We recently spent a wonderful weekend at a beautiful resort in central Minnesota, Grand View Lodge, est. 1919, located just north of Brainerd, on Gull Lake.
What made it doubly wonderful was that our weekend was completely free of charge. For the past several years The Grand View Lodge has done many things to support Minnesota Soldiers and their families. One of the most generous programs is their ‘Weekend of Gratitude’, an entirely complimentary weekend at the resort for recently deployed Soldiers.
It is about a three-hour drive for us and we arrived late Friday afternoon. It was picture perfect, with a beautiful blanket of fresh snow covering everything. We quickly checked in and went to our cabin, which was across the road from the pool building and very near the lake. The view out the back of the cabin provided amazing views of the setting sun over the wooded lake shore (I wish I would’ve taken pictures). They had placed welcome gifts in the cabin for each of us. Kennadi quickly claimed the Beanie Baby reindeer (which she decided was a ‘Fox’ despite its antlers) & Sam got the Snowman (unfortunately, the snowman somehow did not make it home with us – I think he escaped from the vehicle at a bathroom break on the way home).
The cabin was spacious with a loft bedroom & bathroom that the kids laid claim to. Kate & I had our own on the main floor. We relaxed a bit, went to dinner and then just had a quiet evening hanging out and made plans for Saturday, which included downhill tubing, cross-country skiing, going for a sleigh ride, swimming and maybe a short trip to Nisswa (the closest little town) for some shopping.
Unfortunately we woke up to rain…freezing rain really puts a damper on enjoying outdoor activities in the snow. By 0900 the rain had turned into snow and our prospects for outdoor fun returned, but only for a short time. I called the tubing hill to confirm the hours only to discover that they had decided not to open that day because of the rain, which had not been forecasted to change to snow. It was disappointing, but understandable. It is pretty tough to undo a decision not to open a few hours after making the call not to. I then called the sleigh ride to find out they had made the same decision.
We were 0 for 2 on outdoor fun but thought there would be no reason we couldn’t do some cross-country skiing with me pulling the kids in a sled/toboggan. Well, except the resort did not have a sled and we had not brought ours from home. We decided to drive into Brainerd (about 15 miles away), buy a sled and a few other things and then stop at the shops in Nisswa. We could go sledding when we returned after lunch.
As we were getting into the car one of the resort employees pulls up with a brand new toboggan. They had taken it upon themselves to drive into town to buy a toboggan for us to use. Now that is world-class customer service: going above and beyond all expectations without hesitation. They sent someone into town to buy a sled simply because I asked if they had one to use. It is no wonder they have been in business and doing well for nearly 100 years.
Since we were already in the car, we continued with our plans of going into town. At the store Sam spotted some swimming goggles and he insisted he needed them for swimming, because Kennadi has some. He then decided he needed to try them on immediately and quickly decided they were the shiznatz; they, along with his ‘swimming pants’ (which is what he has decided to call his swim suit) have been an essential element of his daily wardrobe since. That is why he is wearing his swim goggles while playing in the snow. He just loves his swim goggles.
Once we got back to the resort we played in the snow for a while, then we went swimming before we had another fabulous meal at the fine dining restaurant on the resort. We finished the evening watching Christmas TV shows in bed.
Sunday was bright and cold, but we only had a few hours in the morning before heading home. Kate and Kennadi were treated to manicures at the resort spa while Sam & I played in the snow for a bit before packing the car up for the trip home.
We had a great time thanks to the gracious generosity of Grand View Lodge. It is incredibly heart-warming to be the recipient of such kindness. It is a top-tier resort with a customer service focus that rivals the renowned Disney. If you ever have a desire to visit central Minnesota, I promise you will not be disappointed in your stay at Grand View Lodge.
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