Explore Minnesota’s Finest Cuisines, Wines, Beers and Spirits!

The Explore Minnesota drinking and eating guide lists and links to more than 1,500 restaurants throughout the state, as well as Minnesota breweries and wineries. Renowned chefs serve up an eclectic array of fare, ranging from international cuisine to dishes straight from the local farm. The state is seeing huge growth in craft beer and spirits, and Minnesota wines continue to win awards at international competitions. Keep checking back we’re adding new venues all the time. http://www.exploreminnesota.com/drink-eat

Did someone say Burgers?

Matt’s Bar & Grill, now a Minneapolis landmark, began in 1954 as a neighborhood burger eatery. Shortly after we opened, founder Matt Bristol explains how the “Jucy Lucy” was created when a local customer asked for two hamburger patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. Upon biting into this new, molten hot burger, he exclaimed “that’s one juicy Lucy”, and a legend was born. Customer demand grew so quickly, we forgot to add the “i” and the “Jucy Lucy” has now become a local culinary hero. Remember, if it’s spelled correctly, you just might be eating a shameless ripoff!

Matt’s has received numerous awards, and has appeared in publications from Hamburgers Across America to the The New York Times. Matt’s has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food and Food Wars, where we won the best tasting “Jucy Lucy” in town. Each “Jucy Lucy” is carefully handmade with the freshest, high-quality beef and filled with the molten hot cheese you can only find at Matt’s. Once you’ve had our “Jucy Lucy”, you’ll understand why our motto is “Fear the Cheese”!

Wineries & Winery Dining

Richwood Winery is the hidden star of the North Star State. Located on 9 acres of pristine land overlooking Lake Buffalo and just 10 miles North of Detroit Lakes, it is a destination for anyone and everyone. Whether you are an oenophiliac (wine-lover), vacationer, family looking to enjoy the scenery or just someone who could use a day to relax and unwind – welcome, you’re home.

Richwood began in 2007 as a location like no other. Convinced that the grape varietals created by the University of Minnesota could not only survive the conditions of northern MN but thrive to create a great wine, co-owner and founder Penny Aguirre purchased the location to put her notion to the test. Her vision for Richwood extended far beyond just the grapes. As she fondly remembers “I wanted to make a community gathering place where people in the area can meet each other and become friends.” Today the winery and grounds of Richwood are that vision personified: a place where family, wine and science play happily all day every day.

Starting in the spring of 2008 with LaCrescent, Frontenac Gris and Marquette grapes, the winery has expanded, bringing those cold weather loving, hearty vines and their delicious products together with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir grapes from California to bring the best of both worlds together in a glass. Your glass.

All grapes are crushed on-site and the wine made, blended and bottled in the wine “laboratory,” a converted garage combining the quality of any NAPA Valley winery with all the charm of northern Minnesota. Together with the log cabin tasting room overlooking the vineyards, the former-airplane-hangar storage facility and the rest of the gorgeous nine acre, southern exposure property and you have an experience not to be missed.

So if you are looking for the right space for your next event, excited about one of our annual shindigs or simply curious how beautiful and rewarding a day with us can possibly be, come join the community!  We love the Lake Buffalo life and can’t wait to greet you with a warm welcome to the Richwood Winery family.

Breweries

Klockow Brewery, This brewery and taproom is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Andy and Tasha Klockow. Andy is from rural Northern Wisconsin. Tasha is from the Grand Rapids area. Andy is also the resident brewer. He has been working at HammerHeart Brewing Company in Lino Lakes over the past 3 years and is excited to cultivate his own recipes for the people of the Grand Rapids area. We are basically open books so please feel free to reach out to us!

Minnesota Activities: 15 Sledding and Tubing Hills you don’t want to miss!

15 MINNESOTA HILLS FOR SLEDDING & SNOW TUBING

Sledding near Elbow Lake - Orr - photo by Laura Dekowski

Sledding near Orr / Laura Detowski

There’s something magical about riding down a hill on a sled or tube. Perhaps it’s the exhilarating feeling of sitting just above the ground and sailing down a snow-covered slope. Or maybe it’s the nostalgia adults experience as they give their kids a push or watch them trek up a hill, sled in tow. While Minnesota’s landscape is different from north to south and east to west, opportunities to ride sleds and tubes down snowy hills can be found in all regions of the state.

