The great state of Minnesota is beautiful during all seasons, but come Autumn, when the air is crisp and the trees begin to turn fiery colors of orange, yellow, and red, the Land of Lakes really shines. We are excited to present the fourth installment of our beloved ‘Fall Foliage’ event series, where we’ll explore the beautiful Iron Range and Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters on our overnight fall foliage adventure. Join us for two foliage-filled days of fall fun as we take in the majesty of this region by bus, foot, and plane!
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 be excitedly awaiting your arrival with a delicious pastry and coffee breakfast. 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 north to take in the majesty of the Superior National Forest at its finest.
We will start our weekend autumn getaway with a visit to the beautiful Giants Ridge for a scenic fall foliage chair lift ride to the top of Giants Ridge mountain. Atop the mountain, we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy majestic views of the Superior National Forest and the surrounding area. Once we’ve enjoyed the eye candy, we will head back down to ground level and head inside Burnt Onion Kitchen and Brews for a scrumptious pub-style lunch.
We will continue on our journey north for a visit to one of Minnesota’s newest state parks, Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park. Here we will start out with an all-levels hike around scenic West Tower Mine Trail, where we’ll witness the deepest mine pit in Minnesota. Afterwards we will break into two smaller groups for a guided hour and half long tour of the Soudan Underground Mine. On this tour we’ll have the opportunity to “experience the life of the miner as you travel by cage 1/2 mile underground. Once underground, you’ll ride the rails 3/4 mile to the last and deepest area that was mined.” Here we will also have some free time to explore the exhibits including the engine house.
Next, we’ll reload our trusty transport and travel to Ely, MN which is nestled in the Superior National Forest and on the edge of the world-famous Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. Upon arriving to town we will head to our accommodations for the evening at the Grand Ely Lodge, which is located just one mile from downtown Ely and perched on the shore of Shagawa Lake. After checking in we’ll have roughly two hours of free time to clean up, relax, and enjoy our accommodations at this beautiful property which include a large indoor pool, sauna, and whirlpool. During this time our coach bus will also do several shuttles back-and-forth to downtown to give you the opportunity to explore the shops, bars, and restaurants along main street 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 or wine 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, 6 oz. Sirloin, Chargrilled Chicken Breast, Walleye Fillet, or an Eggplant Parmigiana – each served with a garden salad and your choice of an included glass of craft beer, house wine, or rail cocktail.
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 relax, take a moonlit walk down main street, or head home to rest up for Sunday’s continued 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 10:00 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 experience that lies ahead!
Between 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM we will assign everyone a specific time to head down to the marina at our lodge (just a short 5 minute walk to the shoreline) where our partners at Adventure Sea Planes will be waiting for us. Just for our group, they’ll be flying in their fleet of four different sea planes to bring us on a scenic air tour over the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters. The various planes seat 2, 3 and 7 people – so we can accommodate groups of various sizes. Once aboard our sea plane, we will take off from Shagawa Lake and soar above the surrounding lakes, fall foliage filled forests for a 30-40 minute aerial tour of this pristine area. During this timeframe, when you’re not soaring in the skies we will have free time to enjoy the morning as you see fit: enjoy a paddle on our lake aboard the lodge’s collection of kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards, take a dip in the whirlpool, or relax on the lodge’s deck overlooking the beautiful countryside.
After we’ve enjoyed this bucket-list experience, we will come back together, get checked out and board our bus to head out of town into the Northwoods for an all-levels hike to the beautiful Kawishiwi Falls. After we’ve breathed in that crisp fall air for one last time we will board our bus and begin our journey home. While on our way, we will enjoy some delicious boxed lunches prepared locally in Ely. As we head home we will be able to take in the grandeur of the countryside from the comfort of our coach and reflect on a weekend filled with beautifully colorful memories.