A SEASIDE OASIS
We may not have an ocean nearby, but we have Lake Superior, which is pretty darn close. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway reminiscent of a coastal B&B, turn to Bluefin Bay. Nestled along the North Shore, the family of resorts—Bluefin Bay (218-663-7296, bluefinbay.com), Temperance Landing (218-663-7220, temperancelanding.com), and Surfside on Lake Superior (218-663-6870, surfsideonsuperior.com)—makes it seem like you’re anywhere but Minnesota. Some vacationers say views of the rocky shoreline are comparable to Hawaii—you’ve got to see it to believe it.
DIGS You will never get tired of the sun peeking through your second-story window as you rise from your king-sized bed to soak in the no-end-in-sight view of Lake Superior. Romance packages include a master suite with a fireplace, Jacuzzi, champagne, and rose petals (oh my!).
EAT The scenery alone is worth the trip to the Bluefin Grille, but the Coho Café & Bakery and Waves of Superior Café are great for casual, quick bites.
DO He’s more of an adventurer; you just want to relax. Compromise by spending the day kayaking, boating, hiking, or snowshoeing, then retreat back to the resort for a couple’s massage at the Waves of Superior Spa. Act like newly-in-love teenagers while you roast marshmallows around the campfire (complimentary from the front desk) before jumping in the year-round outdoor hot tub.
TRAVEL TIME About a four-hour drive from the Twin Cities, which is the perfect amount of time to recount all your favorite moments from the reception.
7192 Minnesota 61, Tofte, 218-663-7296, bluefinbay.com
A RESORT RETREAT
Madden’s on Gull Lake has all the amenities a hotel provides—restaurants, a spa, housekeeping—nestled within the quiet backdrop of cabin country. It’s perfect for those who enjoy camping but want to treat themselves to the luxuries of going out to dinner, comfy sleeping quarters, and indoor plumbing.
DIGS Book early and you may luck out and get the one room with a hot tub. If not, you’ll still wake up to quite the view—either of the golf course or Gull Lake. Request one of the luxury suites with a king bed—it’s your “mini-moon,” after all—or cozy up in a personal cabin.
EAT The quiet ambiance of the Classic Grill is a frontrunner for a fancy night out, but the pizza parlor and adjacent ice cream and fudge shop provide the perfect place to pick up a treat from the grab-and-go market and spend an evening in your cabin.
DO It all, or absolutely nothing. That’s Madden’s slogan. Spend a day choosing from the activities (water sports, golf, biking, horseback riding, lawn games, even trap shooting), then kick back at the new and improved spa.
TRAVEL TIME About two and a half hours northwest of the Twin Cities.
11266 Pine Beach Peninsula, Brainerd, 800-642-5363, maddens.com
A SECLUDED SANCTUARY
Lisa and Dan Dobrowolski were themselves newlyweds in 1992 when they bought this once-abandoned summer camp in Chetek, Wisconsin. They soon transformed it into Canoe Bay, a luxury retreat that caters only to couples. The mess hall that fed 200 campers daily now boasts an elegant dining room perched above Lake Wahdoon. The property now features a woodsy inn, library, and 20 private cottages.
DIGS Cabins are situated to maximize privacy. Every room has a fireplace, a double whirlpool (some also have a double shower), and luxurious bedding that invites you to linger between the sheets.
EAT Breakfast and lunch arrive at your doorstep in a cute wooden box. Breakfast, included with your reservation, is hot muffins or breads and fruit. Dinner is served in the inn’s main dining room, or you can reserve a chef-side table or a table in the wine cellar.
DO In the summer, you can borrow a canoe from the boathouse, go for a hike, or explore the raised flower and vegetable bed gardens. During the winter, sign up for a romantic sleigh ride, go cross-country skiing, or snowshoe on private trails just outside your door. Visit the library, borrow a book, and snuggle up in the second-floor reading nook.
TRAVEL TIME It’s an unlikely oasis that would be worth flying across the country for, but it’s just a two-hour drive away.
W16065 Hogback Rd., Chetek, Wis., 715-924-4594, canoebay.com
A STATELY ESCAPE
If the thought of holing up with your honey at a lavish retreat that feels like a five-star hotel strikes your fancy, head to Wisconsin for the only five-diamond resort hotel in the Midwest. The American Club is classic luxury at its finest. The Tudor-style red brick hotel sits in the heart of Kohler, a small Wisconsin town that prides itself as one of the top destination vacations in the country. Guests are greeted by gracious doormen and a glass of bubbly upon arrival, while stately suites are outfitted with signature Kohler fixtures—hello, honeymoon hot tub!
DIGS Request rooms situated above the courtyard for plenty of privacy. For an even more secluded getaway, consider the Carriage House Immersion Suite, which is situated above the nearby spa, where no children are allowed.
EAT Start your day with breakfast at The Wisconsin Room; the Sunday brunch is reason enough to leave the confines of your comfy king. Dinner in The Immigrant Restaurant is another must, followed by music and a nightcap at the adjacent bar. For more casual fare, stop by the nearby Cucina Italian before ending the night at the Horse and Plow with a requisite New Glarus brew.
DO No trip to Kohler is complete without hitting the links at Whistling Straits, future home to the 2015 PGA Championship. Be sure to bring Band-Aids and balls—players are required to walk and the terrain can be tricky on both your feet and your scorecard. Unwind with an afternoon at Kohler’s renowned water spa.
TRAVEL TIME The five-hour drive certainly warrants a reward—lucky for you, a massage awaits.
419 Highland Dr., Kohler, Wis., 800-344-2838, americanclubresort.com