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Lake Superior from Historic Naniboujou Lodge: Rugged Beauty and Gentle Exercise

Program Number: 10463RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/20/2013 - 10/25/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Grand Marais, Minnesota
Price starting at: $645.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Topic; History & Culture
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Relax and learn by the rugged shore of Lake Superior. Meet people living in and around historic Cook County who exhibit a wealth of knowledge and talent. Spend a day in nearby Grand Marais, walk in Judge C. Magney State Park and enjoy naturalist-led sessions on the geology, plants and animals of the region. Complement your academic pursuits with daily tai chi and yoga, and conclude your week with a lively performance by a local folk band.


• As you explore Lake Superior, stay at the historic Naniboujou Lodge at a time when it is open to Road Scholar participants only.
• On a field trip to Grand Marais, seat of Cook County, visit North House Folk School, the Cook County Historical Museum, an art gallery and a local café for lunch.
• Enhance your physical and mental wellness with daily, easy-to-learn sessions of tai chi and yoga.

Activity Particulars

Range of ability levels welcome. Walk up to four miles on moderate and some rugged trails, beach, sidewalks on field trip. Shorter walking options available.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Vermilion Community College.

Grand Marais

A tiny harbor on the north shore of Lake Superior, Grand Marais is surrounded by lush forest and the Sawtooth Mountain range. For outdoor enthusiasts, the village offers easy access to hiking and biking trails. The active artist colony in the village provides year-round workshops and performances.

Naniboujou Lodge, listed on National Historic Register. Décor blends Native American, Art Deco influences. Dine beside stone fireplace in Great Hall. No elevators; limited first-floor rooms.
Meals and Lodgings
   Naniboujou Lodge
  Grand Marais, MN 5 nights
 Naniboujou Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The colorful and historic Naniboujou Lodge is located on the rugged shores of Lake Superior, where the Brule River enters the lake. Near Grand Marais, Nanibouou Lodge is about 125 miles from Duluth, Minnesota. The inviting solarium is where classes are held, and it is a comfortable place to enjoy a book or each other’s company in the evenings. The brilliantly decorated Great Hall of Naniboujou features designs of the Cree Native Americans. At one end is the massive fireplace constructed from rounded, water-washed stones. At 200 tons, it is Minnesota's largest native rock fireplace. This Great Hall is where delicious single entree buffet-style meals are served. Table lighting by oil lamp contributes to the historic ambiance. On the National Register of Historic Places, Naniboujou Lodge is a grand and unique North Shore retreat, offering the perfect spot for learning while enjoying a calm sense of being away from it all.
  Contact info: 20 Naniboujou Trail
Grand Marais, MN 55604 USA
phone: 218-387-2688
  Facility amenities: Your accommodations at this historic resort are basic. The rooms are beautifully appointed, but not spacious and storage space for clothing is limited. Each room has a private bath, shared by two participants, except for those signing up for single rooms. During your stay, there is no maid service, and you need to bring your own soap (if you want a full-size bar) and other toiletries. The rooms do not have telephones or televisions; however, there is a public phone in the lobby. (Cell phone coverage is very spotty---if existent at all---in this remote location.)
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Price is variable. Please contact the lodge directly at 218-387-2688 for rate and availability information.
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Price is variable. Please contact the lodge directly at 218-387-2688 for rate and availability information.
  Check out time: 1:30 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:30 PM registration at lodge north of Grand Marais, MN. You will be staying at Naniboujou Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after lunch. Check out by 1:30 PM. You will be staying at Naniboujou Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Participants must sign an informed consent form to participate, returning it to Program Coordinator prior to arrival. Bring a valid photo ID such as driver's license.
  Parking availability:
There is free parking at the lodge.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Grand Marais, MN
  Nearest highway: Highway 61.
  Nearest airport:  Duluth International Airport (DLH), Duluth, MN.
  From End of Program
  Location: Grand Marais, MN
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details





None - Car Required


This is a relatively remote location, and public transportation pretty non-existent. Every once in a while, people are able to make arrangements through Greyhound Bus, but our lodge is not an official stop and the route does not always exist. Sometimes people are able to carpool with other participants. Participants flying into Duluth are able to rent cars to continue travel to our program site.

