From suites to condos to luxury log homes, we have plenty of lodging options to choose from at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. Whether you’re traveling with your extended family or it’s just you and your pup, we have a unit that will suit you perfectly.
Can you believe that it’s already time to begin thinking about Spring Break? It’s true. This year it will be important to book early and plan ahead as much as possible. The good news is that the best days of winter are ahead of us! Late February and March are some of the sunniest, snowiest days on the North Shore and we are ready.
For the winter adventure seekers, the trail conditions will be in prime shape. Spend a day downhill skiing at Lutsen Mountains. Snowshoe the Superior Hiking Trail or the Onion River Canyon. Maybe try cross country skiing, if you’ve never done it. The added sunshine and warmer temps make Spring an optimal time to try out new winter activities. Remember, we have complimentary snowshoes and cross country skis available for guest use!
For those that could use a relaxing getaway, we’ve got you covered. At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, the indoors have just as much to offer as the outdoors. Enjoy expansive Lake Superior views from your unit, a cozy crackling fireplace, or a massage at Waves of Superior Spa.
And don’t forget about our guided tours, ice rinks, pool areas and restaurants! There is so much to do when you stay at Bluefin Bay, Surfside or Temperance Landing. You can be as busy as you want to be. We have extended stay offers to help you take advantage of it all so book your Spring Break trip today!
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.
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
It’s safe to say 2020 will be a year to remember, whether we want to or not. At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we end this year with deep appreciation and gratitude for YOU, our loyal guests.
We thank those of you who have returned year after year, putting your trust in us to be a safe home away from home. And we’re grateful for the new guests who visited us for the first time this year. We look forward to welcoming you back. It is our privilege to share the beauty of our resorts and the North Shore.
The Winter Fishwrapper is Here!
Here on the North Shore, we received a few early snowfalls that had us dreaming about winter back in October! Now we can finally say winter is here. Lutsen Mountains ski area is open, lakes are freezing over and we’ve got some lasting snow a few miles inland from Lake Superior. Pretty soon our ice rink will be up and running and we’ll have snowshoes and cross country skis available for guest use. We like to help you plan your winter vacations by publishing our semi-annual newsletter – The Fishwrapper. It’s a great way to get inspired and this year, it will help you plan for any changes on the North Shore.
See Mother Nature Dance – Cross the Northern Lights off your Bucket List
Tips for a Healthy and Safe Winter Getaway
What to Expect at Lutsen Mountains this Winter
A New Ownership Duo for Our Beloved Resorts – Meet the New Owners!
Favorite Socially Distanced Activities
Grab a warm cup of coffee, snuggle up and enjoy!
Winter Activities Update
A couple of weeks ago we did a blog post on what to expect for winter activities at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. With the new guidelines from the state of Minnesota, some of the activities have evolved a bit so we wanted to provide an update. Rest assured, there will still be PLENTY to do this winter and our activities team is really looking forward to being your local guide to the North Shore. We have the inside scoop so don’t hesitate to stop by and ask about trail conditions, where to go to see a moose or how the skiing is at Lutsen Mountains. In fact, we encourage you to try and stump the crew with a really difficult question about the area ?
Rather than physically being present with you, we have decided to create adventure packs for our guests so that you can go on self-guided excursions. In this way, we can still “guide” you on your hike, we just won’t actually be there with you. The packs will be available around December 10th and will include things like laminated trail maps and trail activities. What do we mean by trail activities? Think bonfire hike materials, forest ecology information, animal track bingo, winter tree identification information. Basically any of the fun, interesting tidbits we typically provide on guided hikes, we’ll give to you!
Use of Equipment
The convenient part of these guidelines being during the winter season is that we are already set up in a self-serve way with all of our equipment. Snowshoes, Cross Country Skis and Ice Skates have always been available to our guests during the winter, and that will be true again this year. We do need a bit more snow before we’ll begin making these items available so think snow! We are hoping the ice rink will be ready in a couple weeks as long as the weather remains cold.
If you read our last blog post, you know we had added two new craft activities that we were excited about. We went back to the drawing board and we’ll be introducing activities that you can do on your own or as a family. This will include medallion hunts (we had the first one on Thanksgiving weekend!), scavenger hunts and other family challenges. If you have ideas on these, let us know! We are always open to hearing guests’ suggestions. If the guidelines continue longer than currently forecasted, we’ll look in to more virtual activities like zoom yoga and online craft classes.
If you have any questions about our new activities or have any ideas for us, please give us a call at 218-663-7860. And remember – there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.