Warm up in Minnesota’s Winter B&Bs

By Lisa Meyers McClintick

Solglimt B&B-48-Lisa Meyers McClintick
Solglimt B&B, Duluth / Lisa Meyers McClintick

Sunrise, sunset and shifting whims of winter constantly repaint the view of Lake Superior, the grand dame of America’s Great Lakes. In a state with a great variety of environments to enjoy a winter B&B getaway, a lakeside room at Duluth’s Solglimt Bed and Breakfast offers some of the best (and warmest) views of Superior’s gunmetal grays and blinding blue water. Wind and freezing temperatures bring flotillas of ice or jagged pieces piled along the beach, glinting with glacial greens.

Solglimt (which means “sun on the water”) stands out with lush summer gardens and a beachfront location, but winter offers a quieter charm in this renovated cottage with modern, creative décor and artistically plated breakfasts along Duluth’s Park Point. It sits just minutes away from Canal Park and boutique shopping, plus the city’s numerous attractions.

North of downtown, five other B&Bs operate in some of the state’s grandest and most romantic turn-of-the-century Victorian mansions. From the fine acoustics of the music room at the Olcott House to the cozy alcove fireplace at the Firelight Inn on Oregon Creek, all offer memorable settings for rekindling romance and warming up a winter weekend with crackling fireplaces, steaming cups of coffee and tea, and sweet aromas of breakfast in finely crafted dining rooms.

Winter offers another allure for B&B fans: getaways that are typically easier on the travel budget than peak summer season with honeymooners, wedding parties and couples celebrating anniversaries. Here are some other noteworthy Minnesota destinations for finding a memorable B&B experience.

North Shore

The shoreline and inland forests provide a wealth of trails, along with the chance to dogsled or take a sleigh ride, ski lodge-to-lodge on the Gunflint Trail and possibly spot a wolf or a moose ducking into the deep woods.

Lighthouse B&B, Two HarborsLighthouse Bed and Breakfast, Two Harbors - Guests double as assistant lighthouse keepers at this 1892 red-brick landmark that shines across the working harbor.

Baptism River Inn Bed and Breakfast, Silver Bay - Inland from Tettegouche State Park’s visitors center, this log home offers a prime location for outdoor lovers exploring the North Shore’s beauty.

Poplar Creek Guesthouse, Gunflint Trail - This B&B in the woods by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness also can coordinate lodge-to-lodge or yurt-to-yurt skiing with access to hundreds of kilometers of trails.

Lanesboro

Tucked into southeastern bluff country, this small town that’s big on charm bills itself as Minnesota’s B&B capital with close to a dozen choices, from gracious Victorian homes to downtown inns and country settings. Many are within walking distance of gift stores, galleries, restaurants, events at the St. Mane Theatre, and the Root River Trail for skiing or winter walks.

Habberstad House - This festive red-and-green Victorian home opens for winter guests in February, offering five different rooms in the spacious main house and a sprawling, luxurious suite in the carriage house.

Berwood Hill Inn - Five miles outside of Lanesboro, this four-room B&B offers the charm of a farm nestled in the quiet of the Root River Valley’s countryside. Summer visitors can also stay in a garden cottage.

Scandinavian Inn - This B&B welcomes guests with breakfasts such as apple puff pancakes and Persian omelets and a choice of five rooms, including a treetop suite. Guests can bundle up to linger in its second-story gazebo.

Red Wing

As one of Minnesota’s oldest cities and with a coveted location along the Mississippi River, this getaway with six B&Bs also draws visitors to see bald eagles, ski or hike regional trails, shop for antiques, and explore its heritage as home to Red Wing Shoes and Red Wing Pottery.

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Round Barn Farm B&B, Red Wing / Lisa Meyers McClintick

Round Barn Farm Bed and Breakfast - Travelers can watch for the illuminated white round barn at this country home with five suites, including one with an indoor hanging swing. Breakfast includes fresh bread that guests can help bake.

Octagon House Retreat - This rare and historic eight-sided home includes five guest rooms with classic Victorian décor and antiques.

Pratt-Taber Inn - With elegant rooms inspired by the four seasons, this inn welcomes guests with wine, cheese and candlelight each evening in this 1876 Italianate home.

Find more B&Bs across the state and plan your winter getaway.