Category Archives: Lodging

Hyatt Place Park City, UT

Hyatt Place, 4377 N Hwy 224, Park City, UT 84098

This is the one farthest from Park City and closest to Snyderville, but honestly the two cities are just one long city.

View of bed and seating area of our room

Here is the thing about Hyatt Place, it is trendy.  People tend to confuse this with nice and upscale.  At this price range I prefer a classic to trendy.  I don’t like sliding bathroom doors made out of glass.  Glass does not muffle sound and if you are on a romantic vacation there are some sounds you just don’t want to hear.

I will give this hotel one major thumbs up, the breakfast was really good, and better than a typical continental breakfast.  The food tasted real and fresh versus reheated like you get at all of the average hotels.  I didn’t get a picture and I wished I had, but let’s just say I hate breakfast and I actually looked forward to getting up and going to eat at this particular breakfast spread.  It is the level I would expect at a really nice hotel.  The breakfast was probably the best thing about this hotel.

The rooms were temperature controlled which means you cannot open a window for fresh air.  Being located high up, near really fresh air, that was disappointing, but not completely unexpected.  You don’t want guests leaving the windows open in the dead of winter.

The hotel room is expensive because it is a Hyatt and due to the location.  There are a lot of things to do in Park City, especially in the winter so the prices shoot up at that time.

Again, location was a plus.  We needed to go into Salt Lake City and that was a short drive, scary, but short.  We also wanted to go hiking which was everywhere around us.  Park City really is a great location for an outdoor adventure:  hiking, biking, or skiing.

They do have a swimming pool outdoors if you enjoy that.  No one was in it.

Pool at the Hyatt

If you like trendy the Hyatt Place is the hotel for you.  If you like privacy you might want to look at other options.  Again, the breakfast was really good so that might be a determining factor, but the price is high as well.

Wilderness Bay Resort, Park Rapids, MN

Wilderness Bay Resort, 36701 Wilderness Bay Dr, Park Rapids, MN 56470

We were looking for a place close to Itasca State Park to stay and Jon found Wilderness Bay Resort.  It was fairly easy to find.  It consists of family friendly cabins.  Most visitors are return guests.

The owner that was on staff while we were there has a hard time getting around so you need to give her time to get to you.  We checked in and were handed the keys to our cabin.

Bedroom at Wilderness Bay Resort

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it was really pretty nice inside.  Ours was a two bedroom (small), with a nice big living room and a convenient kitchen area.  You are expected to clean up after yourself before you leave.  I think I killed over a dozen flies in that place, but they do provide the fly swatter.

Living Room at Wilderness Bay Resort
Kitchen at Wilderness Bay Resort

This resort seems to be about fishing since it is on a lake.  There is a place where you can clean your fish.  They have life jackets and you can rent equipment.  There were some paddle boats available that we almost took for a spin, but then didn’t.

There was enough room between neighbors that we didn’t feel crowded.  it is the type of place my parents would have taken us as kids.

The view from the enclosed porch was nice.  There was a grill and a fire pit available.  The porch even had a table and chairs so you could eat out there if you didn’t want to eat inside.

View of fish house from our porch

It was a very sweet and laid back place to stay.  If you have kids, want to go fishing, or want to stay at a small cabin near Itasca State Park, Wilderness Bay Resort is a good choice.

Super 8, Bemidji, MN

Super 8, 1815 Paul Bunyan Dr NW, Bemidji, MN 56601

We were going to stay at a resort near Bemidji or at a cabin in Lake Bemidji State Park and decided to drive up the night before so that we could get a jump on the vacation.  I am pretty sure it was the resort, Wilderness Bay Resort, and our trip to Lake Itasca State Park.

Either way we arrived at Super 8 in Bemidji and were relieved to find a pretty nice, simple hotel. I remember thinking that it was very clean and the management really cared. The front desk was really friendly.

Our room was on the second floor and down a short hallway. Just up the stairs there was an overlook so that you could see the front desk from above and they had items hanging on the wall. I found the decoration to be very neat, it was hockey themed.

Hockey decor at Super 3 Bemidji, MN

The room was clean and pretty big.  We got a king I think.  The bathroom was very obviously clean.  I remember the room being fairly quiet.  I think we were away from the other guests.

The breakfast was spot on.  It was exactly what you would expect from a continental breakfast in America, but clearly the best parts of that type of breakfast.  I am always so happy when they have waffles.