Some of the state’s best sledding and tubing options are well known to folks who live in the area—local gems, of sorts—while others can be found at state parks or on other public properties. Some of them are free to use but require sledders or tubers to provide their own equipment. At others, riders can rent equipment, hang onto tow ropes to get back to the top of the hill, and warm up in heated shelters. Keep in mind, too, that some hills offer both sledding and tubing, while others provide opportunities for one or the other.

Sledding and tubing are fun wintertime activities for adults and children alike that, in many cases, require little in the way of skills or equipment beyond what most people already have. Simply dress warmly, grab a sled or tube, and head out to the hills for a day of fun.

Below are some of Minnesota’s best options for sledding and tubing, broken down by region. But consider this list just a start–with a little legwork, you’ll likely be able to uncover even more close-to-home places to spend the day riding down a hill.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AREA

NORTHEAST

CENTRAL

SOUTHERN

NORTHWEST

  • J.A. Hughes Elementary School, Red Lake Falls
  • Bemis Hill, Warroad
  • Croviseir Park, Detroit Lakes
  • Buena Vista Ski Area   http://www.bvskiarea.com/tubingpark.html

A NOTE ABOUT SAFETY

Sledding and tubing for many children in Minnesota is almost a rite of passage, but there is some risk involved anytime someone takes a ride down a hill. That goes for people riding plastic sleds or saucers, rubber tubes or wooden toboggans. Following are some tips from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to ensure sledding and tubing is done as safely as possible:

  • Adults should accompany children on sledding adventures–and ride down the hill with kids who are under 5 years old.
  • Wear a helmet to prevent against head injury and avoid items such as scarves that can get wrapped around objects. Wear waterproof clothing, and pack extra along if you plan to stay out for an extended period of time.
  • Pick hills that don’t have fences, streets, trees and water nearby. Ensure there’s a flat area at the bottom to stop.
  • Take turns going down a hill to avoid collisions.

Minnesota Holiday Spirit: Tis the Season!

Winter in Minnesota is the perfect time of year to get together with loved ones, embrace old traditions, or even start some new ones. Here are just five of the many ways to make the most of this special season.

GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth

A hallmark of the holiday season in Germany and Austria, holiday markets—called Christkindlmarkts—have made their way to Minnesota. Holidazzle will take place in Loring Park again this year and will feature more than 40 vendors selling ornaments, candles and other handcrafted gifts, as well as mulled wine and brats. Other highlights include fireworks, Santa visits, holiday movie screenings and free ice skating. The destination is open Thursdays-Sundays from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23 and is free to attend.

Holiday plays and performances are a tradition for many families this time of year. Festive favorites include “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the Rochester Civic Theatre, a dozen iterations of “The Nutcracker,” from classic to hip-hop, and Christmas concerts by artists including Kat Perkins, Blind Boys of Alabama, Lorie Line and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

For light shows worth a drive, don’t miss Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato and the Trester Trolley Light Tours in Winona. New in 2016, “Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum” is the first large-scale outdoor light display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.

EXPLORE A NATURE CENTER

Great gray owl in Duluth; photo by Amanda Burcar-Annis

Photo by Amanda Burcar Annis

Many of Minnesota’s nature centers are open year-round, offering opportunities to interact with wildlife and the winter landscape. Owls are a big draw at the Agassiz Audubon Center near Thief River Falls, which documented dozens of snowy owl sightings last year in the surrounding Red River Valley.

At the International Owl Center in southeastern Minnesota, Alice the resident great horned owl is so popular that the International Festival of Owls in early March is held in conjunction with her hatch day.

Since nature centers are often surrounded by trails, they make a great starting point for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. Options include the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault (skiing and snowmobiling), Maplewood Nature Center (snowshoeing) and Hartley Nature Center in Duluth (skiing).

CHECK OUT A MUSEUM

At the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul, “Mindbender Mansion” makes critical thinking and problem solving fun, and “A Beautiful Planet” is featured in the Omnitheater. Open until mid-January, the “Gridiron Glory” exhibit at the Minnesota History Center features the Vince Lombardi trophy and other artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While you’re downtown, be sure to stop by Rice Park to see the ice sculptures and live entertainment as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

Other museums worth a winter visit include the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, the recently reopened Spam Museum in Austin, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which recently debuted a new entrance and restaurant as part of its major renovation project.

WARM UP AT A WATER PARK

Family Cascade Bay Water Park 440x440.jpgWaterslides, lazy rivers and splash pads aren’t just for the summer months. Several Minnesota water parks can be found indoors, offering a tropical escape no matter the weather.

