This article is made possible by Quarterdeck Resort on Gull Lake, announcing its new “Quarterdeck Loves Pets” program that makes sure the furry family enjoys going to the lake as much as you do.
Paul Bunyan couldn’t swing an axe around Brainerd, Minn. without hitting a rough-hewn resort made of timber. The Quarterdeck Resort is not one of them. This boutique resort sits on 27 acres overlooking the western shore of Gull Lake, about a half-hour drive northwest of Brainerd. The main lodge and cottages are bright and newly remodeled; think a chic coastal vibe in a palette of blue, white and gray. More critically, for some family members, there’s a new “Quarterdeck Resort Loves Pets” program. Franz and Enzo’s ears just pricked up. That’s right, boys. You are coming WITH, because it’s not a vacation otherwise.
Quarterdeck’s pet program offers all kinds of perks to four-legged guests: Luxury in-room dog beds. (Why is it with these two, the other brother’s bed is always better?) Elevated dog bowls, a first for my low-slung lads. A welcome wagon’s worth of treats. At the lodge, there’s a Pet Pantry where you can purchase more food, treats and essentials. Give the front desk notice before you arrive, and you can arrange fee–based pet sitting and walking. Pretty much everything you could possibly need for a truly pet-friendly stay.
Our suite at the end of the property opened onto a plush lawn that induced much dachshund rolling. And that view of Gull Lake. Sitting on our patio, we watched the occasional boat go by. I raised my arm and waved to the folks. I put my arm back down. Relaxation was seeping in unawares.
Never ones to just loll on the lawn, though, the boys sniffed out some dog-friendly adventures in town. Nisswa is only 8 miles from Quarterdeck Resort. On Main Street, you’ll find loads of outdoor patios that welcome pets. For local beer lovers, a big red axe marks the spot. At Big Axe Brewing Company, pups can soak up the sun on the deck while you sample the selection of craft beers. Naturally, we recommend the “Axe Handle Hound” red ale. Food is available also, and the day’s special, shredded pork tacos, were a big hit.
Besides canines, there’s another species dear to Nisswa. Turtles. Terrapins adorn everything from t-shirts to statues around here. That’s because turtle racing is Nisswa’s thing; they’ve been doing it for 56 summers to lure tourists downtown. Spoiler alert: It works. There’s even a monument (relatively speaking) to “Stella,” a favorite racer, to remind visitors it’s always turtle time around here.
Now listen as I tell the story of a tall, tall trail. The Paul Bunyan Trail can be accessed in Nisswa, and you can walk, bike, skate or ski it. At 120 miles, stretching from Brainerd to Bemidji, it’s the longest trail in Minnesota. Which makes it a dachshund favorite.
All that activity in Nisswa had everyone pretty puppered out. Back at the resort, Franz and Enzo toasted by the fireplace. Totally relaxed, times two. The next morning I kayaked Gull Lake while the rest of the pack sunbathed on the patio. I caught sight of a loon, the low sun glinting off its back. I stopped paddling and just…watched. Then I reached for my camera and it was gone.
Good to know when bringing pets to Quarterdeck: There is a one-time fee of $75 due at registration, plus a $25 fee per pet, per night. A maximum of two pets are allowed per room. Find out more here.