Weekend Away in WalkerPublished 3:48pm Monday, August 12, 2013
An easy two hour drive from Fergus Falls takes you through the heart of lakes country into the Chippewa National Forest, and to Walker, a small town on the shores of the state’s third largest lake, Leech Lake. While there are less than 1000 residents, the population blooms during the summer, with the area motto “where people come to play.”
Popular summer activities include watersports, hiking, four-wheeling and fishing, with Leech Lake holding the state size record for Lake Whitefish and Pumpkinseed sunfish. Though I love to fish, after a stressful week at work my interests were leaning more toward comfy accommodations, eating great food and re-connecting with my husband.
Having already experienced the bustling entertainment of the Northern Lights Casino on a previous visit, we chose to stay at Trapper’s Landing Lodge, a relatively new resort about ten miles out of town. A unique layout of well-designed town homes are arranged for privacy and great lake views. With two town homes per building, each side has three units that can be rented individually or together for larger groups. We chose the upper level suite, with a lakeside view that can be enjoyed while lounging in the luxurious king bed surrounded by fluffy linens and ample pillows. The four piece bathroom, which may be larger than my first apartment, includes a jetted tub and walk in shower- both big enough for two. With remotes for the fireplace, flat screen TV and iPod radio, and a bar with sink, fridge, appliances and utensils, it’s a wonder we left the room at all. Published rates for the town home suite range between $119 and $229, though we paid less for a last minute booking.
All homes are individually owned, and professionally decorated in upscale cabin style, and maintained by Trapper’s Landing staff, who go out of their way to make guests comfortable. Each building has its own outdoor fire pit along the lake, and the grounds feature a pool, gift shop, marina, seasonal restaurant, year-round bar, and on-site massage service, as well as plenty of extra parking for boat or ATV trailers. A few older cabins remain on-site from the previous resort, all of which are pet friendly. Summer at Trapper’s Landing is filled with free, supervised adventure camp activities- crafts, games, outdoor sports and events- to occupy four to twelve year-olds while giving parents some alone time.
If you do venture away from the resort, downtown Walker is lined with unique shops to browse, adults can visit the nearby Leech Lake Brewery for a free sample, or learn about the Leech Lake Ojibwe Indians and other indigenous people at the Cass County Museum (though closed Saturday through Monday). Don’t miss dining at Chase on the Lake- the large centrally located hotel and condominium complex contains the outstanding, lakefront 502 Restaurant and Bar. While famous for its steaks and seafood, lighter fare and sandwiches like the Philly Steak Sandwich (prime rib, provolone, mushroom, onion, bell pepper on a ciabatta for $10) are scrumptious and easier on the wallet.
For a couple’s weekend away, family fun, or group gathering, Trapper’s Landing and the town of Walker provides a nearby escape, that may leave you calling in well to work and extending your stay to play.