By Roger Cox, Editor
The 400-acre Grand View Lodge is the Midwest's quintessential family retreat. It consists of a three-story log lodge—built in 1919 and now on the National Register of Historic Places—and some 60 cabins, which range in size from a single room to 8-bedroom, 4,800-square-foot houses. Most have fireplaces; all have modern baths. The resort begins at a beach on pristine Gull Lake and runs inland through a forest of pines, birches, and poplars, encompassing an active tennis complex and the Pines golf course, an enthralling beauty that ranks No. 1 in the state. A myriad of flowers adds to the appeal of the property, so does the friendly staff.
There are 7 hard courts right near the lodge. The tennis here tends to be very low-key and informal; kids and low intermediates will find programming to fit their needs though less than was typical before the resort shifted its emphasis to golf. If you're a strong intermediate or above, however, and just looking for a match, you're pretty much on your own. There is a game board in the pro shop with a list of other guests looking for games, but the staff only makes calls if prompted. The pro, Marnie Whalen, who coaches the local high school team, provides direction to the programs. "We cater heavily to families," she noted. There's a free daily clinic for adults as well as clinics for what they call "Shorty Swatters." She also has programs for teens, who, she is happy to say, "are turning out in larger numbers." There's also a mixer every afternoon with a sliding handicap (the more games you're ahead the more points you're penalized in the next game). "It's mostly an opportunity for people to meet each other," she says, "but even the stronger players seem to enjoy the challenge."
Above all, this is a fabulous family destination, with a wealth of recreation, tons of kids programs, handsome accommodations, and prices that include activities and breakfast and dinner.
Beach. Gull Lake is reported to be one of the premier lakes in state, with a long reputation for family business. It's clean, with a gently sloping bottom and a border of sandy beach.
Golf Courses. Guests can play at any of 4 golf courses.
Deacon's Lodge: Designed by Arnold Palmer and opened in 1999
The Preserve: A 18-hole course regarded as one of Minnesota's finest
The Pines: A 27 hole course known for its rolling terrain
The Garden Course: A manicured 9-hole, par 35 executive course a short walk from the Lodge and bordered by flowers and shrubs.
And ... The watersports center has several kinds of non-motorized craft available including fishing boats, canoes, and playaks. There is also an indoor heated swimming pool with a 110-foot waterslide, waterguns, two whirlpools, and an exercise room with cardio equipment and 10 stations for weight training.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Lodge runs a Kid's Club for those ages 3-6 and an Adventure Club for children 7-12. These run morning and or afternoon and can include lunch. An evening program (6-8 p.m.) is also available.
Lodging options range from rooms for two with log beds in the Lodge up to 8-bedroom cabins able to accommodate 16 or more.
The main dining is in the Pine Room of the historic lodge; however guests also have the option of taking meals in an Italian Garden or the fancier Sherwood Forest.
If Grand View's family-friendly atmosphere, setting, and multiple dimensions appeal to you, also check out:
There are 12 rooms in the lodge and 65 cabins ranging in size from 1 to 8 bedrooms. All rates include breakfast and dinner, unlimited free tennis, discounted golf, children's and social programs. For children in the room add (per child, per night): ages 1-2 $10, ages 3-5 $50, ages 6-12 $65 to cover meals.
Visit the website for current rates
Seasons. The main social and family season runs from mid June to late August. In the late spring and fall, it tends to attract groups, though selected dates and weekends during those periods may be available for vacationers. Check with the resort to find out for sure.
©2017 Roger Cox
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©2017 Roger Cox