Great Summer Getaway: Ely, MN

By KBJR News 2

February 21, 2012 Updated Feb 21, 2012 at 11:47 AM CDT

The Northland's NewsCenter has gone in search of great summer getaways that are close to home and won't break the bank.
Our destination tonight is Ely, MN, the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. If you're looking to get away from it all and into the outdoors this is the spot for you.

Step outside the town boundaries of Ely and you step into the great outdoors.

"It's a primitive wilderness area. No roads, houses, no structures, and permits limit entrance into the area," said Canadian Waters owner Dan Waters.

That area is known as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area or BWCA.
Ask anyone in town and they'll tell you Ely is the canoe capitol of the world.

"We send out more individuals, family groups, church groups, scout groups, than anywhere else in the US," said Chamber of Commerce President Kerry Davis.

The Boundary Waters make up the largest fresh water canoe area in North America, with more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes. If you plan on taking a trip, Dan Waters who runs this downtown outfitters shop says give yourself time.

"They can go at their own pace, better not to have their own schedule or deadline they have to make."

Whether you're planning on spending just a weekend or a whole week in Ely, Lady Bug Lodge on the shores of Shagawa Lake is one great spot to kick back and get in touch with nature.

"Ladybug lodge is a family oriented resort that specializes in family recreation," said lodge owner Bernie Baltich.

Baltich owns the lodge and offers an all inclusive package that'll give visitors a place to sleep and a place to explore.

"People rent cabins, get the pontoons, and they are on the lake most of the time, we hardly see them," Baltich said.

He says when you're in Ely, you're on the edge of the wilderness.

"It's not overdone. It's almost as though as when you rent a cabin from someone in Ely, it's like your own summer home. It's not like you're part of a grand resort complex or something "

On any vacation shutterbugs know pictures are a must. There is no better place to snap away than in picture-perfect Ely.

Steve Foss is a professional photographer.

"As a professional photographer, I don't think it's very much different for me than it is for those coming here as tourists to take pictures ."

Foss says the opportunity for photos here is endless. One spot he recommends is Rookie Pond overlook.

"It's one of the few place you can actually drive to around Ely and get a vista, type of landscape most people think about when they think about landscape photography."

Foss offers guided tours to both professionals and amateurs alike.
He says when taking pictures, have patience, the memories will be worth it.

"Years from now when you look at those photos and you remember how we felt when we took them and what we were doing at the time. It's a simply a way to preserve the continuity of our lives."

From the quiet waters to the abundant lodging and the picturesque views. Ely is a destination like no other. The chamber of commerce says it's a 'big ticket' hot spot

"Canada wanted to buy us last year, why wouldn't you come to see a place where we staved that off, and also coming up for 2016 Olympics, you got to see the venue for that so even if you don't like to camp, you don't want to go to a resort, you at least gotta see what we're talking about," Davis jokingly said.

For more information, visit:
Ely, MN Chamber of Commerce
Steve Foss Images
Canadian Waters
Lady Bug Lodge