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Ten Favorites – Outstate Minnesota

Posted Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 12:46 am GMT -6 in Food, Golf, Marathons, Nature, Skiing

Continuing on with the ten favorites theme I started a few days ago, here is my initial pass at outstate Minnesota. There is a heavy focus on the northern part of the state, as I’ve spent the most time there. Other areas are very nice too, but maybe that can be a third post down the road.

1. Devil’s Kettle Hiking Trail

Part of the Judge C.R. Magney State Park, the trail to the Devil’s Kettle is pure North Shore beautiful. It’s not too long or too tough, so almost everyone can do it, and I just love that we haven’t figured out the mystery of where all that water goes.

2. World’s Best Donuts and Sven & Ole’s Pizza

Grand Marais is such a beautiful town. I’ve been lucky enough to visit almost every year of my life, so I’ve had plenty of time to see the dining options come and go. These two establishments are firmly planted within shouting distance of each other and continue to be must visits on every single trip I take.

3. Lutsen Mountains and Lutsen Resort

Lutsen has always been Minnesota’s only “real” ski area and I love visiting any time of the year. The golf course added another dimension and the original Lutsen Resort on the lake holds special memories of my friend Megan’s beautiful wedding on the beach.

4. Gooseberry Falls (above) and Split Rock Lighthouse

Gooseberry Falls State Park represents everything that is good about the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Gorgeous setting, nice visitor center, easy access off highway 61, miles of great trails and photogenic waterfalls. And it’s all free.

Just down the road, Split Rock isn’t free, but what a wonderful historic site. Another great visitor center, friendly, informative guides, super cool lighthouse structure and a beautiful hiking trail down to the lake and the iconic photo opportunity that awaits.

5. Ely Blueberry Festival

This is a relatively new thing for me, but I’ve been to the last two Blueberry Festivals in Ely and will plan to keep coming back. My parents have been going for years and it’s just down the road from work, so I think it’s officially tradition now.

6. The Wilderness at Fortune Bay and The Vermilion Club

Speaking of work, it’s a no brainer to include The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, Golfweek’s #1 public course in Minnesota.

Best. Benefit. Ever.

After the round, the food at the resort is good, but nothing compares to the VC. You know your foursome needs a Bamboozler…

7. Grandma’s Marathon

This race lacks the total spectator count of Twin Cities, but it’s so very special in a different way. Taking the train to the start, the beauty of Lake Superior, the crowds when you enter the city, the party at the end – Grandma produces a world-class event. A true showcase for the city of Duluth.

8. Tobies Caramel Rolls

Not quite halfway between the Twin Cities and Duluth, the pit stop in Hinckley almost always means a visit to Tobies. And Tobies means caramel rolls – soft, sweet, sticky caramel rolls. Yum.

9. Brainerd Area Golf – The Classic, The Pines, The Preserve and Deacon’s Lodge

While I’ve photographed all of these courses, I’ve actually only played two of them (The Classic and The Preserve). Throw in Golden Eagle and you have a solid week of great Minnesota resort golf. One of these years I’ll organize a buddy trip to do just that.

10. Greg’s Meats

Last, but not least, Greg’s Meats is located just north of Cannon Falls on highway 52. While they have lots of great things for sale, all I have to say is: beef jerky time!

What else do you like outstate?

Originally published by DK on May 2, 2012 at 12:46 am

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