Naniboujou Lodge: North Shore, MN Escape
featuring North Shore favorites like breaded walleye.
fireplaces with windows facing Lake Superior.
throughout the main dining hall just as it was in 1929.
Once imagined as an ultra-excusive resort for members like Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Ring Lardner, Grand Marais’ Naniboujou Lodge is now a quiet North Shore getaway on Lake Superior.
Named for a Cree Indian spirit, Naniboujou Lodge’s centerpiece is its large dining room, painted in Cree Indian style with brilliant red, yellow, orange and purple. The Lodge looks very much the same as it did when it originally opened in 1929, and is centered by a stone fireplace – the largest native rock fireplace in Minnesota, made of more than 200 tons of stone. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea are served for guests daily, including North Shore favorites like breaded walleye and salmon, as well as sandwiches, soups and salads. Arrive early for Sunday brunch, which is popular among both guests and area residents.
Head east or west out of the dining room and guests will find two wings of rooms. Rooms in the west wing feature pine walls, but are generally smaller. West wing room 20 is one of the larger rooms with a fireplace, while rooms 21-29 are smaller. East wing rooms have a cottage style and are generally a bit larger. Look to reserve a lakeside room, especially rooms 2-4. Rooms do not have typical hotel amenities, like televisions and phones, allowing the guests to easily unplug and enjoy a relaxing getaway.
Many of the Lodge’s original features are still intact, including some of the lighting in the dining room and the 14 sets of French doors that once led out to the lake. Today, they lead to a solarium, with large windows facing the lake adding additional room for reading and playing games in the cooler months.
The lodge was originally envisioned in 1927 as an exclusive, invitation-only membership club on 3,330 acres of land that was ripe for hunting and fishing. Original designs planned for 150 guest rooms, a golf course, tennis courts and a bathing house. The original lodge with 24 guest rooms was opened in July 1929, just months before the Black Friday market crash. Despite the efforts of members and supporters including the Governor of Minnesota and mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the start of the Depression marked the end of the vision for Naniboujou. By 1935 the resort went into foreclosure. Much of the land is now part of Judge C.R. Magney State Park, while the Lodge remained.
Over the years, the Lodge has been owned by a hotel chain and several local couples. It has become a popular dining spot and a getaway for those looking for a quiet and peaceful North Shore stay. Each Christmas, the Lodge opens for two evenings of dining and entertainment, featuring a 20-foot Christmas tree and poinsettias throughout the dining hall.
If You Go:
The Lodge is open daily mid-May through late October, with special events for Christmas and New Year’s, as well as “Winter Weekend” getaways. Reservations are recommended and are required during the winter.
Plan ahead for a relaxing stay – the rooms have no televisions or telephones, and cell phone service is generally poor. The Lodge provides a variety of board games, lawn games and wood to enjoy a lakeside campfire, and is within a short drive of several state parks, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Marias, MN.
Also remember that the Lodge does not serve alcohol. Guests wishing to enjoy a drink will need to bring their own beverages and glassware.
Naniboujou Lodge is just 15 miles east of Grand Marais, near Judge C.R. Magney State Park. Take Highway 61 to Naniboujou Trail.
While You’re There:
Visit nearby Judge C.R. Magney State Park and hike to the 50-foot Devil’s Kettle waterfall. On the way, grab a bite to eat along Highway 61’s Culinary Highway, visit hidden Highway 61 spots, or stop at one of the numerous state parks. Just 20 miles east is Grand Portage National Monument where early French fur traders built a trading headquarters.
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