Paul Bunyan Water Park, inside Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter, features tube and body slides, a treehouse equipped with water cannons and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. At the Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, a vortex pool allows guests to swim with or against a fast-moving current.

There’s even a waterpark right by Mall of America, so you can take a dip after completing all your holiday shopping. Find more options, from Bloomington to Alexandria to Thief River Falls, on the water parks page.

GO MAPLE SYRUPING

A sure sign that spring is coming, maple syrup demonstrations and festivals start cropping up in March. On Maple Syrup Day, the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone hosts a pancake brunch as part of its syrup celebration. Or see how the sap is gathered and turned into syrup, and get a taste of the end result, at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes.

Many Minnesota state parks, including Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Whitewater near St. Charles and Lake Maria near Monticello, offer maple syrup programs. Nature centers and other parks, like the Three Rivers Park District in the metro area, also get in on the fun.

Northern Minnesota Early Ice Fishing: Early ice is not safe, wear life jackets!

November 30, 2017

thin ice sign

With daytime temperatures still climbing above freezing even in the northern parts of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding outdoor enthusiasts to stay clear of early ice and use extreme caution when recreating on dangerously cold water. 

Although some locations in the northern and western regions of the state were reporting ice formation at the end of November, the recent fluctuations in weather have led to degraded ice conditions and warnings from public safety officials to stay off the ice until at least 4 inches of new, clear ice is present.

“No fish is worth the risk of going through thin ice,” said DNR conservation officer Lt. Adam Block. “At this point, it is going to take several consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures before enough solid ice has formed to support foot traffic, and even longer before ATVs  and snowmobiles should be on the ice.”

A recent tragedy occurred in northern Minnesota when two anglers lost their lives after breaking through thin ice on their ATV. Several emergency ice rescues have also taken place over the last few weeks. Last winter, two people died after breaking through the ice.

Block stressed that once ice formation picks up again, it will be important to stay vigilant about safety on the ice, since conditions can be unpredictable and vary greatly even on the same body of water.

“In addition to checking conditions locally and being prepared with an ice safety kit, anyone recreating on hard water should be wearing a life jacket,” Block said. “A life jacket is the one piece of equipment that exponentially increases your odds of not drowning from cold water shock, hypothermia or exhaustion should you fall through the ice.”

General ice safety guidelines:

No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines can help minimize the risk:

  • Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure
  • Check ice thickness at regular intervals – conditions can change  quickly.
  • Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know the plan and expected return time.
  • Always wear a life jacket on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.

The minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are:

  • 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.
  • 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.
  • 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup.
  • 12-15 inches for a medium truck.
  • Double these minimums for white or snow-covered ice.

Open water danger
The lack of ice cover means many bodies of water in the state still have open water accessible to boaters. However, late season anglers, boaters and paddlers are cautioned that a life jacket is an absolute must on cold water.

“A fall into extremely cold water can incapacitate you within seconds,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “Air temperatures have been relatively mild, but don’t let that deceive you. Water temperatures are dangerously cold across the entire state, which means it’s more important than ever to wear that life jacket.”

State statistics show that one-third of boating fatalities typically occur during the “cold water season,” and that in the vast majority of cases the cause of death is drowning due to not wearing a life jacket.

So far in 2017, three boaters have died on cold water, and 12 total boating fatalities have been reported.

“The last three years boaters have enjoyed extended seasons with mild fall temperatures and early ice out in the spring,” Dugan said. “With increased days on the water came higher fatality numbers and a dangerous trend, which should not be ignored. Ten of the 12 deaths involved male boaters who sadly drowned while not wearing a life jacket. This is a continuing and troubling trend that will only plateau or reverse if boaters in that high-risk demographic choose to put safety first by putting on their life jacket.”

For more information, visit mndnr.gov/icesafety and mndnr.gov/boatingsafety.

Cold?…Here’s 5 Hot Drinks for Winter Weather!