The breakfast layout at Super 8 Bemidji, MN

We didn’t know where to eat in Bemidji when we arrived, but luckily this hotel was right next to Four Points Bar and Grill.  This place had a delicious and messy burger that I enjoyed.  Unfortunately, it seems that the restaurant didn’t make it as I can no longer find it on Google.

If you need a place to rest your head the Super 8 in Bemidji is a good, and affordable option.

The only negative that I found regarding this hotel is getting out of it.  There are two paths out, and the front staff will try to steer you in the right direction, but one of those paths is a very sharp left, directly into a right hand turn with heavy traffic circulating through it.  You need a quick vehicle with great maneuverability to leave that way.  It wasn’t an issue for us, but I could see some people having a hard time leaving via that route.  There are other options, but it is something to think about.

Overall I recommend the hotel.  That breakfast was pretty good.

Lutsen Resort on the Superior, Lutsen, MN

Lutsen Resort on the Superior, Lutsen, MN

We didn’t stay at the Lutsen Resort on our trek near Lake Superior, but we did stop in one evening for a meal.  I believe the resort has changed ownership since then so I do not know what has changed.

The view was great, the service was very good, but the food was odd.  The prices are on the higher side, but not extreme.  I ordered fish because we were on Lake Superior and that seemed appropriate.  I don’t know why, but Minnesotans have some sort of inability to properly cook a fish, so that it tastes good.  It is not just this restaurant.  I have had exactly one good fish the entire time I have lived in Minnesota.  I know it isn’t the fish because we used to vacation in Minnesota when I was a kid, and the fish were delicious.  Jon ordered the Swedish meatballs, again, very odd.  A lot of the other items on the menu look really good.  We may have just made the worst choices on the menu.  The flavors were just odd.

View of the Lounge at Lutsen Resort
Front door of Lutsen Resort
Dinning Hall at Lutsen Resort

After dinner we walked around the resort a bit and took in a sunset.  The views at this resort are amazing.  The placement of the resort is perfect for exploring the north shore.

View of peer on Lutsen Resort

The resort has a great beach right in front of it.  You can take your family down and put your foot into Lake Superior.  I am sure you can sun bathe on the beach during the day.

Beach in front of Lutsen Resort dining hall

Overall, I would say, if you have some money to spend, and want an extremely nice resort, on Lake Superior, that reminds you of days gone by, this is the place.  It feels like it is straight out of the fifties or earlier, when families went on a long vacation, and dressed up to go to dinner.  You play hard all day, and return to your room to get cleaned up, before heading downstairs to an elegant meal.  It really is a great atmosphere and an amazing location and view.

Lake Maria State Park, Silver Creek Township, MN

Lake Maria State Park, Silver Creek Township, MN

We booked a cabin at Lake Maria State Park near Monticello, MN.  It is a short drive northwest of the cities.

We parked near the lake and started, what we thought would be, a short walk to our cabin.  Needless to say I miscalculated where we were on the map.  We walked along the lake and directly towards a marsh.  We finally stopped when it looked like the marsh might take us if we went any further.

View of the pond outside of our cabin

Eventually we wound around until we ended up at our cabin.  It was a great spot next to a little pond of it’s own.  There was a light inside that ran on a solar panel just outside of the cabin.  It would run for about half an hour before it turned off on its own.  It was really nice at night.

Outside of the cabin there was a privy off to the side, almost behind the cabin, but close.  It came with a fire pit, a couple of logs to sit on, and a picnic table.  It was perfect.

It turns out our parking space was hundreds of yards instead of over a mile.  We found it when we took a short walk around our pond.  My only other complaint was the wood heat was too much for that little cabin.  That was of course our fault.  We didn’t really need a fire inside at all.  I really liked this cabin setup.

The park was nice.  It is a great place to do some bird watching.  At least one person was there just to catch a glimpse of the larger birds in the area.  I didn’t get a clean shot, but there were some nice looking birds in the area.

This is what I would call a relaxing cabin location and park.

Bemidji Lake State Park, Bemidji, MN

Bemidji Lake State Park, Bemidji, MN

We decided to stay a night at a cabin in Bemidji Lake State Park.  As a child my parents would occasionally take the long drive up to Lake Bemidji for our family vacation and the chance to fish.

