Travel to northern Minnesota to view the spectacular fall colors. Travel across scenic byways while exploring the famous Iron Range area and Lake Itasca (headwaters of the Mississippi River), the International Wolf Ccenter, North American Bear Center, and more.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 – Saturday, October 2, 2021
Tour starts at the Comfort Inn & Suites, 7007 Grover St, Omaha
$899 double / $1,150 single
Price includes transportation, lodging, attraction admissions, and nine meals
Tour registration deadline August 26, 2021 – payment due August 26, 2021
Highlights: Beautiful fall colors of northern Minnesota - Walleye dinner at Great Bear Restaurant - Lake Itasca wildlife cruise - Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway - Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior - International Wolf Center - North American Bear Center - Betty’s Pies - Judy Garland childhood home - Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine
DAY 1: Tuesday, September 28, 2021
We begin our journey north to the forests and lakes of northern Minnesota. We will arrive at our hotel property in Baxter, Minnesota, at 5:00 pm. It is a short drive to the Great Bear Restaurant where we will enjoy a traditional walleye fish dinner. The restaurant décor resembles a typical log cabin lodge.
DAY 2: Wednesday, September 29, 2021
This morning we travel to Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the Mississippi River. We will arrive around noon and have lunch at the historic Douglas Lodge Restaurant. After lunch, we will board a boat for a scenic fall tour of Lake Itasca. Our guide will talk about the wildlife and history of the area. This afternoon we leave Lake Itasca and take a scenic drive toward Bemidji, Minnesota. Upon arrival, we will stop for photos at the famous statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Tonight’s hotel is located right on the lake and provides beautiful scenic views. Dinner tonight is on your own and at your leisure at the hotel’s restaurant.
DAY 3: Thursday, September 30, 2021
Today we explore the scenic byways and roads of northern Minnesota. During the fall, the woods are adorned with the brilliant colors of red sugar maples, bronze oak trees, and glowing gold aspen and birch. We travel the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway, a spectacular, winding byway with its many pristine lakes, forests, rolling hills, and other unique features. We will make a brief stop at the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center where there is a variety of interpretive displays and exhibits describing the surrounding area. Next we travel to the restored 1920’s childhood home of actress Judy Garland in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. We will take a guided tour of Judy Garland’s childhood home and museum next door. The museum contains the world’s largest Wizard of Oz collection. Our final stop is the the small mining community of Hibbing, Minnesota. A local guide will show us the massive Hall-Rust-Mahoning mine, known as the Grand Canyon of the north due to the open pit that covers 8 miles. We will also drive by the childhood home of musician Bob Dylan. We finish the day by checking into the Comfort Inn in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. Dinner tonight is a local family restaurant in the nearby community of Virginia, Minnesota.
DAY 4: Friday, October 1, 2021
This morning we get a little closer to the Minnesota wildlife by visiting the International Wolf Center and the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves and their pack behavior. Visitors can view ambassador wolves in natural surroundings through large windows; they can also learn about wolves through a variety of exhibits and programs. Part of the tour experience at the North American Bear Center, the only educational facility of its kind, is to get a close look at the bears in the huge outdoor enclosure. People learn about bear behavior, ecology, and their relations with humans. After a box lunch at the Bear Center, we will begin our journey back to Nebraska enjoying the beautiful scenery of northern Minnesota. Arriving at the shores of Lake Superior, we will visit the historic Split Rock Lighthouse. Learn about the lighthouse at the Visitor Center and then explore the scenic grounds around the lighthouse itself. Later in the afternoon, we will take a short pie and coffee break at Betty’s Pies. Since 1956 this bakery and restaurant has been making amazing homestyle pies that have become legendary in Minnesota. We continue traveling south until we reach the community of North Branch where we enjoy a pizza party at a local pizza parlor. We then check into our overnight accommodations just north of Minneapolis.
DAY 5: Saturday, October 2, 2021
Today we travel back to Omaha and arrive at the Comfort Inn & Suites around 5:00 pm.