Hot Cocoa - Photo by Angelica King
Photo by Angelica King

After hitting the slopes, riding the trails or attending an outdoor festival in Minnesota this winter, sipping something warm will taste twice as delicious. Minnesotans are no strangers to creative hot beverages, and there are generally some tempting options to wrap your hands around no matter what part of the state you’re in. Here are five hot drinks to keep you warm this winter:

BOMBAY COCOA FROM GOLDEN FIG FINE FOODS, ST. PAUL

There’s nothing quite like a mug of hot cocoa when the mercury dips below freezing. And while the old-fashioned standard is a comforting favorite, there are shops around Minnesota playing with the beverage, updating it and tricking it out with some new features. Take, for example, St. Paul’s Golden Fig local foods store, where one of the house blends includes cinnamon, ginger, cardamom,and a host of other spices; it’s known as “Bombay Cocoa,” and it evokes chai tea with a chocolatey kick. A percentage of every bag sold goes to organizations that support women coffee growers in their country of origin, and the company sources its beans from female growers whenever possible.

CITY GIRL COFFEE FROM ALAKEF, DULUTH

Coffee is not merely coffee. Good coffees are often the product of great stories, like the one behind City Girl Coffee from Alakef. After taking over her family’s 25-year-old Duluth-based roasting company, Alakef owner Alyza Bohbot created City Girl as a sustainable coffee company dedicated to empowering women in the coffee industry. A percentage of every bag sold goes to organizations that support women coffee growers in their country of origin, and the company sources its beans from female growers whenever possible.

TOM AND JERRY, STATEWIDE

If you grew up drinking the hot cocktail known as a Tom and Jerry, you have some sense of why it’s a such a good friend to those of us living in northern states. And if you didn’t, it’s time to get acquainted with this slice of Upper Midwestern beverage culture. According to the Dictionary of International Food and Cooking Terms (Myra Waldo, 1967), a Tom and Jerry is “a hot frothy alcoholic drink made with beaten egg yolks, stiffly beaten egg whites, rum, sugar, boiling water, bourbon and spices, served in mugs with a sprinkling of nutmeg.” As per an authoritative story about the cocktail, “most modern aficionados replace the water with milk and the bourbon with brandy.”

You can buy Tom and Jerry mix at stores, but if you can’t find it, there’s a great recipe for the cocktail online.

CARDAMOM LATTE FROM ANELACE COFFEE, MINNEAPOLIS

Anelace Latte_Becca Dilley
Photo by Becca Dilley

There’s nothing like a finely crafted coffee drink, particularly when the weather goes polar on you. Anelace Coffee, on Central Avenue in Minneapolis, makes some of the most beautifully balanced and smooth coffee drinks in the state. The use of a bit of cardamom syrup gives this latte a Nordic-inspired wintry flavor that is incomparable when the snow starts to fly.

HOT CIDER, STATEWIDE

Minnesota is a great state for apples: The climate and soil are friendly to the fruit, and the University of Minnesota has done a great deal to ensure new and delicious varietals keep popping up in markets around the country. Most cafes will offer hot cider of some sort, particularly in the autumn through early winter months. And if you’re interested in something a bit stronger that still packs an apple punch, you can find ambitious artisan hard ciders from makers all over the state, including Milk and Honey Ciders (Cold Spring), Keepsake Cidery (Dundas) and Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery (Spring Valley).

Find Minnesota coffee shops and other places to sip in our Drink & Eat directory.

5-WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF A MINNESOTA WINTER

Winter in Minnesota is the perfect time of year to get together with loved ones, embrace old traditions, or even start some new ones. Here are just five of the many ways to make the most of this special season.

GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth

A hallmark of the holiday season in Germany and Austria, holiday markets—called Christkindlmarkts—have made their way to Minnesota. Holidazzle will take place in Loring Park again this year and will feature more than 40 vendors selling ornaments, candles and other handcrafted gifts, as well as mulled wine and brats. Other highlights include fireworks, Santa visits, holiday movie screenings and free ice skating. The destination is open Thursdays-Sundays from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23 and is free to attend.

Holiday plays and performances are a tradition for many families this time of year. Festive favorites include “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the Rochester Civic Theatre, a dozen iterations of “The Nutcracker,” from classic to hip-hop, and Christmas concerts by artists including Kat Perkins, Blind Boys of Alabama, Lorie Line and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

For light shows worth a drive, don’t miss Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato and the Trester Trolley Light Tours in Winona. New in 2016, “Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum” is the first large-scale outdoor light display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.

EXPLORE A NATURE CENTER

Great gray owl in Duluth; photo by Amanda Burcar-Annis

Photo by Amanda Burcar Annis

Many of Minnesota’s nature centers are open year-round, offering opportunities to interact with wildlife and the winter landscape. Owls are a big draw at the Agassiz Audubon Center near Thief River Falls, which documented dozens of snowy owl sightings last year in the surrounding Red River Valley.

