We are often asked by our summer guests what it’s like to stay in the winter. The people asking the question are usually those who don’t love winter and, therefore, don’t have a lot of winter hobbies. And since they can watch the weather and see our temps well below 0°, they are understandably suspicious about the fun of Minnesota winter vacations.
Winter in northern Minnesota is spectacular! There is just no other word for when the landscape around you makes you feel as if you are in a snow globe. Flocked trees and a blanket of snow can be just as beautiful as a perfect, sunny summer day! I love a clear night when the temperature is minus-a-lot-below-zero because of the crispness of the air and the clarity of the stars in the sky. Add a full moon to a clear night and it looks like God left on the yard light! The light from the moon reflecting off of the snowy ground easily creates enough light to navigate outside without a flashlight. Like I said – its just spectacular!
Winter enthusiasts easily see the fun in a Minnesota winter vacation. “Good ice” is the thing they are most thankful for at Thanksgiving. And a snowy winter is the best Christmas gift they can be given especially if there is a solid 8-12” before the heavy snow! For the last many years, the snowmobile trails in our area have not been ready for traffic by the New Year. But by mid-January they are usually rideable if we have had a December and an early January with good snowfall. The x-skiers and snowshoers can be among the happiest snow-lovers who stay with us since their winter hobbies require less snow than others. Our area has a multitude of fabulous and well-maintained x-ski trails and hundreds of miles of trails for snowshoeing. Both allow the silent sport enthusiast the chance to escape into the quiet of the winter forest.
We also have many “non-winter” enthusiasts who do visit Wildwood in the winter. They often only go outside when unloading and loading their cars! Otherwise, they spend a few days in a cozy cabin with a view watching movies, quilting & crafting or just relaxing with family and friends. For those who do venture outside it is often to take in a performance at The Reif Center, take the kiddos to the Children’s Discovery Museum or to enjoy a great meal at a local restaurant. Others head to the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids, MN or the Hodgins-Berado Arena in Coleraine, MN to participate in youth hockey tournaments. We love introducing hockey families to weekend at a winter resort as an alternative to a traditional hotel stay.
Hands down the happiest winter visitor we see is the visitor who is ready to just enjoy time Up North. Usually, these guests bring their ice fishing gear and snowmobiles hoping for good conditions. But they are equally content if their northern MN getaway ends up with more card playing than fish catching. The setting sun still produces beautiful sunsets even though it crosses low in the sky. Regardless of the season Wildwood is a place to take the time to rest and reconnect with family and friends.
Maybe this is the year you discover the joys of Minnesota winter vacations!