After the lodge's two award-winning golf courses close in late October, skiers and boarders ride on natural snow at Giants Ridge for the winter, with snowmakers enlisted to outsource Mother Nature's surplus work. Warmer weather excursions in nearby Superior National Forest include more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness, as well as hiking and biking among old-growth boreal forests.About an hour's drive south in Duluth lies Glensheen, a 39-room Jacobean Revival mansion whose original 1908 interior remains largely intact, offering an imitable glimpse into early 20th-century midwestern culture. Down the shoreline, belly-flopping river otters and black-crowned night herons entertain at the Great Lakes Aquarium, which hosts 15 exhibits' worth of amphibians, birds, aquatic animals, and sofas that have sprouted fins.
The culinary maestros at The Cattails Bar & Grill banish hunger cries loitering in bellies throughout the lunch and dinner hours. Midday munchers can wrap mitts around a portable delight such as a Reuben ($7) or jalapeño burger ($8), both served with kettle chips, or can enter the chunky chicken salad to get lost in a garden of golden tenders, fresh veggies, and shredded cheese ($7). Kick off sundown festivities with creamy spinach and artichoke dip ($7), or wistfully pluck away at delicate onion petals to determine if your dining partner loves you or ranch-dressing dipping sauce more ($6). The tender meat of Cattails’ famous barbecue ribs falls off of the bone and into hollow legs ($16 for a half-rack), while bacon-wrapped scallops simultaneously sate lovers of land, sea, and dressing in responsible layers ($18).
Typically, the only time a public bar is lit like a cozy living room is when patrons bring chandeliers with them. But at Jake's City Grille's Plymouth location, homey lamps illuminate a wooden bar, which competes with the elegance of the fireplace inside Eden Prairie?s dining room. Red umbrellas, meanwhile, keep the sun in check on Maplewood?s outdoor patio. Each location cultivates its own one-of-a-kind ambience, such as the warmly lit interior of Eagan?s space and the rustic feel of Gull Lake?s confines. These finely tuned atmospheres create a welcoming place to enjoy seared Ahi tuna, marinated chicken breast sandwiches, and cowboy ribeye steaks so fresh they still have the lasso on them.
A mouth-watering menu of piping-hot pizzas smothered in savory sauces and fresh toppings takes center stage at this friendly, laid-back eatery, outfitted with ample cozy seating. Like a spork or a skort, the cheeseburger pizza, a 10-inch disk displaying ground beef, cheddar cheese, and special sauce ($9.99), merges two classic inventions and contains the letter s.
A tile on the floor inside Dubh Linh points the way to Dublin, warning that the journey is a long 4,657 miles. Despite that distance, locals needn’t travel at all to experience the energy of a real Irish pub. With house-brewed beers and tons of live entertainment, it’s not so hard imagine that just outside Dubh Linh’s doors lies its namesake city.
When creating the house’s beers, the brewmaster works in small batches, each of which makes about four to eight kegs’ worth of brew. To get your hands on a pint, you need only look to the wooden bar where each one resides. Spanning a variety of styles, the beers at any given time may include a citrusy double hop IPA, maple ale, a light peach radler, and a potato stout made from Idaho potatoes.
Alongside that labor of love, the kitchen plates a full menu of pub fare spiked with both Irish and local flavors. Fresh-smoked Lake Superior trout opens meals before diners move on to plates of tender corned beef and cabbage. Six unique wings platters require a choice between sauces such as Wexford buffalo and spicy garlic. Once stomachs are full, regular events keep the festivities going. Whether coming for trivia, free pool on game nights, or comedy shows, there’s something here for every taste.