At the International Owl Center in southeastern Minnesota, Alice the resident great horned owl is so popular that the International Festival of Owls in early March is held in conjunction with her hatch day.

Since nature centers are often surrounded by trails, they make a great starting point for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. Options include the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault (skiing and snowmobiling), Maplewood Nature Center (snowshoeing) and Hartley Nature Center in Duluth (skiing).

CHECK OUT A MUSEUM

At the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul, “Mindbender Mansion” makes critical thinking and problem solving fun, and “A Beautiful Planet” is featured in the Omnitheater. Open until mid-January, the “Gridiron Glory” exhibit at the Minnesota History Center features the Vince Lombardi trophy and other artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While you’re downtown, be sure to stop by Rice Park to see the ice sculptures and live entertainment as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

Other museums worth a winter visit include the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, the recently reopened Spam Museum in Austin, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which recently debuted a new entrance and restaurant as part of its major renovation project.

WARM UP AT A WATER PARK

Family Cascade Bay Water Park 440x440.jpgWaterslides, lazy rivers and splash pads aren’t just for the summer months. Several Minnesota water parks can be found indoors, offering a tropical escape no matter the weather.

Paul Bunyan Water Park, inside Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter, features tube and body slides, a treehouse equipped with water cannons and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. At the Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, a vortex pool allows guests to swim with or against a fast-moving current.

There’s even a waterpark right by Mall of America, so you can take a dip after completing all your holiday shopping. Find more options, from Bloomington to Alexandria to Thief River Falls, on the water parks page.

GO MAPLE SYRUPING

A sure sign that spring is coming, maple syrup demonstrations and festivals start cropping up in March. On Maple Syrup Day, the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone hosts a pancake brunch as part of its syrup celebration. Or see how the sap is gathered and turned into syrup, and get a taste of the end result, at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes.

Many Minnesota state parks, including Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Whitewater near St. Charles and Lake Maria near Monticello, offer maple syrup programs. Nature centers and other parks, like the Three Rivers Park District in the metro area, also get in on the fun.

The Northern Lights of Bentleyville!

Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth

Each winter, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights transforms the Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth into an illuminated winter wonderland with colorful displays and holiday music. Dubbed “America’s Largest Free Walk-Through Lighting Display,” Bentleyville’s festive display features more than 4 million lights. The 2017 event will also feature the #OnlyinMN monument.  http://whitebirchresort.net

Bentleyville’s 12-story Christmas tree is more than twice the height of the one in Rockefeller Center and is covered with 100,000 LED lights that dance to holiday music. Using more than 5.5 miles of rope light, festive displays include Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, Minnesota icons such as Split Rock Lighthouse, Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge, Paul Bunyan, Babe the Blue Ox and more.

Bentleyville Christmas Tree

As you stroll through the festive display, visitors can sip on hot cocoa, munch on popcorn or roast marshmallows over a campfire. Children have the opportunity to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus every night.

The spectacle runs from Nov. 18 through Dec. 26, 2017. The show is free, but monetary donations are appreciated. Guests are also encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army.

Parking is available in front of Bayfront Festival Park. Visitors are encouraged to use the free Jingle Bus shuttle service that is available at multiple locations throughout the city or board the festive Bentleyville Train that arrives from the Edgewater Hotel & Water Park.

Nearby family attractions include the Great Lakes AquariumLake Superior ZooSpirit Mountain Ski and Recreation Area, and numerous restaurants and hotels.

7-Northern Minnesota Snow-Filled Fun Activities!

There’s no escape from winter, but a winter escape is fun and easy. From skiing to snowmobiling and urban adventures, options for snowy recreation are practically endless in Minnesota. So, take advantage of nature’s gift to the north. The snow will be gone before you know it.  For more information contact us at  http://whitebirchresort.net

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Cross Country Ski Trail 440x440Minnesota is known for its great cross-country skiing, with more than 2,000 miles of dedicated trails to explore. In addition to day trips, cross-country ski resorts offer great meals, comfortable lodging, saunas and spas to round out the experience. Trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, near Ely and along the Gunflint Trail, are among the state’s top destinations for serious skiers.

Snow is most reliable in the northern half of the state, but good cross-country skiing can be found everywhere. In fact, snow-making machines are employed at several Minneapolis-St. Paul area trails to ensure quality conditions. More than two dozen Minnesota state parks provide groomed trails, and some rent skis.

