Photographs by David Bowman
The most majestic lodge approach in Minnesota now (above) and in 1924 (below).
“But what will you do while we’re in Kid’s Club?” It’s not an uncommon question for a child to ask their parent on the way to Grand View Lodge’s Kid’s Club. After all, the children know that they’ll be spending their day racing turtles, beading bracelets, scavenging the woods for clues during scavenger hunts, capturing flags, and accomplishing all those old-fashioned things kids like to do in a pack with other kids. So if the kids get to have all the fun, it stands to reason that they might worry about their parents: “You’re going to do nothing? NOTHING?”
Not exactly. Ever read The Onion headline: “Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties In Closer Proximity To Ocean”? Not at Grand View! While the tots wage water balloon war, their parents might hit the Glacial Waters Spa, fold into the thickest terry robes imaginable, and sip herbal tea in front of the roaring fire while waiting for 90-minute massages or seaweed facials.
Post-massage? A sauna, a long soak in an in-cabin whirlpool, or a long sit in an Adirondack chair under a canvas umbrella while big old silver and endless Gull Lake spreads out before you. A gin and tonic resting on the arm is of course optional. If that’s too peaceful, borrow a bike and ride to nearby shopping destination, Nisswa. Or, hit the boathouse and borrow a canoe or kayak, which are both included in the price of the stay. By 3 p.m. Kid’s Club pickup, everyone’s at the same energy level: spent and relaxed. But not too spent and relaxed to do some sand castle building and trampoline dock jumping before you head back to your cabin to get cleaned up for dinner.
Photo courtesy of Grand View Lodge
Grand View Lodge Roy Villa
Roy Villas are some of Grand View’s many handsomely appointed lodging options.
But wait a second. How can any place possibly be so relaxing? Turns out it took some doing. Grand View was founded in 1916 by M.V. Baker, but relaxation only became its chief commodity this century. Not too long ago, Grand View was known as a premier tennis resort, and then focused on building a reputation for championship-caliber golfing. And while it still hangs its hat on both activities, more recently the Cote family, who purchased the resort from Baker in 1937, started investing more in the stuff that makes people relax—like the spa, the restaurants, and the technology infrastructure that lets you make banana tubing and horseback riding reservations from home in February for your July vacation. They’re even developing an app that lets you order mai tais from your beach chair.
But back to dinner. About as stress-free as it gets, dinner at any of the on-property restaurants is included with Grand View’s take on all-inclusive: the American Plan. Hit Cru for the national-class wine list, or Italian Gardens, because, hey, kids love spaghetti. But if you really want to do it right, hit the lodge dining room. Set in the majestic log main lodge, which is as much the crown jewel of Grand View today as when it was built in 1921, it offers the property’s best craft cocktails and a great local Wild Acres roast chicken, too.
Post-meal, make your way down to the beach where staffers man bonfires and hand out the makings of s’mores. As the royal blue summer darkness transforms into the infinite flecks of yellow-white stars, sit on the dock listening to the water lap against the pilings and enjoy your grand view.
At a glance: Grand View Lodge
23521 Nokomis Ave., Nisswa, 218-963-2234, grandviewlodge.com
- Founder: M.V. Baker, owned by the Cote family since 1937
- Season: Year-round
- Activities: Golf, fishing, billiards, tennis, jet skiing, boating, canoeing, spa, and more
- Pricing: Room-only rates starting at $150 per night. American Plan rates starting at $300 per night per adult.