Lake Getaways Without The Crowds
Lake Vermilion: A sense of discovery
A proud mining history defines this Iron Range region, which stands 90 miles north of Duluth. Huge mining trucks on display at Mineview in the Sky and the Minnesota Museum of Mining pay tribute to the Slovenians, Poles and Finns who settled the region. On weekends, their descendants munch on 24-inch pizzas at the Vermilion Club in Tower between morning and afternoon rounds of muskie fishing. Most sports bars and restaurants here feel pretty blue collar, and that rep keeps some people away.
Perhaps that's just as well. Roadside strawberry patches, a little farmers market and a restored movie theater in Cook all feel like discoveries—just like the undisturbed coves where you can drop anchor and listen for wildlife. Burntside Lodge, an upscale resort on a smaller lake a few miles east of Lake Vermilion, begs for a visit (as well as a stay).
Cabins built at the turn of the 20th century boast beautiful knotty pine walls, comfortable furniture and views of the fiery sunsets. In the main dining room, well-dressed young couples end long days on the lake with blueberry mojitos, mole-rubbed duck and grilled zucchini with roasted cauliflower sauce. The northern lights streak across the sky, signaling it's time to return to simple lakeside cabins that feel pulled from postcards of quintessential Up North lake vacations.
Pictured: Families flock to Pehrson Lodge for laid-back getaways.
Trip guide to Lake Vermilion begins on slide 8.