Driving Directions
  From the South (Duluth) To reach Naniboujou Lodge you will travel along the north shore of Lake Superior on Highway 61. Unless arriving by way of Canada or Ely, you will probably go through Duluth. (Duluth is the closest airport.) Plan on about 3-hours driving time from Duluth, and more if you make stops or take the "Scenic Northshore Drive" just outside of Duluth. The lodge is on the lake side of Highway 61 about 15 miles northeast of the town of Grand Marais. The driveway is across from Judge C. Magney State Park after you cross the Brule River, and it is well marked.
  Supplemental Information There are numerous wayside rests and state parks to stop at along the shore. Many rivers come cascading into the lake and make for a pretty drive. Whether you view the rivers from the wayside parking areas or take a short hike along their banks, it is well worth allowing some extra travel time to enjoy the area.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival/Orientation
(Sunday, October 20)
 Afternoon: Plan to arrive between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM. Be sure to include extra time if you would like to make stops along the shore of Lake Superior prior to arriving at the program.
 Dinner: Enjoy a delicious meal served in the spectacular Great Hall, which features the original work of Antoine Goufee, a French artist. Cree Indian designs cover the walls of this 30 x 80 foot room as well as the twenty-foot-high domed ceiling that resembles the form of an upturned canoe. A series of glass-paned French doors grace each side, and a huge native rock fireplace anchors the space on an end. Each single-entree meal is served buffet-style, so you can choose your own portion size.
 Evening: Welcome and orientation with introductions is held in the solarium adjacent to Lake Superior. Review the schedule and meet your fellow participants and program staff.
Accommodations: Naniboujou Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Local Artist and Author / Lighthouse Keeping Women / Gentle Exercise / North American Fur Trade
(Monday, October 21)
 Breakfast: Enjoy a delicious breakfast with hot tea or coffee in the ambiance of the Great Hall.
 Morning: Learn about lighthouses and lighthouse keepers of the Great Lakes Region, and in particular, individual women who kept the lights going.

Explore the fascinating trail of idea to published book with children's author and linoleum block-cut artist Kelly Dupre, as she takes you through the process for the publication of The Raven's Many Gifts.

 Lunch: Enjoy a simple, but delicious lunch in the Great Hall. Soup and sandwiches are the usual fare, and for those falling in love with the creamy cheese tomato soup or the golden "breakfast" bread (a delicious sandwich bread with orange, carrot, and raisin), recipes can be found in the Naniboujou cookbook.
 Afternoon: A short period of free time precedes dinner. Relax with others in the solarium, take a walk along the beach looking for agates or listening to the waves, or pursue something else on your own.

An introduction to gentle exercise kicks off the afternoon. Walking, stretching, and Ta'i Chi Chih are all activities which will be explored throughout the week. No one will be asked to go beyond the limits of their ability.

 Dinner: Eat in the Great Hall.
 Evening: Gain an understanding of the vast enterprise known as North American Fur Trade. Learn the role of Lake Superior and Grand Portage. An animated presenter brings to life this historical topic.
Accommodations: Naniboujou Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Local Author / Lake Superior / Gentle Exercise / Regional Plant Identification / Local Artist
(Tuesday, October 22)
 Breakfast: Discuss with a table of fellow learners what you have learned so far this week, while enjoying a hearty breakfast in the Great Hall. Baked oatmeal is one of the favorites for the morning meal.
 Morning: Retired country doctor Roger McDonald recounts tales from his medical practice through readings from his books, including "Tales from a Country Doctor's Case Book" with his wife Jacki.

Learn interesting facts about Lake Superior, and gain an introductory knowledge of geology and how it applies to the actual forces forming the largest of the great lakes. As time allows, there may be a "rock hunting" walk down to the beach.

 Lunch: Enjoy another scrumptious lunch in the Great Hall.
 Afternoon: Become invigorated with more gentle exercise, and perhaps a walk in Judge C. Magney State Park.

Learn how to identify the trees and many of the non-flowering plants of the north woods, particularly those in the Lake Superior region. This session includes both indoor and outdoor learning, and participants will be given a tree key to take home with them.

