Among the few rules for travel my wife and I always used to share: a) never retread the same vacation spot from one year to the next; b) never concern ourselves with what’s offered for breakfast, and c) never go anywhere with a big water slide.
Grand View Lodge somehow changed all that. We’ve gone several times in summer and actually a few more times in winter and have yet to tire of it. We love the 3,000 feet of sandy shoreline when it’s warm, and the giant indoor pool when it’s cold. We like the restaurants on site, especially the Italian Gardens, built into an old yellow family home on the grounds. And we just like the grounds themselves, 700 well-kept acres to roam.
Set on the north shore of Gull Lake only a mile outside Nisswa — the kind of small Minnesota town that still has an A&W drive-in — Grand View did suit at least one of our vacation preferences, which is staying in historic lodges. How ironic, then, that we’ve never actually stayed in the 1919-dated lodge itself but have rented nearly every type of cabin, townhouse and fourplex unit the resort has to offer, usually based on whatever is being offered under the “Last Minute Vacancies” tab on their site (hard to come by on summer weekends, but otherwise plentiful).
We also like the non-lodge units because they have kitchens and living rooms, units much better suited for families with young children. Ah, yes, children — another big reason our preferences adjusted toward Grand View.
For starters, it’s just one Disney movie and “Sophia the First” episode away from Minneapolis. It also has a lot of fun things for our daughters, now 7 and 4, to do on site without feeling like a Chuck E. Cheese with a breakfast buffet — a very, very good, freshly kept breakfast buffet that actually wound up being another reason we all like the place.
We usually go straight from the morning dining room to either the big indoor/outdoor pool, or to one of daily activities. The list of to-dos always includes something we can do together, like a sleigh ride in winter or a pontoon boat ride in summer, plus fireside s’mores and bingo most nights in both seasons.
As for the water slide, we even grew to love that big ugly monstrosity. Our appreciation for it built cumulatively over our stays since my oldest daughter would climb the steps year after year, only to chicken out at the top each time. She finally made the plunge during our stay this past winter. Predictably, we couldn’t tear her away from the thing after that. It seems to be a trend for us at Grand View.
More information: Grand View Lodge, on Gull Lake in Nisswa, Minn., offers many lodging options in four distinct areas, from lodge rooms on the main property to townhouses near the golf course. In high season, two-bedroom cabins with four queen beds on the main property can go for $500 per night or higher, though there is a wide range of prices depending upon location and type (1-866-801-2951; 1-218-963-2234; www.grandviewlodge.com).