Hundreds of lakes and more than 1,500 miles of forested shoreline create canoeing, kayaking, hiking and portaging challenges in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Overnight camping permits get reserved months in advance, but plentiful day passes make short explorations easy. Choose from several entry points on lakes around Ely; we especially like Fall Lake for its proximity to Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast. After a day of hiking and paddling in the wilderness area, Blue Heron’s king-size beds, Finnish sauna and shared deck encourage unwinding. In town, the casual Ely Steak House serves a bacon-cheesemonster called a Bucky Burger.
Breakfast at the Blue Heron is simple and tasty: Eggs, bacon and scones usually make up the menu. For those tired of canoeing, Ely offers treasures. The International Wolf Center includes a Wolves and Humans exhibit, observation windows, and classes and seminars about wolves (little humans especially like Pups 101). Brandenburg Gallery shows off Jim Brandenburg’s National Geographic photography, and the Dorothy Molter Museum celebrates the last resident of the BWCAW who was famous for offering root beer to travelers. Hungry? What the Chocolate Moose lacks in decor, it makes up for with superb walleye sandwiches and from-scratch pies.
For information: Ely Chamber of Commerce, (800) 777-7281; ely.org