The park is on the northeast side of the lake.  The WiFi was surprisingly strong in the park.  It is always so hard to find good WiFi inside a park.

Inside of the Bemidji State Park cabin

The cabin was very cute.  It held four beds, a table, and bench seats.  It was warm enough that we didn’t need to use the heater which looks like it was baseboard.  The bunk bed were low enough that we ended up sleeping on the top bunks in order to avoid hitting our heads.

The trail was mere steps from our cabin.  The crown jewel of this particular park is the bog walk.  It is definitely worth checking out all of the plants.  We found a carnivorous plant on our walk.

There are a lot of pretty flowers in this park.  Try to spot all of them.  If you get tired of this park you are just a short drive over to Lake Itasca State Park.  You could even go fishing.  I hear it is kind of fun.

Vermilion Park Inn, Soudan, MN

Vermilion Park Inn, Soudan, MN

The Vermilion Park Inn located in Soudan, MN was not quite what I expected, both in a good and a bad way.  This house is located in the very small town of Soudan, MN in northern MN, near the Soudan Mine.  It was an ideal place to stay while we explored the Soudan Mine, Vermilion State Park, and Bear Head Lake State Park.  The town of Ely isn’t too far if you want a bite to eat.

We stayed at the Vermilion Park Inn in 2017.  I believe that it may have been a slightly off time and that they are in the process of improving.  It was nice and I imagine it would be better if we were to stay again.

We booked the Vermilion Park Inn under the impression that it was a bed and breakfast.  Technically there was a bed and there was breakfast, but I wouldn’t tout it as the breakfast you would expect  at a bed and breakfast.  I imagine an amazing home cooked breakfast when I think of a bed and breakfast.  It was more like a good to okay continental breakfast.  It did the trick and there was no pressure to get up at a specific time so I was fine with it.  If you set your expectation on the breakfast down to cereal, yogurt, cheese, a store bought danish, and things in that realm you won’t be as disappointed in the breakfast as we were.

On the flip side the rooms were very nice.  The Bed was nice.  The sheets were clean.  There is a theme to every room.  We were in the Fisherman’s room which has its own bathroom.  That is always nice.  One odd thing about the bathroom is that it is a sliding door so you can hear pretty much everything that is going on in there.

The Fisherman’s Room at the Vermilion Park Inn near the Soudan Mine

The staff is really nice and friendly.  It seems to be run by a couple of couples and possibly some friends or family.

We didn’t use it, but there is a fire pit in the back yard.  I believe I saw one of the guests using a grill as well.

View of fire pit and small deck off of the Fisherman’s room at Vermilion Park Inn

The staff will help you pre-book your tickets for the mine.  Not sure if you actually need them, but it is nice to know you will get in.

Overall the Vermilion Park Inn is a great launching point for the Soudan Mine, the Vermilion State Park, and Bear Head Lake State Park.  The town is small and you will need to head north to get a good meal.  You should definitively check out Stony Ridge Cafe if you can find it.  They have great burgers, great big burgers that is.

Douglas Lodge, Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, MN

Douglas Lodge, 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Douglas Lodge is located inside of Itasca State Park.  It is closest to the east entrance of the park, but easily accessible from the south, or if you want a little drive from the north entrance.

While I did not stay at the lodge and cannot comment on the rooms the location is great.  You have easy access to many hiking trails, the Aiton Heights Fire Tower, the bike trails, and the Chester Charles II boat tour.  The lodge has WiFi access and it is pretty good inside the lodge.

The reason we went to the lodge was to eat lunch on two separate days.  The lodge is fairly busy, but the wait is generally not more than half an hour.

Douglas Lodge Itasca State Park 077

Since Minnesota is known for their wild rice which grows right on the lake we had to try their wild rice soup and hot dish (it’s a casserole).  Needless to say both dishes are very Minnesotan in their lack of spices.  They were a bit bland.  I also tried the walleye which was really good.  One note when ordering the wild rice soup.  If you want your soup creamy you need to specifically ask for it that way.  If you do not then you will get the broth wild rice soup.  That worked out well for me, but maybe rather disappointing for most people.

Douglas Lodge Itasca State Park 158

We also tried one of their desserts which was really good.  We had the sweet potato maple cheesecake.  It was delicious.

If you are a Minnesotan you will probably like the food.  It was cooked as well as can be expected.  The walleye was very good and I recommend it.  I liked the soup too, but it was very simple.  The hot dish wasn’t bad, but again not very exciting.

