My journey began in Nisswa, Minnesota with my first stop at the well-known Grand View Lodge. A portrayal of what “Grand” looks and feels like, Grand View has provided guests with many rejuvenating, de-stressing and family vacation experiences. For over a century, Grand View has developed quite the reputation for In–State weddings and honeymoons and for a great get away after the wedding for the parents. This “Grand” resort, is the most well-preserved examples of early resort log construction in existence today. So much so it was selected in 1979 for the National Registry of Historic Places. Constructed out of Norway Pine, the Lodge cannot be altered by construction and only materials authentic to the early 1900s can be used throughout.
Let’s start with s bit of historical perspective. It’s always fascinates me how much the purchase price was for the lakeshore property. In 1916, Mr. M.V. Baker began selling 50-foot parcels on the Gull Lake shoreline. His holdings included 238 lots along 3,000 feet of lakefront, which he had purchased for $43.00 per acre. In turn, he offered the lakefront lots for $10 per foot, “I know crazy, right!”
From the moment I turned off Hwy 731 I had the sense this is going to be something special. Seeing the well-manicured lawns and flower beds leading to the appointed entrance. A nice cool breeze of 78 degrees ushered in a fresh clear smell of nature. And as part of the welcoming committee were the cute friendly squirrels who were up early to get their coffee just like us – okay maybe nuts – but you get the picture, they were busy.
Opening the door, I was taken aback with the scent of Northern Pine and view of all things rustic. As I waited for Cindy Beysinger, Director of Sales and Becky Bohnenstingl, Wedding Specialist I just sat in awe of the lodge lobby and the sense of a calm and leisurely morning for their guests. The grand antler chandeliers in the lobby did not disappoint nor did the red lumberjack throws on the leather sofa surrounded by the spotless environment. I could see why some just like to relax in the lobby, reading a book, playing chess or a board-game or quite honestly just gazing and being mesmerized by it all. Watching the staff and meeting Cindy and Becky, I can see the pride they have for their job and the resort overall.
There are so many areas for wedding ceremonies of varying sizes, no matter what area you select it will be perfect. From the famous walk down to the beach from the lodge or the nicely new appointed patio and gardens. The new patio, where once stood an old oak tree before the storm of 2015, is beautiful with three waterfalls and stonework. From the endless possibilities for the ceremony and on to the reception venues which can accommodate up to 400 guests.
Wondering through the resort I felt as though I was in a different time with all the modern conveniences. With everything being so calming and relaxing I missed all the staff making sure there were no details missed and believe me when I say I was really looking to find something. Even the industrial kitchen was spotless when we snuck through the back of house to take a shortcut on our tour.
So what is new? Besides the well-known spa, there is a fifty-room hotel under construction with an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and, of course, their beautiful wedding chapel. Yes, the wedding chapel is about 1300 square feet and will accommodate up to eighty guests for your ceremony. The chapel is very quaint and intimate, my mind was going crazy envisioning winter weddings in the chapel. And if all this wasn’t enough the bell tower can actually play different bell tones/songs as the couple leaves happily married.
So what was the hidden gem or secret at the Grand View Lodge? Well not to disappoint, they have a secret cozy restaurant called Cru that very few people know about. You may think, okay what’s so secret about this? Glowing on one side of the room is a highly acclaimed wine and champagne vault which received the 2017 Wine Spectator Magazine’s “Award of Excellence.” And you can even select the wine and champagne for your 100 dinner guests from the vault for your wedding celebration in Cru.