Join us on this bucket-list overnight adventure to beautiful Ely, MN to embark on a weekend that you’ll never forget! From driving your own dog-team through snow-covered trails, snowshoeing through the pristine Northwoods just outside of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness, delicious hearty meals, relaxing next to a roaring fire, and taking in the rustic downtown streets of Ely… this weekend getaway has something for everyone! Not only will you find fun and adventure, but GetKnit will plan all the details of your weekend “up north” so you can truly relax and enjoy this one-of-a-kind bucket-list overnight experience.
Our weekend will begin bright and early on Saturday morning as we gather at St. Paul’s Union Depot where your local GetKnit Gurus will excitedly await your arrival with a delicious pastry and coffee. We’ll be able to store your luggage safely below and then board our luxury coach bus that will whisk us away for our journey to the northland! On our way north we will make a pitstop in Duluth for a lakeside family-style brunch at The Boat Club Restaurant in the historic Fitgers complex. Here we’ll be treated to a spread of scrambled eggs, French toast, sausage, country potatoes, and fruit.
After eating our fill and re-caffeinating, we will hop back aboard our coach and continue our journey to Ely, MN which is nestled just outside of the world renowned Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Upon arriving we will make a stop at Gator’s Grilled Cheese Emporium for a light lunch of homemade tomato basil soup and their delicious 4-cheese grilled cheese. From there, we’ll travel to the nearby International Wolf Center. Here we’ll get a special welcome and get to enjoy their “Gray Wolf 101” program in the center’s amphitheater that looks out onto their wolf sanctuary with hopes of getting a glimpse at their resident wolf pack. After this introductory program we’ll have an opportunity to explore their many exhibits at our own speed with some free time.
After our introduction to Ely, we’ll reload our trusty transport and travel to our accommodations for the evening at the Grand Ely Lodge, which is located just one mile from downtown Ely but still nestled away in the Northwoods on Shagawa Lake. After checking into our Lakeview room, we’ll have roughly two hours of free time to clean up, relax, and enjoy our accommodations at this beautiful property. During this time our coach will also do several shuttles back-and-forth to downtown to give you the opportunity to explore the shops and restaurants along mainstream and beyond should you choose.
After working up our appetites with a full day of travel and exploring, we’ll come back together for a happy hour at the Antlers Lounge at the lodge and enjoy an included beer, wine, rail drink or or non-alcoholic beverage before heading to dinner. From there we’ll take a short jaunt to the Ely Steak House, a classic small-town supper club loved by locals and tourists alike. Here we’ll be able to choose between their world famous Bucky Burger, Walleye sandwich, Garden burger, 7 oz. New York Strip, Chargrilled Chicken Breast, Fried Walleye Fillet, or an Eggplant Parmigiana – each served with a garden salad and your choice of an included glass of craft beer, house wine, rail cocktail, or non-alcoholic beverage.
After dinner, the night is yours to do with what you will! Explore Ely by checking out the different watering holes, head back to the lodge to enjoy a dip in their whirlpool, take a moonlit walk down main street, or head home to rest up for Sunday’s adventures. Your GetKnit Gurus are happy to make suggestions and join in your evening excursions! For your convenience our bus will be shuttling folks back and forth several times until 9:00 PM.
The next morning, breakfast will be waiting for you in the hotel’s restaurant. Here we’ll be able to order up a selection of special breakfast items just for our group including The Eagles Nest – their take on Eggs Benedict, Biscuits and Gravy, The Outfitters Breakfast – your choice of eggs, meat, and toast served with hash browns, and more! Once you fill up your belly, we will begin our preparations for the bucket-list day that lies ahead.
We will re-group at approximately 8:30 AM for day two of our Northland adventures. Coffee in hand, we will board our bus and head to the Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge. Wintergreen is the most experienced dogsled outfitter in the business and the only lodge operation devoted exclusively to dog sledding. For a video glimpse into Wintergreen, their dogs, and the sledding adventures they offer – click here. As noted by National Geographic, you’ll “Mush with the Best!” at Wintergreen.
We’ll start off our day together as we receive “Dogsledding 101” to prepare us for our dog sledding adventure. From there, we will split our already small group into two even smaller groups – to create a very intimate experience. Group one will head to the kennel to meet the dogs. The big moment arrives as your guide helps you and another participant launch your sled (2 guests per sled). Off you go, driving your own dogteam on wilderness trails. Along the way, your guide (on skis) will point out wildlife signs and sites of scenic interest for photos, and provide rest stops & snack breaks upon request. When you arrive back at the kennel, you’re welcome to help feed and water your dogs and to visit the lodge for a hot beverage. Meanwhile, the second group will strap on snowshoes for an exploration through the picturesque landscape of the north woods, taking in the views and peaceful serenity of the snow covered trees, lakes, and rivers. During this time guests will also have the opportunity to relax in the lodge by the fire, chat with the guides about the north woods, and enjoy the beauty of the area. Midway through the day, we will warm up in their quaint lodge and refuel with a hearty lunch from the culinary team at Wintergreen. After we have enjoyed our lunch and warmed up, we will swap groups so that everyone will have an opportunity to both dog sled and snowshoe.
After crossing off these huge items on our bucket-list, we will come back together for a celebratory dinner at the Wintergreen lodge. Here we’ll enjoy a delicious family style dinner of salad, homemade lasagnas (a mix of Italian sausage, chicken, and veggie), garlic bread and dessert. Paired with your choice of local craft beer or wine as we cheers to the day’s accomplishments. After we’ve eaten our fill we will board our bus and begin our travels back home to the Twin Cities.
Bellies full, challenges conquered, and opportunities seized, the trip back to the Twin Cities is sure to find you reflecting on a weekend filled with great snow-covered memories.