4” canvas. We will focus on a simple North Shore landscape. Don’t worry if you’ve never painted before, we’re going to teach you all the tips and tricks you need to succeed.
We know how much our guests enjoy live music so we are working on a way to comfortably and safely have live music outdoors this winter. Stay tuned for more information.
Due to the safety guidelines and logistics on transporting guests, we’ve decided not to offer shuttles to Lutsen Mountains this year. Instead, we are recommending that guests drive to the mountain and use their car as a home base.
Salt and HEPA – A Dining Update from Bluefin Grille + Coho Café
We recognize that dining options are an important part of your decision to stay with us. There have been a few small changes at the Bluefin Grille and Coho Café &
Bakery that we wanted to share with you this week. Please know that this information is current as of October 28th, 2020 but is subject to change. You can check out the dining page on our website for the most current information.
We look forward to having you dine with us this winter! We’ve purchased HEPA air purifiers for both the Bluefin Grille and Coho Café and are also installing ionization technology in the existing ventilation systems, both of which will improve air quality and safety. Tables inside both restaurants have been appropriately spaced according to capacity and social distancing guidelines. If you are planning to dine at Bluefin Grille, please make a reservation in advance. This can be done by calling us at 218-663-6200 or via Open Table. You can also order online for takeout.
Thanksgiving at Bluefin Grille
The holidays will be a bit different this year! We just published our Thanksgiving Day menu. Reservations for Thanksgiving dinner will be available from 12-6pm and can be made online via Open Table or by calling us at 218-663-6200. Be sure to make your reservations early as we do expect it to fill up.
We hope this information helps you know what to expect when planning your stay at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this new service level and work to keep everyone safe and healthy!