Josh’s 31st birthday was last weekend and I decided a few months ago that I was going to do something special. He is always going out of his way to plan special things for me, and I wanted to return the favor.
I read about Grand View Lodge in Minnesota Monthly a few years ago. I don’t remember the ad specifically, but I remember that it was appealing enough for me to google it and find out more. I was sold. I’ve been telling Josh about it since then and trying to convince him to go. He liked the idea, but on the rare occasion that we have a weekend away, we usually end up going to the Twin Cities, so this seemed unlikely.
As I was trying to decide what my grand gesture would be, I thought about how many times we’ve talked about going to Grand View Lodge. I went to their website and found a great deal that included lodging, meals and recreation; specifically cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, two activities we’ve talked about doing for four years. I booked it and counted down the days until his birthday.
I decided that this would be a surprise, but Mother Nature thwarted those plans.
We have had an unseasonably warm late winter/early spring, which is cause for celebration and happy dances. But it is also cause for snow melting, which makes cross-country skiing and snow shoeing impossible. I called Grand View the Monday before we arrived to find out if, by some miracle, they still had snow and the (very polite) lady laughed as she answered.
So, with my recreation options limited, I told Josh what we were doing the day before we left so that I could get his feedback on what he would like to do when we weren’t sleeping or eating (since I had already taken care of those details).
After we checked in, we walked back to our car. Josh stopped in the parking lot, looked around and said “Hmmm. I had no idea what you were talking about all these years when you kept saying that you wanted to go to Grand View Lodge. I just thought it was a hotel. This is nice!” I couldn’t believe it. In his defense, it is called Grand View LODGE, but it is so much more than just a lodge. The lodge is the center piece of the property, which includes 7,000 acres, 2,500 feet of lakeshore on Gull Lake, 3 golf courses, 7 restaurants and lodging for 1,000 people. It is a premier resort in the Minnesota north woods. So, his assessment of “nice” was an understatement.
Even without cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, we found plenty to do to fill our time. We played Bingo, tennis, shuffleboard and checkers. As I type this, I’m realizing that this weekend may have prepared us for retirement life…..
The weather was decent while we were there, so we did a fair amount of exploring. The property is stunning. From the moment we arrived, we talked about coming back. So, in addition to soaking up the scenery, we were also scoping future lodging sites.
The ice was still on the lake, but it was easy to see how awesome that beach would be during the summer.
The food was beyond fantastic. We had dinner at the Lodge Dining Room and Cru. Their breakfast buffet made us consider arriving at 7AM when it opened and just hanging out with a newspaper until 11AM when it closed, but decided that the scores of people waiting for a table wouldn’t appreciate that. We had lunch at Northwoods Pub, where Josh got a burger that tasted even better than it looked, which is saying something.
It was also March Madness, so we did spend time just hanging out in our room, watching basketball and eating leftovers because as un-glamorous as it sounds, it was absolutely luxury for us in this stage of life.
We couldn’t justify paying for the spa services that were offered, but I did take advantage of the jet tub in our room. And I forgot about the jets in tubs agitating bubbles, so added a little too much soap. Oops.
It was so good to get way. Nearly 48 uninterrupted hours to relax, eat, play, sleep, eat, talk and walk was just what we needed. We took more selfies in that 48 hours than in the entirety of our 5 1/2 year marriage, and we’re still pretty terrible at it. But, we hope to be back again soon. Maybe next time with a selfie stick. (Probably not).