DOWNHILL SKIING

Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn learned to ski in Minnesota, but even novices can take advantage of the state’s 16 downhill ski areas. In addition to big hills, many areas also feature terrain parks for ski and snowboard tricks, as well as cross-country ski trails.

Northeast Minnesota is home to the Midwest’s largest, longest and highest hills. Long runs and scenic vistas are memory makers. Ski areas in central and southern Minnesota also offer picturesque, high-quality experiences. Many are gracefully carved into towering river bluffs and broad forested valleys.

Minneapolis-St. Paul area visitors have several downhill ski areas within a 90-minute drive. Visitors to other parts of the state have plenty of choices, too. Equipment rentals and lessons are available at most ski destinations.

SNOWMOBILING

Snowmobilers 399 x 600Minnesota has nearly as many miles of snowmobile trails(roughly 22,000) as it does highways. These trails, many of which are maintained by local snowmobile clubs, extend to all corners of the state. Many trails run through picturesque federal, state and county forests, and can take riders to restaurants, lodging, and other popular amenities. Weekly trail condition updates are available by email.

ICE FISHING

Minnesota’s panfish season never closes, and walleye, northern pike and other seasons extend deep into winter. As a result, fishing continues to be one of Minnesota’s most popular outdoor activities long after waves have turned to ice.

Ice fishing’s ongoing allure, in part, stems from ice house improvements. Safe and reliable heaters, grills and comfortable beds are all part of the modern ice fishing experience. Warm, lifelong memories are often forged from nature’s northern lights, stunning sunsets and the hushed silence of winter.

Popular lakes for ice fishing include Leech, Gull, Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods and more. Ice fishing festivals on these and other lakes are tons of fun, even if you’re not fishing.

FAT BIKING

Cuyuna-Fat-Biking-1The skinny on fat tire mountain biking is that Minnesota offers outstanding options. One of the most notable is the rugged and hilly Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, where winter trails slice and curve through forests and lake country. In many ways, Cuyuna isn’t a trail; it’s an experience.

Several state parks now offer winter mountain biking opportunities thanks to the sport’s increasing popularity. So do park systems in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth and Winona areas, with more opening up every year.

DOG SLEDDING

Dog sledding is one of the most fun and unusual ways to experience winter. People of all ages and physical abilities can do it, and trips can be tailored to your comfort level. Short trips, day trips, overnight trips, and trips that include ice fishing are among the many iterations available.

Lodging options also vary. You can spend the night in a cozy cabin or in a yurt—an insulated tent-like shelter.

The primary destination for this sport is the Boundary Waters, but outfitters can also be found in Duluth, along the North Shore, and even in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

SNOWSHOEING

Instructor teaching people how to walk in snowshoesFor those who want to enjoy the snow with something other than skis on their feet, snowshoeing is a great, low-impact activity. Snowshoe rentals and trails are common in state and local park systems, including those in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Many nature centers provide snowshoe rentals and trails, too.

Minnesota fishing reports.

Minnesota fishing resports
Pan fishing in Minnesota

Minnesota fishing reports for Minnesota brought to you by White Birch Resort on Blackduck Lake.

Weekly Fishing Update – Nov. 3, 2017

The open water fishing season is coming to an end now that ice is starting to form on some of the ponds and swamps. If you’re eager for the ice fishing season to begin, attend the Hard Water Fishing Expo at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Nov. 17-19, and discover the latest ice fishing gear including rods, reels, tackle, shelters, wheelhouses, sleds and more. Also enjoy seminars from your favorite Clam Ice Team pros.

Few updates will be available during the transition from soft water to hard water fishing. Please remember that no ice is ever completely safe. It is extremely important to wear a life jacket when out on the water due to the risk of hypothermia. Learn more.

For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR’s Fish Minnesota web page.