 Dinner: Recount the day's events over another wonderful meal in the Great Hall.
 Evening: Watch an artist at work, as he paints and tells of his life in the Lake Superior region.
Accommodations: Naniboujou Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Grand Marais Field Trip Day (Artists' Point, Cook County History Museum, North House Folk School, Art Gallery Tour)
(Wednesday, October 23)
 Breakfast: Enjoy another nourishing breakfast in the Great Hall.
 Morning: Meet the bus and depart for an all day trip to Grand Marias. Stretch or do Ta'i Chi Chih on Artists' Point, right on Lake Superior in Grand Marais. Learn and gain appreciation for the local inhabitants of this town, with a visit to the Cook County History Museum. Explore the folk arts and the folk school style of learning in an introductory session and tour of the North House Folk School. Expect to walk 16 to 20 blocks during the course of the day on this six hour field trip, which also includes some sitting and standing.
 Lunch: Enjoy local fare at a small cafe in Grand Marais. Planned is lunch at Sven and Ole's, which claims national recognition and features pizza.
 Afternoon: After lunch is a chance to explore several art galleries including Johnson Heritage Post Gallery and Sivertson Gallery, followed by additional time for exploration of the quaint community of Grand Marais on your own. Upon return to Naniboujou, enjoy afternoon tea and some free time before dinner.
 Dinner: Hopefully you didn't eat too much at the afternoon tea, because another delicious dinner awaits you in the Great Hall.
 Evening: Explore regional wildflowers with a naturalist.
Accommodations: Naniboujou Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Devil's Kettle Interpretive Hike / Free Afternoon / Folk Music and Dance
(Thursday, October 24)
 Breakfast: Enjoy another delicious breakfast in the Great Hall. Perhaps it is pancakes, fresh fruit, and a side of homemade granola this time.
 Morning: An interpretive hike in Judge C. Magney leads to a beautiful waterfall, which in the fall, is often at a level where you can see half of the water flow disappear into a kettle, and the other half continues on. The catch? There are about 125 stairs to get to this scenic point of view on this roughly four mile hike. Regardless, the hike is rewarding for all who start regardless of how far one's abilities allow them to go, and returning early is an option. Generally two instructors accompany the group.
 Lunch: Share stories of what was seen on the trail with your table mates at yet another delicious lunch in the Great Hall.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon on your own. Relax at the lodge, hike some more, return to Grand Marias, or head to Grand Portage to see the interpretive visitor's center there---highly recommended, particularly if you enjoyed the Great Lakes Fur Trade presentation.
 Dinner: Reflect on the week during conversation over dinner in the Great Hall.
 Evening: Enjoy a performance by the local folk music group "Over the Waterfall" and learn a dance or two. Even if dancing is not your thing, this enthusiastic group of musicians is truly something to experience.
Accommodations: Naniboujou Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Gentle Exercise / North Woods Animals / Closing Ceremonies
(Friday, October 25)
 Breakfast: Enjoy a final breakfast in the Great Hall.
 Morning: Gather as a group to reflect on the week and "test" your new found knowledge of this region. Don't let the "final exam" portion of this program's Closing Ceremonies scare you---come and have fun as a group one last time before lunch and your departure.

Engage your body and mind in a short session in gentle exercise---perhaps a Ta'i Chi Chih routine, some stretching exercises, or a jaunt outside on a quick walk.

Conclude the rugged beauty theme of the program with a session on north woods animals. Some of what is here and what is not might surprise you. Learn interesting tidbits about a variety of animal inhabitants.

 Lunch: Enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow Road Scholar participants one more time while enjoying a delicious lunch.
 Afternoon: Plan to check-out from the lodge by 1:30 PM.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Grand Marais, MN Grand Maris and the North Shore
Visit the Grand Marais Chamber of Commerce web site to learn about the unique aspects of this region. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The Breathing Book

Author: Donna Farhi

"Tai Chi Chih" Joy thru Movement

Author: Justin Stone

The Wolves of Minnesota: Howl in the Heartland

Author: David L. Mech

Description: Take a look at the history of wolves with a focus on the Minnesota wolf population.

Canoe Country Flora: Plants and Trees of the North Woods and Boundary Waters

Author: Mark Stensaas

Description: This enjoyable book highlights the important plants found in this region.

Canoe Country Wildlife: A Field Guide to the Boundary Waters and Quetico

Author: Mark Stensaas

Description: This enjoyable book highlights the important animals found in this region.

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