It’s the middle of summer…or the middle of winter….and the kids are starting to feel cooped up and maybe just a little bit bored. This means one thing, your family needs a vacation! Nothing major, just a quick getaway that will make everyone happy. You need a destination that has a few sites to visit for some family fun, good places to eat, a little bit of shopping, and somewhere to get out on or into the water. The answers to your problems are a visit to Ely, Minnesota and a stay at the Grand Ely Lodge.
The Grand Ely Lodge is a four season destination that is in a prime location on the edge of Ely, Minnesota. The resort sits high on the shore of Shagawa Lake, and is across the street from the abandoned Pioneer Mine. Next to the Pioneer Mine is a paved trail for walking and biking around Miner Lake, perfect for a before breakfast or after dinner walk. Plus, the resort is less than a three minute drive to Ely’s main street (Sheridan St.) shops and restaurants!
Want a better idea of how perfect this resort is? You have to watch the video that plays when you open up the homepage of their website. You can watch it here. Once I saw this, I knew we needed to go there.
So watch the video, read my inside look at this resort, and start planning your family getaway to the Grand Ely Lodge!
The Grand Ely Lodge Resort and Conference Center
Ely, Minnesota is in the Northwoods of Minnesota, and the Grand Ely Lodge fits right in with it’s surroundings. It has a log cabin feel, and instantly feels comfortable once you walk through the front doors. Of course, once you walk through the doors and into the lobby, you’re probably looking up at the high ceilings, wood beams, and animal mounts.
The lobby at Grand Ely Lodge is more than a place to check in for your stay. It’s a gathering spot for guests, with games laid out on the coffee table just waiting to be played. Your family can grab a coffee drink or snack at the cafe, and eat at one of the many tables set up for guests. Or you can hang out while waiting for the rest of your family before you dine in the Evergreen Restaurant or Antler’s Lounge.
The lobby gift shop is hard to pass by, and has a large selection of clothes and toys. Nice clothes too…the sweatshirt I bought is super soft! Don’t miss the racks of brochures and travel guides near the elevator that highlight the fun activities in the surrounding area.
The Rooms at Grand Ely Lodge
There are 61 rooms, on three levels, available at the resort. There are the lake view rooms overlooking Lake Shagawa, and then there are the mine view rooms. I bet your family hasn’t stayed at a hotel with that kind of view! The mine view rooms overlook the Pioneer Mine and the Lodge’s parking lot, so they come with a lower price tag.
The lower level rooms with a lake view, also get a patio. Lucky! It’s not a private patio, but there is a table with two chairs. It’s so quiet and peaceful overlooking the lake, that it’s worth the extra money to book a lake view room. A handful of those lower level patio rooms are even pet friendly, so keep that in mind if you travel with your pet.
We noticed a lot of large families vacationing here, and the Lodge does have some larger rooms available. There are two room suites, one room suites with bunk beds, and deluxe rooms with a king or 2 queen size beds. Since the lodge has a number of gathering spaces for guests, it really is a fantastic destination for that multi-generational family trip or reunions.
Room rates vary depending on the time of year you visit, but they seem to always have a lodging promotion available on their website. Our “mine view”, two queen deluxe room cost $129 per night. This rate was for mid-week in June and part of a $20 off per night promotion. And of course you can’t stay anywhere anymore without a nightly resort fee. The Grand Ely Lodge is no exception, and has a nightly resort fee of 10% of your room rate plus tax. They actually offer a lot of amenities for the resort fee. Besides the usual freebies (wifi, coffee, business center), they offer free canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals, a nightly campfire, and snowshoes for those staying during the winter.
The floorplans for their rooms are on the Grand Ely Lodge website, which is always helpful. Our room included a table and chairs, microwave, coffeemaker, refrigerator, and a separate sink area outside of the bathroom. The beds were comfortable, although the pillows were small, and the room was quiet.
The Grand Ely Lodge Pool
I know your kids probably don’t care about the lobby or the rooms, they just want to see the pool. Well, everyone is going to be happy with the pool at Grand Ely Lodge!
The first pool you’ll see is for the littlest of kids and ranges from 12 inches to 18 inches deep. The water is warm too! The larger than average main pool is 3 1/2 feet – 4 feet deep with the water being on the cool side. It didn’t take long to get used to it though! And then there’s the hot tub with hot water, strong jets, and very relaxing!
The pool area also had a sauna, bathroom, soda machine, exercise room, and a few tables to sit at. This is a two level pool area, and there were more table and chairs upstairs where food was allowed. Also upstairs was the game room with a large table for groups, video games, table games, and ping-pong.
During the months of June through September, the pool is only for lodge guests. During the other months of the year it is open for use by the Ely community.
The Food at Grand Ely Lodge
Wait until you see the menu for the Evergreen Restaurant at Grand Ely Lodge! They have a huge selection of entrees to choose from for all three meals of the day. Some of the highlights are the Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast, Grand Eggs Benedict, Chicken Wild Rice Soup, and Shore Lunch Bluegill Dinner.
Are your kids ages 10 and under? If so, they eat for free if ordering off the children’s menu. You will get a voucher at check in that explains the benefit. The main stipulation is that there is an adult from their room dining with them.
Are the kids getting antsy while waiting for your food? Take them out onto the deck to walk around or maybe spot some wildlife. The view is fantastic so be sure to take a few photos.
The cafe in the lobby has some snacks, light meals, drinks, and desserts for sale. Complimentary local coffee is available every morning until 9:00 or so. If you like the coffee, as much as we did, it’s sold at the Ely Northland Market.
Opening at 11:00 a.m. each day is the Antler’s Lounge. This is where you can order your favorite beverage and relax while enjoying the lake view. This is also the place to go if you are looking for a lighter meal. Their menu has a variety of appetizers, flat breads, sandwiches, and quesadillas.
Room service is available from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and you order from the Evergreen Restaurant’s menu.
The Great Outdoors at Grand Ely Lodge
I mentioned that the Grand Ely Lodge is a four season resort, but to take full advantage of all of it’s offerings, you want to visit in the summer or fall.
During the warmer weather days, your family will want to play out on the water of Lake Shagawa. The Lodge has water toys available for resort guest use and they are free! Remember that resort fee? This is part of what it covers. You can rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, and various other toys for two hours. Just take a walk down the hill to the dock, and someone will be down there waiting to assist you. There are also life jackets, so don’t worry about bringing your own.
Down by the docks are where you’ll find the playground, picnic areas (one has a grill), and the campfire. People fish from the docks, but swimming is discouraged. There is a public swim area near by.
Across from the entrance to Grand Ely Lodge is the Pioneer Mine, Miners Lake, and the Trezona Trail. The Trezona Trail goes all the way around Miners Lake, and is a paved trail for walking and biking. Don’t expect lake views though, the trail is through the trees, but you can detour to the lake in a few places. The trail is just under 4 miles long, and is mostly flat.
After you explore the Pioneer Mine and take a stroll on the Trezona Trail, your family may want to make the short drive to downtown Ely to explore the shops and restaurants. Or maybe you just want to head back to the swimming pool or lounge on the patio and take in the view. Either way, your family’s quick getaway to Ely was just what you needed!
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