The Lodge at Giants Ridge: Rustic Comfort in Minnesota's Scenic Northwoods
Knotty, varnished boughs frame the lobby of The Lodge at Giants Ridge and glow warmly in the light streaming through the front windows, a stark contrast to the snowy wonderland outside. Guests returning from nearby ski slopes shed their downy garments as they make their way up the wide staircase or to the on-site Sticks Lounge for a pre-dinner drink or appetizer. Bordered by bucolic Sabin Lake amid Minnesota's expansive Northwoods, The Lodge at Giants Ridge furnishes a pleasant retreat promising rustic quarters and year-round outdoor activities.
Spacious Mesabi one-bedroom condominiums greet travelers with a cozy living area separated from the private bedroom and bordered by a fully equipped kitchenette. A sumptuous king bed reigns over the bedroom's blond wood furnishings, and up to two additional guests can stretch out on the double futon in the living room. Select rooms also add warmth via a whirlpool tub and fireplace, and for an up-charge, groups can upgrade to a doubly large Northwoods two-bedroom suite, which adds two queen beds, a double Murphy bed, and an additional bathroom.
Downstairs in the lodge, Timbers Restaurant crafts sirloin steaks, fettuccine alfredo, and homemade pizzas in a laid-back atmosphere, and Sticks Lounge compiles nachos supreme, tangy beef skewers, and other flavorsome appetizers to prep for fresh walleye. The on-site La Ridge, an Aveda spa and salon, ministers to weary muscles with luxurious, one-hour relaxation and deep-tissue massages and facials, with Groupon holders receiving 50% off any spa services, as long as they are booked prior to arrival.
Northern Minnesota: Outdoor Excursions and Small-City Charms
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.