I would say overall this was pretty good, but not great.  I would eat here again.  I did wait half an hour twice just to eat here, but the only other place to eat is near the northern entrance.  The food is made right.  The service is decent.  If you are considering eating there I would say do it.

Superior Ridge Resort Motel, Schroeder, MN

Superior Ridge Resort Motel, 8041 MN-61, Schroeder, MN 55613

Schroeder is this tiny little town next to some of the greatest hiking trails or at least superior hiking trails.  It is a very short distance to from Temperance River and there is a nice little pizza and breakfast place you can eat at.

The Superior Ridge Resort Motel is tucked just off the main road.  It is easy to get to, but not noisy.  You rent a room with a bathroom attached.  Our room had a couple of beds, a table to eat at, a microwave, and a dresser.  It literally was a brand new room and it was perfect for us.

Superior Ridge Resort Motel 075

Superior Ridge Resort Motel 076

Superior Ridge Resort Motel 072

The view out our window was pretty amazing.  Is that Lake Superior?  Yes it it.  There was also a sitting area with a good view just a few steps away as well.

Superior Ridge Resort Motel 081

The internet works well, which is nice for planning your trips around the area.  You can watch DVD’s in your room, they have a selection at the front desk you can borrow.  You can play basketball or badminton.

Superior Ridge Resort Motel 082

Of course you can take in a little hiking with a trail to somewhere in the backyard.  We didn’t go too far on that trail because we didn’t know where it went and there are amazing trails just down the road like Temperance State Park and the Superior Hiking Trial along the Temperance River.

This lodge is close to everything and nothing at the same time.  It is hard to find a restaurant in the area.  There is a great place for breakfast in town and they make a decent pizza.  Grand Marais is reasonably close if you want to take a drive to get a meal or there are a few places nearby.

The resort is setup for both the summer and for your winter activities.  The owners were nice and friendly.

Overall it was a great find and I would definitely stay there again.

Hungry Jack Lodge, Grand Marais, MN

Hungry Jack Lodge, 372 Hungry Jack Rd, Grand Marais, MN 55604

A man who once lived in California returns home to run his father’s lodge, Hungry Jack Lodge.  The boy isn’t necessarily the most outgoing, but I do like his influence on the menu.

Let’s start with the restaurant in the lodge.  It is downstairs.  They have pizza.  They are more famous for their burger and fries, particularly their fries.  I agree that they are very good.  Our waitress was new and inexperienced, but the food was good so who cares.  You can get drinks at the bar or the tables.  You can even eat outside is you wish.

June 2016 063 Hungry Jack Lodge

The cabins are great.  They are right on the lake.  You get your own private dock.  They come with all of the items you need for cooking in the tiny kitchen area.  It has a little kitchen, a bed and fireplace, and a really nice bathroom.  You have deck to hang out on and enjoy the evening sunset or morning sunrise.  They are pretty close to the lodge so you can pop out to get a bite to eat.

June 2016 039 Hungry Jack Lodge

June 2016 027 Hungry Jack Lodge

One thing about being this far north, in the summer for sure, is the northern lights.  It never gets dark.  It hardly gets darker inside at night than it is during the day.  Oh, you can hear the loons at night.

You can fish off the dock or rent a boat.  We caught a couple of small fish, but honestly we needed to be out just a little bit further than we could manage to cast.

June 2016 071 Hungry Jack Lodge

Near the lodge there is some playground equipment if you have children.  The swimming area is straight out from the lodge.

June 2016 048 Hungry Jack Lodge

The have many campsites that you can rent.  The sites look pretty nice.  You can even get a shower if you rent a campsite.  The single shower is really nice, better than the one in my cabin.

June 2016 169 Hungry Jack Lodge

June 2016 277 Hungry Jack Lodge

The best part of this particular lodge is the distance to the nearest trail.  Just a little bit down the road you can walk up to a lookout that allows you to see Hungry Jack Lake.

June 2016 118 Caribou Rock Trail

Walk past this and you will find Caribou Rock Trail and Moss Lake Trail.  Caribou Rock Trail is where it is at between the two, but even if you only get to the lookout point you will enjoy the view.

Hungry Jack Lodge is actually a ways past Grand Marias.  If you are looking for a great place to stay I would say this is possibly the place.