Believe it or not, northern Minnesota is my favorite place to be during the holidays. Now, you might be thinking I’m crazy and it’s far too frigid up here to spend such a joyous season, but it’s really quite fun and very cozy. The chilly air outside only makes a cup of cocoa taste even better when sitting inside next to a crackling fire. And it’s only unbearably cold if you don’t dress right. So throw on your down jacket, a snuggly scarf, your favorite mittens and a hat, and join us winter-lovers, at Grand View Lodge.
To me, Grand View seems to be the perfect place to spend the holidays. It feels like a home away from home. My family has spent Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve up here the past several years, making cabin 709 at Gull Haven a second winter home. We love to experience the Nisswa City of Lights Celebration, drive through Sertoma’s Winter Wonderland at the Northland Arboretum, go ice fishing and dog sledding, build snowmen, go cross country skiing and sledding, and have bonfires – after all, s’mores taste better in winter on a campfire.
A great way to kick off the holiday season is to take part in the Nisswa City of Lights Celebration. After enjoying a Thanksgiving feast in the warmth of the indoors on Thursday, everyone bundles up and heads to downtown Nisswa Friday evening to enjoy a dazzling display of lights and fireworks. Several large bonfires roar with crackling flames, keeping you toasty warm while immersed in a winter wonderland. While you take in the celebration happening around you, tasty treats are available to fill your grumbling tummy. A favorite of my cousins Lindsey and Noelle are the mini doughnuts – they’re finger-lickin’ good…literally!
In the afternoon, we’ll spend the day snow tubing down the speedy hills at Primetime in Pequot Lakes or just down the road from Grand View at Ski Gull. While in the evening we’ll go to Sertoma’s Winter Wonderland at the Northland Arboretum just down the road in Brainerd. You pack your car up, turn the provided radio Christmas songs on, and caravan through a trail of lighted displays throughout the property. They brighten up the sky with awing scenes made up of lights.
At Grand View, the intimacy of the Northwoods Pub and the entertaining indoor pool and waterslide are great havens for when you’ve had your fill of the outdoors. To me, there’s nothing better than spending a day playing in the snow and then heading to the Pub for a hot, fresh baked pizza and a frosty glass of beer.
My younger cousins, on the other hand, prefer the pool and waterslide. They like to see how many times they can make it down the slide before my uncles call for them to dry off and head back to the cabin. I can relate to their giggles and loss of breath from the race because I used to do the same years ago.
While the kids play in the pool and the guys do guy things, us girls like to get pampered and enjoy a little “me time” at the spa. We get all comfy in the plush robes and prepare ourselves for some quality relaxation. Some of my cousins and aunts opt for pedicures or a facial, but my mom and I are fans of the deep tissue massage. And really, any service you choose is a chance to let go of everything going on around you and simply enjoy yourself.
Now, do you dream of a white Christmas? Well, you’re in luck. Up here, fluffy, sparkling snow blankets the ground and wraps around tree limbs. Sleigh rides, Christmas lights and other holiday décor, transforms Grand View Lodge into one of the most magical places to spend the most wonderful time of the year.