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Twin Cities] [Central] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

Duluth – Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters

It’s starting to feel like winter! Some area water temperatures are now hovering around the 40 degree mark, with a skim of ice forming on waters in the far north. Please remember that no ice is ever completely safe. Few anglers are heading out onto Lake Superior. Stream fishing remains strong, but anglers must head out early due to fishing pressure. The best tactic has been to swing a fly or cast hardware into faster waters. Some anglers are also having success using bags. The fishing has slowed a bit due to rising rivers rising and slightly dirty waters due to recent precipitation, but a few chrome (steelhead) continue to be taken. Both North Shore and South Shore streams are seeing plenty of action. The St. Louis River has slowed a bit, yet plenty of fish can still be found with a bit of searching — this is a good time of year to scope out winter ice fishing sites. Walleye are currently being pulled from 10 feet of water by anglers slowly trolling crank baits and pitching 3/8 inch jigs with aggressive retrieves. While live bait has been best for numbers, the larger fish prefer an oversized plastic. A medium-light 6 foot 10 inch custom rod has been very effective. Muskie angling has been good for anglers slowly drifting oversized sucker minnows on quick set rigs. The inland lakes continue to give up fish, especially at the “typical” wintering holes for panfish. Some anglers are having success using ice rods with ice tackle. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

The walleye bite continues to be strong on Lake of the Woods, and hearty fall anglers are taking nice fish. The walleye have been holding in front of Pine Island, Graceton Beach, Zippel Bay, Long Point, and near the gaps in 7 to 30 feet of water. Anglers having the most success are using a pink, pink/white or gold jig tipped with a shiner. The Rainy River is giving up walleye of all sizes. Look for walleye and shiners at Frontier, Clementson and a few miles upriver from Wheeler’s Point. Schools of shiners are coming into the river at various times, with walleye following right behind. For the most action, vertically jig a shiner while anchored. Some anglers are also doing well when trolling crankbaits east of Baudette. Smallmouth bass, northern pike, sturgeon and crappies are being caught on a daily basis. Up at the Northwest Angle, walleye are active in 10 to 30 foot depths. Crappies are biting in the deeper holes, especially 27 feet deep and greater, with a quite a few perch mixed in. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bemidji

The open water fishing season is coming to an end. Some of the small ponds and swamps are now frozen over and anglers have had to break through a bit of ice at some of the accesses over the past few days. It won’t be long until ice fishing begins! The walleye bite remains good for anglers using jigs tipped with minnows in depths 12 to 24 feet of water. The smallmouth bass action has been outstanding for those using jigs with minnows or plastics on the rocks in depths of 14 to 16 feet. Crappies continue to be found suspended out in the deep basins. This will be the final report until enough ice develops for safe travel by foot. 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Park Rapids

Fishing remains good if you can handle the weather. Anglers are catching some huge bluegills and crappies in the 15 to 20 feet of water when using jigs with plastics or minnows. The panfish are once again schooled along the old weed lines where they will remain through the ice fishing season. 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com

Central Region

Otter Tail Area Lakes

The end of the open-water fishing season is drawing near, especially with overnight lows in the 20s for the next week or so. For late-season walleye, locate current either at a river mouth or inlet and fish from the bank in waders. Cast light jigs with twisters or minnows, or lipped diving baits (crank baits) since there are plenty of walleye in the shallows and current areas to provide plenty of action. Panfish can be found in the deep holes and suspending over lake basins. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

As of Oct. 27, most of the docks were still in the water at the public accesses on Lake Mille Lacs. The surface water temperatures remained in the 50s, but they were expected to drop rapidly due to high winds. With gust up to 40 mph, the top several feet of the water column would cool down quickly. Most anglers agree that Mille Lacs does not have a thermocline, and is not subject to a “fall turnover” like most lakes. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

White Bear Area Lakes

As of last weekend, White Bear Lake was giving muskies to anglers using sucker minnows and artificial lures. Areas near the edges of the weeds and the base of the main breakline were producing best. The walleye bite was decent, with most fish being caught on jigs with minnows. On Bald Eagle Lake, muskie anglers were doing well with suckers and artificial lures, especially in 12 feet of water or less. The walleye bite was improving for anglers using jigs. On Big Marine Lake, crappies were being taken on jigs and slip bobber rigs with minnows. St. Croix River anglers reported nice walleye coming in on jig and minnow combinations worked in 15 to 25 feet of water. Muskies were occasionally hitting artificials. 651-653-5122; www.explorewhitebear.org

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of Thursday, Nov. 2, fisheries staff reported that most area streams and rivers were clear with a normal water flow. The streams were in great condition and the trout were colorful and spawning. On Oct. 31, midges were hatching. Maps of all the designated trout streams that are open from Oct. 16 to Dec. 31 can be found under “Area Highlights” on the Lanesboro area fisheries webpage. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Anglers may obtain fishing licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialing 1-888-665-4236, or accessing DNR License Sales.

