Minnesota may be home to the Mall of America, state-of-the-art sports complexes and beautiful museums, but one travel blog pinpoints Lake Shore as the best place to escape to in Minnesota.
The largest city in Cass County - boasting 1,050 residents - Lake Shore is nestled on the northern shore of Gull Lake, mostly along upper County State Aid Highway 77, or Interlachen Road. That's part of the reason why travel writers for the Expedia Viewfinder blog chose Lake Shore for the honor in Minnesota.
Travel writer Lily Rogers said via email: "When creating this list, our team of travel writers were looking for places that truly embody a get-away-from-it-all spirit. One criteria were places that allow visitors to revel in outdoor beauty, fresh air and nice people. We like Lake Shore for its small size yet status as a getaway location with enough relaxing activities to make it a true retreat. It struck us as the kind of place where a long, solo walk, a day on the lake, or a chat with the locals would be restorative in ways you don't get in bigger cities."
An email from Kimberly Deese, communications manager for Pacific Digital, explained that Expedia.com released its Best Place to Escape to in Every State feature on Jan. 3. Expedia found the one best destination to escape to in each state, and those places were chosen "for being ideal for a relaxing getaway where people can recharge, take a breather and revel in serene solitude."
Expedia "set out to encourage people to enjoy a real break, turn off your phone and recharge so you can tackle everything to come in 2018," the email said.
Rogers' blog says the following about Lake Shore as the Minnesota entry:
"Lake Shore claims the title of Minnesota's Year Around Playground, and for outdoor enthusiasts especially, watch your worries melt away in this tranquil town. Meditate and explore at Fritz Loven Park, an 80-acre park with a playground, brook, wildlife, and trails for hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.
"Stay at Lost Lake Lodge, an all-inclusive cabin resort with lake views and woodsy surroundings. Rent one of the resort's paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, or bicycles to explore Gull Lake and its shores.
"Make yourself at home at local favorite, Cowboy's Restaurant, where you'll find friendly staff and tasty meals. In fact, you'll feel so welcome, you may be reluctant to leave."
Krista Knudsen, owner of Cowboy's, was surprised to hear of Lake Shore's status as the best place to escape to in Minnesota.
"What an honor for our city and our restaurant. We could not be more proud," Knudsen said. "Cheers to the most amazing neighbors, customers and employees in the state."
Mayor Kevin Egan took the news in stride.
"We've known this all along; now the world does," he said.
Regarding how each city was chosen, Rogers said a team of writers supported the research on this piece - many of them were researched, while some were physically visited.
The introduction to the blog states:
"Looking for reprieve in beautiful spaces
"The hustle of everyday life can wear you down in the best of times, but lately things have been ... shall we say ... unpredictable, and stress levels have spiked. From political unrest to natural disasters, the world is facing some trying things, and we're right there with you in craving a peaceful retreat and a good place to relax.
"When burdens begin to feel particularly heavy, it's time to take a real break. You may need to go, not where everybody knows your name, but somewhere to soak up nature's wonders and revel in serene solitude. Turn off your phone, take a breather from the latest news cycle, and let your worries fade for a while.
"When you take time to recharge, you're better equipped to handle all that life throws at you and then some. From quaint small towns to quiet nature preserves, this country is full of places to escape to, and we've chosen our favorite in each state, highlighting the perfectly restful things to do there.
"So, sit back, relax, and start dreaming of better times ahead - these calm places are calling your name."
Find the entire blog entry at https://viewfinder.expedia.com/features/best-place-escape-every-state/.