Villas At Giants Ridge – This Is “THERE”

By E. Nolan

“There” is a place in northern Minnesota. And not just any place. A very special place. It starts with the golf and ends with the lodging. Or, you can look at it (and/or book it) the other way around. Either way, the point is the same. If you’re looking to TRULY experience the best of both worlds at two of the very best golf courses in the entire state of Minnesota, you should plan on being “there” more than a day… and plan on spending your nights snugly in the rustic luxury of the Villas at Giants Ridge.

That’s right, we’re talking about Giants Ridge… the mammoth northern Minnesota resort that’s all golf and skiing on the surface but so very much more in essence – at the core. This is where the outdoor enthusiast (and bang-for-your-buck vacationer) comes to wander and explore; to snowmobile, bike, fish, swim, escape, chillax, and just enjoy the highlights from the highest points of our beautiful state. Yes, this is “there.”

I freely mixed summer and winter verbs to accentuate the fact that this is a year round vacation destination – or “destication” as I like to say. It’s really up to you what time of year you like to adventure outdoors, and you can pick your passions from the seasons and flush them out to the extreme here (or “there”) – in the land of Paul Bunyan’s footprints – on the wild outskirts of Biwabik.

The Villas at Giants Ridge form the comfortable doorstep wedged between, and opening to, a pair of Jeffrey Brauer 18-hole masterpieces – the Quarry and the Legend. Many a golfer and golf publication considers the Quarry (just south of the Villas) to be Minnesota’s greatest design (neck-in-neck with only it’s distant northern neighbor at The Wilderness at Fortune Bay). And anyone with the ability to see can likely appreciate why I consider #17 at the Legend (just north of the Villas) to be Minnesota’s #1 overall golf hole. That stunning lakeside par 3 is not only one of America’s Top 10 Prettiest Golf Holes – according to GolfGetaways Magazine – but is just a piece of the incredible natural mosaic of these parts. That stunning lakescape – the serene aura of that gem of a golf hole – is the same aura that surrounds The Villas at Giants Ridge. That’s why people love to play here. That’s why people love to stay “there.”

I could just leave it at that. And yet I shouldn’t. I should tell you more – give you more reasons to come up here for a weekend, or any 2, 3, or 4+ day stretch. I should emphasize why the Villas at Giants Ridge are a beacon to throngs of Midwesterners well beyond Minnesota – and well beyond the golf fan. Yes, let’s go “there.”

This is “there” – where you should bring your family. This is “there” – where you should bring your friends. This is “there” – where you can customize your own vacation, and even throw in nationally ranked golf if you’d like. This is “there” – where you get to stay in an expansive living space with lake views, with fishing out your back door, with recreational facilities for your kids and a plethora of other things to explore – playgrounds, pools and trails galore.

In terms of lodging, the Villas provide the vacationer with many appealing choices for even the pickiest of choosers. Consider the Suites… They offer a Studio for two, a one bedroom Suite for four and a two bedroom Suite for up to six. All options offer full kitchens and washer and dryers for those who do it right, and commit to extended stays.

Or perhaps the three or four bedroom Villas… Overlooking Wynne Lake (and connecting to the gorgeous Sabin Lake), these charmingly rustic north woods Villas can comfortably fit between 8 and 12 guests, providing full kitchens, washers and dryers, televisions, hardwood and carpet floors, whirlpool tubs, walkout patios and balconies, and bedroom configurations to fit the extents and needs of your own functional or dysfunctional families.

And there’s another reason the Villas at Giants Ridge have been dubbed by some as “One of the Midwest’s Hottest Winter Destinations.” Answer: The Deluxe Villas. The Deluxe Villas are a “hot commodity” in the winter, where you can stay warm outside like few others in the area can – in the awesome bubbles of soothing hot tubs. Those Villas are nice in the summer too, but they go fast, so you need to plan (and book) ahead! The proximity to the two courses is a major perk for golfers, yes, but it is enjoyed just as much by the ski and snowboard crews, as winter visitors are just those same few mega-footsteps from the Giants Ridge Ski Resort, with its 35 downhill runs, cross-country trails and snowboard/tubing parks. Oh, and as an added bonus… the Villas are surrounded by over 2,000 miles of snowmobile trails.

It can be a lengthy drive to get “there” – depending on where you’re coming from – but it’s going to be a darn beautiful one, and the pot at the end of this particular rainbow of Northern Lights is full of varied treasure. This part of Minnesota is our Disney World… our Worlds of Fun… our Adventureland. The ski, snowboard, and golf cart rides on this terrain are every bit as memorable as Space and Splash Mountain. And best of all… don’t forget… you can easily spend an entire week up “there” for what two days would cost you in Anaheim or Orlando.

If I’m making a compelling argument for your vacation dollar then I’m underachieving. There shouldn’t be much of an argument at all. I’d maintain that from Brainerd to Biwabik to Tower, most Minnesotan’s should be stretching their hard earned dollars and keeping them here – at home – in some of this land’s most beautiful spaces containing some of America’s most memorable places. That specific travel triangle (in my opinion) contains not only several of our nation’s best resorts, but AT LEAST five of this country’s Top 100 Public Access golf courses. #supportthat

I guess that’s my main point. We shouldn’t have to work so hard to get the rest of the country to believe what we KNOW. This place is beautiful. It’s amazing. It’s everything we love and so little of what we hate. And that “hate” is ONLY reserved for those of us with thin “winter skin.” If it weren’t for the Alaska atmosphere they’re stuck with “there” from December to February, I’m convinced northern Minnesota would be one of the most crowded regions of the United States. It is that stellar, that spectacular, during the summer that people annually at least consider it. But, year after year, the artic chill keeps the terrain clear of establishments and the air pure as pure can get. We get the best of both worlds in central and southern Minnesota – living so close to the magic and far enough away to remain sane.

And you could say the same for the Villas at Giants Ridge – they also have the best of both worlds. They share the magical environs of the Legend and the Quarry – those two majestically brute golf courses – and yet they have more than enough non-golf amenities to entertain and even thrill the kids, parents, grandparents and the… well… everyone.

This is the Villas at Giants Ridge in a nutshell. This is “There.”

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