Minnesota fishing reports.

This report is brought to you by Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Minnesota winter getaways.

Check out all the winter activities in Minnesota for the weekend getaway.
The great Northwoods of the state has some great ideas when it comes to ideas for that experience of a lifetime.

Home to endless recreation, sporting events and winter festivals, winter fun is happening every week in the Northwoods of Blackduck and the Bemidji area! As a area that takes pride in its unique seasonal activities, Blackduck and the Bemidji area is also blessed with the terrain and facilities to host to a range of recreational events. This includes camps and tournaments, as well as challenging races on bike, snowmobile, skis, dog sled, boat and foot. Our resume includes the Bemidji Curling Club, home to a number of Olympic champions. Event planners have chosen Bemidji to host the internationally famous Finlandia cross-country ski event since 1982. And Bemidji’s Sanford Center Arena is the unmatched choice for most any activity or event your group enjoys–including hockey– as the Bemidji Arena is home to Division hockey events and host of the annual Paul Bunyan International Hockey Tournament. Listed are just a few of the recreational facilities available for rent in Bemidji– for sport or just group enjoyment. For more ideas and facility options, contact us.

Just about Anything on Ice:

Don’t be surprised to see an ice boat zip on by at 40 mph during a winter visit to Blackduck and Bemidji. And while not a scheduled event (yet!) a game of snow golf can spring up in a moment…or perhaps a game of turkey bowling, mutt sled racing, and, of course, the annual Polar Plunge swim extravaganza. Just about anything you can think of doing on ice or in the snow to test one’s winter mettle is considered game (and fun!) in Bemidji! To keep up with all the winter activities and unique events, be sure to check the Events calendar.

White Birch Resort is just the place for your Winter Vacation! We offer luxury homes with designated units providing private 12 person hot tubs on the homes private screened porch/deck. White Birch Resort can also cater to smaller 1-3 person studio cabin rentals, which are great for couples. There is a snowmobile trail right out the front door of your cabin. Blackduck Lake is great for perch, northern and walleye ice fishing. We are only 25 minutes from Upper Red Lake and Bemidji Lake, as well. Buena Vista Ski Area is 20 minutes from the resort and offers down hill, cross country, snow boarding, tubing, sleigh rides and warm ski lodge .

Ice Fishing:
Fish foodies swear there is nothing more delicious than a freshly pulled catch from the frozen northern waters. And if you are a catch and release enthusiast, winter fishing is a whole different brand of exciting fun– whether over a hole seated on a bucket, or toasting your toes in a decked-out fishhouse. Avid Blackduck, Red Lake and Bemidji fisherman find winter walleye success on most larger lakes in the area, and panfish active this time of year on many smaller lakes. Area guides and rentals available, with fun events such Winterfest’s Hardwater Classic tournament held in February.
In winter, Blackduck Lake and Lake Bemidji turn into a frozen snowy village! Whether you use the drill-and-hope approach (like Grumpy Old Men) or latest in high-tech electronic gear, the great outdoors, the snow, the crisp, fresh air—ice fishing surrounding lakes may turn into one of the best fishing days you’ll ever have! Equipment and fish house rentals available around the Blackduck, Red Lake and Bemidji area. Blackduck Lake is great for perch, northern and walleye ice fishing. We are only 25 minutes from Upper Red Lake and Bemidji Lake, as well.
Snowmobiling
It is easy to see how Bemidji earned the title “Snowmobile Capital of the North!” With unmatched scenic beauty, excellent grooming, and an abundant number of trails–so many, the saying here is “Bemidji’s got more trails than you’ve got time!” Great pit stops along the routes, too, with many Bemidji lodgings offering direct access to the trails. Whtie Birch Resort even has a snowmobile trail right out the resort’s front door.
The Blackduck Bemidji area has the best trail system.
No other area is as central to the state’s 14,000 miles of trails. As the crossroads city for two major Minnesota Interconnecting Trail System routes, MITS-71 and MITS-2, MITS trails link up with hundreds of spur trails, guaranteeing riders connections to virtually any place in the state.

Contact White Birch Resort for Your Next Minnesota Vacation Experience
218-835-4552

Connect with us

WHITE BIRCH RESORT

Bemidji Region - Minnesota
18882 North Blackduck Lake RD NE Hines, MN 56630 Office 218-835-4552 Cell 218-553-0210
Email - vacation@whitebirchresort.net