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Summer in Ely, MN
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Blue Heron is ideal for easy-to-access experiences of the incredible beauty and silence of the BWCAW
(Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness).


Recent summer sightings at Blue Heron . . . above Blue Heron resting atop a Black Spruce in South Farm Lake, and below - a wolf pup sighted on the Kawishiwi Trail.

Map and Directions

Just five canoe lengths from our dock you cross the line to the fabled BWCAW.

Paddle about 100 yards and around the corner into South Farm Lake and the silence goes from quiet to awesome!

Blue Heron is ideal for easy-to-access experiences of the incredible beauty and silence of the BWCAW. You can paddle 2 hrs around South Farm Lake or head up the Kawishiwi (both in BWCAW) for a day trip and maybe even keep going till you reach the Gunflint Trail! There are several easy portages within a day that take you deep into the canoe wilderness.

Try stopping at a wonderful rocky ledge to view the omnipresent eagles who take their prey to an rocky island just off shore. Spy on the loons who “own “ that territory, observe the beaver at their houses and keep an eye out for the occasional moose noshing along the shore.

Blue Heron includes the use of a canoe in your room rate and supplies life jackets and paddles as well as maps and permits -and refreshers in paddling if you wish. And you’ll be urged to take a map (free) and keep checking it! Oh yes, and we’ll remind you to take drinking water. Don’t forget your hat!

How about taking a picnic lunch? Tell us the day ahead and we’ll pack it in insulated sacks. Contrary to rumors chocolate truffels are NOT banned in the BWCAW!

There are something like 4 day trips in the contiguous lakes - enough to keep you busy for a while. But we’ll also be glad to arrange for an experienced guide to take you out to other lakes, visit the Indian pictographs, see historic waters. Or a fishing guide. The more time you give us to make these arrangements the more likely you are to get the day/person you’d like. Many guides are fully booked soon after the beginning of the season.

You can combine canoeing and fishing as well - The wild rice patch just off our shore is a haven for bass, northern pike & bluegills. You can get some action right off the dock - great for kids of all sizes.

And of course swimming: Many islands offer inviting shallows to stop for a quick dip or laze away the afternoon. You just might share those shallows with a playful otter. There is also a swim raft anchored just off the shore in front of Blue Heron.

Our area abounds in unique hiking trails. Blue Heron supplies trail maps and experienced advice. Ask for a lunch a day ahead. Jo will also tell you what’s in bloom each month and what birds are about. Here too, bring a water bottle and a hat!

Bird watching is a favorite occupation at Blue Heron. No matter the season there’s always action at our feeders - and lots of books to help you identify what you see. Right on Blue Heron’s 10 acres there are two nests of pileated woodpeckers and 2 active wood duck houses. The blue heron frequently puts in appearances in the early morning and late afternoon as he/she makes its rounds. The Yellow Bellied Sapsucker may wake you in the morning proclaiming his territory on the metal roof of the wood shed. Warblers, Finches, Grosbeaks, Jays, White Throated Sparrow, Red Winged Blackbird, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Veery,Thrushes, Verio, I loose track of them all.

Don't forget berry picking.. wild strawberries in early July, raspberries later and blueberries in August.  Just stroll down the driveway and you'll come back with a cupful.   While you are out pick a bouquet of wild flowers.

Be sure to leave time for sitting on the deck at Blue Heron, or by the beach, delve into our collection of books about the North Country. Plan to spend an evening around the campfire here - we usually have marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars on hand.

Each room has a packet of “Things to do in the Ely Area” Here’s a partial list:

The International Wolf Center - a must stop! 1.800.ely wolf  or www.wolf.org
The North American Bear Center - www.bear.org
The Dorothy Molter Center (the “rootbeer lady” of the BWCA) 218.365.4451
The Soudan Underground Mine - 1/2 mile deep! 218.753.2245
Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary - Bears, bears, and more bears! 800.357.9255
Ely’s History Interpretative Center - displays of early life in the mining and logging of this region. 218.365.3226
Guided day trip to the Indian pictographs - Gateway North Outfitters, 800-280-2359
Guided fishing adventure - check with Blue Heron for options

Or try these activities:

* a plane ride over the border lakes region  with Van Air 218.753.2331
* a pontoon boat tour of historic Burntside Lake 218.365.5445
* rent a kayak or rent a bicycle at Piragis 800.223.6565 piragis.com or at Red Rock  Outfitting 800.280.1078

* plan time for Ely’s unique shops - handicrafts abound
* Golf - 9 challenging holes in Ely,   218.365.5932.....  9 holes in Babbitt 218.827.2603, and a championship 18 hole course at Giants Ridge 218.865.4143 or The Wilderness at Fortune Bay 800-992-4680  www.thewildernessgolf.com

* "Iron World"  The Iron Range Cultural Center & Amusement Park. Features the history of iron mining in our area and the people of different cultures that worked them. 800.372.6437
* Hull Rust Mine the largest working open pit iron mine in the world.... maybe. 218.262.4900
* the town of Embarrass's Visitors & Sisu (Finnish) Heritage Tour Center Old Finnish Home & Barn tours www.embarrass.org
* Ely Chamber of Commerce & Tourist Information Center 800.777.7281   www.ely.org   fun@ely.org

Best of all, Northern Lights (when "She" provides, and the clouds allow)
The Milky way - free of light pollution, simply awesome...
or the Call of the Loons... & the Howl of the Wolves are FREE

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