Breezy Point Resort – Top Of The List
By E. Nolan
Everyone has their list… their list of places they love to stay… and of places they love to play. Some, like myself, have a really long list of both categories, collected from decades of U.S. and international travel. And sometimes (rarely) those favorite places and activities are found at the same place – a favorite stay AND play. Such is the case for me with Breezy Point Resort and Deacon’s Lodge, right here in Minnesota.
Breezy Point Resort is located between Crosslake and Pequot Lakes in the Brainerd Lakes region of the state (only 140 miles north of the Twin Cities). Built on and around Pelican Lake and home to three championship golf courses, a handful of restaurants, and a hundred different lodging options, I can visit there every single year (multiple times a year) and always lament the stay isn’t longer. It is quite literally my home away from home and several of the people there are more like family to our family than many of our relatives.
Breezy Point is high on my personal list of places I love to stay, and much of that does (admittedly) have to do with Deacon’s Lodge being near the pinnacle of my “must play” places. Deacon’s Lodge was built by Arnold Palmer in tribute to his father and remains (in my opinion) The King’s greatest American golf design. I haven’t played all of his courses (only 28 so far), but I can’t imagine there’s one I’d love more (not even in Hawaii) and that – hopefully – is reason enough for you to look into your own visit (or revisit).
The resort, in general, is a host with the most in terms of humble and comfortable hospitality. It’s a place where the people with management and ownership titles are almost uncomfortable with the associated status, preferring to be seen and spoken to more as friends and local residents – there primarily to help and serve. Whatever the level of authenticity of “Minnesota Nice” elsewhere, at Breezy Point (beneath their newly varnished black and white water tower) every smile, welcome, handshake and hug is genuine, and every vocalized “hope you enjoy” (and return) is unpretentious and sincere.
The golfer can find plenty to love at Breezy Point, even beyond Deacon’s Lodge. The two other courses, Whitebirch and The Traditional, provide a broad spectrum of design styles and challenge. The Par 68, 5,192-yard Traditional course is what I’d describe as “mostly tight, target golf” but, also, as “a walk in the park.” Many a famous name in golf has walked it over the years, and The Traditional’s broader fairways are those that greet you just inside the resort’s main gate. The Par 72, 6,680-yard Whitebirch course is just “up the street” from The Traditional. A more expansive playground, with five sets of tee boxes and more of a modern design, Whitebirch was actually the first championship golf course in the entire Brainerd Lakes. Nolan Toft is a golf pro there and specifically picked it as the place to continue in his profession. “It’s just so peaceful and pretty,” he says. Trees, hills, wetlands and water… Whitebirch has it all. Not too short… not too long… just right.
“Peaceful and pretty” also describes Deacon’s Lodge. Every time I play it, I love it more – especially when I’m able to open or close the day’s tee sheet. There’s a serenity there I’ve only found one other place in the state, that rises like the morning mist off the lake on hole two, bounds around my chest like the fawns who’ve watched my errant tee shots too many times on three, and pulls me near to tears like the lonely call of a loon on hole five. Hole after wonderful hole I’m showered and/or serenaded by something I appreciate, covet, and miss the 360 days a year I’m not there. If you’ve got a place that does all of that to you, you understand what I’m getting at… the significance of that personal, emotional and everlasting attachment.
Speaking of emotional connections… a couple, looking for a romantic getaway, will find that here. Breezy Point provides a great and easy getaway, generously light on the wallet and sufficiently satisfying to both sides of a “lover equation.” Off the golf course there are pools, the lake and the Serenity Spa, plus an assortment of restaurants – casual, fine and lakefront prime. You can find privacy on land and on the water, entertainment in a cruise or musical act and… well… I should probably go back to that food. Antlers in the Whitebirch clubhouse offers a solid Country Club-style menu. The Marina II swaps out golf vistas for panoramic lake lines over Breezy Bay, and serves up steaks, chops and seafood. Palmer’s Grille at Deacon’s Lodge is a favorite breakfast stop but also has killer Cajun Wings (and sandwiches) and then the indoor/outdoor hangout highlight that is The Dockside Lounge gives you literally everything else: family friendly fares in a lakeside atmosphere, often with concerts and tribute events like the famous “Memories of Elvis Show.” (Check the Breezy Point Resort website for the full performance calendar.)
Breezy is not just for golfers or lovers. A family of four, six, eight or more can find plenty to enjoy and explore along Pelican Lake’s shores. Off the lake there’s tennis, a rec center, an arcade, beach, miles of bike and hiking trails AND several pools. On the lake you’ve got your boats and theirs, an island off the shore that hosts some pretty lively and liquefied parties, The Breezy Belle for a cruise and some pretty great fishing. I left a lot out, I’m sure, but you get the idea. The words “I’m bored” are unlikely to ever be uttered.
The lodging options are as numerous as the area lakes, and the recreational activities (and amenities) are so vast they create their own “bucket list.” Visitors can stay in any of the one and two bedroom villas, townhomes and apartments, the three to eleven bedroom homes and cabins (popular for family reunions and large golf groups) the Breezy Inn and/or main lodge rooms and suites. Price these places out against the competition AND add in all the amenities, and I find it hard to believe there’s a better vacation value in Minnesota.
You, no matter what size your entourage, or your purpose, can (like me) find a home at Breezy Point Resort. And the best part is, literally every visit there’s something new to try, eat and play, and (no matter how many visits) always somewhere new to stay. It’s my dream to someday get the Boat House – the resort’s flagship lodge, that sleeps twelve – but it’s (literally) always booked. “Maybe next year,” I’ve said (for nine years now). If you’ve seen it or stayed there, you understand… it’s a worthwhile goal.
My son proofreads all my golf stories. “When are we going back there, Dad?” he asks. “Soon,” I reply, knowing that won’t suffice in specifics. “Tomorrow?” he asks, and I laugh. (I wish.) By “soon” I DO mean soon. It’s just not soon enough.