Cross-country skiing trips for Valentine's

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 29-February 4, 1998
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Cross-country skiing trips for Valentine's

Cross-country skiing trips for Valentine's
Question: I am looking for a romantic getaway for Valentine's weekend. I would like to find something close to the Twin Cities. About 10 years ago my sister's husband took her on a train ride into Wisconsin and stayed in a little cabin. That's kind of what I'm looking for, but I'd settle for finding a scenic little cabin within driving distance.

Rachel McCauley
Robbinsdale, MN

Adventure Adviser: I can't top the train ride, but I do have two suggestions for great getaways relatively close to the Twin Cities. The only prerequisite for either suggestion is you should have an undying passion for cross-country skiing, or you should learn to like it.

My first suggestion is the Bearskin Lodge, four hours north of Minneapolis on the Gunflint Trail. With some of the best cross-country ski trails in the state, the Bearskin is a very popular wintertime destination.

Each cabin is nestled in its own lakefront nook and has its own fireplace, and as the Bearskin brochure proclaims, "for the uninitiated, our accommodations are a delightful surprise." Though I've never seen the interior of the cabins, I have skied on the cross-country trails and think they are pretty spectacular.

Plus, the main lodge serves a very delightful variety of "Northwoods" cuisine, but if you prefer, you can always head into Grand Marais for a "Vild Vun" pizza at Sven & Ole's. For more details on the Bearskin Lodge, call 800-338-4170.

Another possibility is a bit closer to Minneapolis. Again, this lodge caters to cross-country skiers, but I'd be hard-pressed to find a lodge that doesn't cater to Minnesota's favorite pastime.

The Spider Lake Lodge, 150 miles northeast of Minneapolis, is 5 miles from the fabled cross-country trail system where the annual Birkebeiner race takes place every year.

About 10 miles north of the lodge you can ice fish on the Namekagon River, or you can hole up in one of the lodge's seven rooms and sleep 'til breakfast, which consists of fresh fruit, apple-spiked oatmeal, pancakes, homemade muffins, and the best cheese omelets in dairy country. Room rates range from $65 to $100 per night. Call 800-653-9472 for reservations.

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