- a top-notch dog sled experience each day, the north wood best creature comforts each evening
- featuring our smallest group size (4 guests per trip) and most flexible itinerary to match your interests
- ideal for couples or pairs of friends (or book as a 4-some for your own private customized trip)
- mush with your friend or spouse on our extra wide and stable 2-person sleds, or try 'going it alone' on our solo sleds
- 3 full days of guided dog sledding with options tailored to your interests (great for those wanting to 'ease' into winter)
- enjoy 2 nights in Timber Trail’s top lodging options (either private lake shore log cabins or deluxe new Evergreen Cabin)
- plus 2 nights at the award-winning Blue Heron Inn in deluxe bedroom suites with gourmet dinners and wine
- a special luncheon at M17077 Lodge where you'll arrive by dog sled for a kennel visit and lunch by our French chef
- an evening of fireside stories with our director and polar explorer Paul Schurke (pending his schedule) or guides
- a special welcoming dinner on your first night and send-off brunch on the final "Musher’s Graduation" morning
- option to extend your stay a day or two in same accommodations at discount rates
Guest Profile: Last year, nearly half of our these trips were booked by pairs of couples or family groups as their own private, custom dog sledding vacations. On the other trips, 80% of the guests came as couples (ave. age 42), 20% as pairs of friends. While mealtimes are social, these trips offer couples more time to themselves mornings/evenings as they choose in their private suites or cabins.
Lodging: The suites at Blue Heron feature king beds with comforters, private adjoining full baths and private decks with lake views. At Timber Trail Lodge, the private lake shore log cabins each pair of guests will stay in (except on the Dec 29, Feb 9 and Feb 16 trip dates) feature their choice among 3 bedrooms and each has a living room with fireplace.
Meals: The meals served at Blue Heron vary with the chef but sample entries from last year’s menu included Canadian walleye, sesame pan-seared pork loin with an apricot apple and honey reduction, eggplant zydeco, Mediterranean chicken with couscous and fabulous desserts. Complimentary wine is served with each dinner and Blue Heron has an extensive wine list from which additional wine can be purchased. The dinners served at Timber Trail are catered by M17077’s French chef Bernard Herrmann. A couple sample menus: almond-breaded chicken with light curry sauce and rice, Brazilian Tres' Leche cake; sliced roast pork with apricot sweet and sour sauce, cous cous, oven roast potato or corn fritters, baked caramel custard with almond lace cookies. M17077 does not have a wine license but guests are welcome to bring their wine to share at Timber Trail meals. We are more than happy to accommodate any dietary requests including low fat, diabetic, allergies, vegetarian, vegan, gluten and/or lactose free.
Day 1: Arrive in Ely early afternoon by car or airport taxi shuttle. Visit Ely's International Wolf Center if time allows (tickets compliments of M17077, winter hours: 10-4 Sat/Sun). Stop at Wintergreen store for any rental clothing needs, continue to lodge (Blue Heron Inn or Timber Trail's lakeshore cabins) for check-in and site tour. Meet your guides and dogs. Welcoming dinner at 6 pm followed by trip orientation session and clothing check. Optional Saturday evening visit with our director Paul Schurke (pending his schedule) for some Arctic adventure stories. Or simply enjoy time to yourselves in your bedroom suite or lake shore cabin.
Day 2: Sunrise kennel care (optional) followed by breakfast and "Dog sledding 101" training. The big moment arrives as your guides help you launch your team and accompany you on a dog sled training trip. Midday lunch in lodge, skills review, extended rest break. Afternoon dog sled trip. Return to lodge 4-5 pm. Treat & water your dogs. R&R. Dinner. Optional socializing with guests and guides around the fireplace.
Day 3: Kennel care and breakfast. Pack up luggage (which we'll shuttle to the next lodge for you). Depart on full day of mushing with trailside campfire lunch and rest stops at scenic sites. Wintergreen guides accompany you on skis, providing tune-up tips on your mushing skills and sharing natural history info along the route. Arrive at next lodge late afternoon. Treat and water your dogs. Optional skiing/snowshoeing or R&R. 6 pm dinner. Optional evening activates include Finnish-style sauna, campfire gathering, fireplace stories, and/or 'film fest' to view the National Geographic documentaries on Wintergreen adventures.
Day 4: Now that you "knows the ropes", the guides will plan the day based upon your interests - choose between easy or challenging trails and a longer or shorter routes. Scenic stops might include the ice caves, the Murphys Falls overlook, the river bluff, the old growth forest and you may opt to include time for skiing/snowshoeing or to try "ski-jouring" (being towed on skis by a sled dog). On our "Star" trips, Day 4 often includes a visit by dog sled to Wintergreen for an indoor lunch break with French chef Bernard and kennel tour. Return to Blue Heron or Timber Trail mid to late afternoon (or earlier if one or both pairs of guests would like more R and R in their cabin). Dog treats. Celebration dinner. Optional evening activities or time to yourselves.
Day 5: Kennel care (optional), "bon voyage" breakfast buffet, "Mushers Graduation" event, kennel visit to bid your dogs adieu, check-out mid to late morning (or earlier if your travel plans require). Or if you'd like to extend your stay an extra day or two, we can often arrange for you to continue the same lodging at discount rates. If you weren't able to visit the Wolf Center on your check-in day, we can often arrange for you to visit at least the wolf viewing area on your check-out day.
Check in 3-6 pm first day, check out 9-12 am last day.
Prices 2008-2009 "Star" Vacations:
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USA Minnesota Outdoor: Land Rambler Dogsledding
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