For the first time since we moved in, Tom and I took a “vacation” from the RV when we went across northern Minnesota and came back through Canada. We stayed at Thunderbird Lodge on the edge of Rainy Lake, Minnesota for two nights.
Northern Minnesota doesn’t have many chain hotels; our usual overnight stays when we are away from the RV. There are plenty of “resorts” and cabins for rent, especially along Lake Superior. We have had some excellent recommendations from people who come into Grand Portage National Monument on places to stay along the lake. But the RV is already parked on the lake shore, so we haven’t checked into any of them.
We knew that going to Voyageurs National Park would be an overnight trip and we decided to make it more of a vacation by taking two nights. After a little research, we decided to stay at Thunderbird Lodge at the end of MN 11. It got good reviews and also has a restaurant that looked pretty good. It is also located across the street from the Rainy Lake entrance to Voyageurs National Park.
We tried to book a room in July, but they were full, so we settled for the end of August when they had some rooms open. We got an inside room, as opposed to a lake view room which was $30 more per night. We figured we would only be in the room after dark anyway.
Thunderbird Lodge is a typical 1960’s lodge with 10 cabins and 25 rooms. The outside looked rustic, but inside the rooms were clean and looked like there had been some effort to update. The water was hot, the bed was comfortable and the television worked: pretty much all we demand in a hotel room. One of the unusual things about Thunderbird Lodge is that they didn’t take a deposit when we booked the room and they wouldn’t accept payment until we checked out. When was the last time you didn’t have to pay for the room when you checked in?
We ate at the restaurant for three meals: supper the first night, lunch the next day, and breakfast the last morning. All the meals were excellent and reasonably priced. The restaurant was busy on Tuesday night with lots of people just coming in to eat at the lodge. For breakfast I had blueberry pancakes and they served the pancakes with real maple syrup. Yum! We also enjoyed the Tollhouse Pie for dessert the first night. It wasn’t as good as Fatz (it had nuts) but it was still delicious.
Thunderbird Lodge is surrounded by a marina. While we ate in the restaurant, we enjoyed watching the boats come and go. When I ate breakfast there, I got to watch some people who commuted to work by boat! Houseboats were for rent just across the marina – but they are rented by the week so we weren’t interested. Thunderbird Lodge also provided a canoe and paddleboat for use by their guests. It was free.
The service at Thunderbird Lodge was excellent. On our lone afternoon at the lodge, we were playing games at a table outside. The owner / manager of the Lodge brought us ice water because it was “so hot” (I think it was 72).
We really enjoyed our stay at Thunderbird Lodge and would definitely recommend it as a place to stay if you are visiting Voyageurs National Park.