Finding a dog-friendly accommodation in the height of winter can be tricky – even for the most well behaved girl’s best friend. Last week my blue heeler Metsä and I hopped on a plane, flying over 2,000km from Calgary Alberta to the North Shore of Lake Superior for a very cold and very fun adventure in Northwestern Ontario + Minnesota! We set up basecamp in a beautiful dog-friendly room at the Hungry Hippie Farm + Hostel, a short drive from the folksy and creative village of Grand Marais in Northern Minnesota!
Hiking is what brought Jeremy Keeble, one half of the Hungry Hippie Hostel + Farm to the North Shore of Lake Superior. It was his experiences in through-hiking the Appalachian Trail and the hostels he overnighted at during this trek that inspired both him and wife Kate to design, build + create this unique accommodation high above Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota, only 31 miles from the Canadian border .
The hostel has 5 private rooms on the ground floor complete with 2 shared use full baths (hot water on demand!), a common area with primitive kitchen (we’re talking the essentials: hot plate, fridge, microwave, kettle), cosy workspace for digital nomads and ample seating for eating and getting to know your fellow travellers over a bourbon or glass of wine!
In-floor heating by hot water gives the ground floor space a luxury feel. The propane fuel required to warm the water is offset by 50-60% thanks to solar power. Metsä wasn’t at all bothered by the hostel’s no-dogs on the bed rule, making herself right at home on the warmth and comfort of the floor!
Above the main floor is a bunk house with 3 double bunks housed in the common space, a shared 1/2 bath and a separate semi-private 4 bunk room (#6) at the far end. Guests of the bunk house have access to facilities on the main floor like the kitchen, showers and common area.
The hostel itself was built by the previous owners and was used as a working horse barn for over 15 years. Each of the rooms on the main floor were individual horse stalls and the nostalgia of the hostels original purpose can been felt thanks to sliding barn doors on some of the rooms. The front room (#1) does not have in-floor heating. If you are looking for a bit more rustic of an experience and enjoy a cooler sleep, be sure to snag this spot! (there is an electric heater on hand, should you need a warm up!)
You can’t help but notice (and be inspired) by the decor within the Hungry Hippie Hostel – it’s an eclectic mix of new, vintage and repurposed appliances, decor and fixtures. When nearby Grand Portage Lodge + Casino was completing some remodels – Jeremy was able to source everything from bathtubs to a kitchen sink for the hostel, using salvaged wood from picnic tables in conjunction with local pine to panel the walls with. Kate’s eye and skill for mixing local vintage/antique pieces that tell the story of the area are paired with modern pieces like bedside lamps, corrugated steel panels on the ceilings and on trend pillows for the beds. Walking through the hostel and noting these thoughtful details is a great way to enjoy a cup of coffee during your stay.
The Superior Hiking Trail is a stone’s throw away and through hikers of the trail in summer can camp at one of 5 primitive sites or one of the 3 comfort camping spots (all you need to bring is a sleeping bag!) – which are serviced by a shower house conveniently located next door. If hikers (or anyone, myself included) are in need of a quick + delicious meal, you can find a well stocked wall of just-add-water camp food by local business Camp Chow available for purchase.
Quick Tips for Your Stay at the Hungry Hippie Hostel + Farm
- Pop into Jeremy + Kate’s restaurant in downtown Grand Marais: Hungry Hippie Tacos for bannock inspired tacos, pulled pork burritos, spicy soups + more! Kate worked as the executive chef at the historic Gunflint Lodge, so you know her taco’s are going to be good!
- Want to make your own grub? Nearby Cook Country Whole Foods Co-Op is chock full of organic produce, Wisconsin cheeses and ready-to-eat meals! Its diverse bulk section will provide you with endless possibilities for trail snacks and bits & bites for during or after a big day outdoors!
- Be sure to check out the detailed restaurant and retail guide that is printed monthly for guests of the hostel. Jeremy + Kate provide updated operating hours and locations of all the amazing spots in the area to eat and shop!
- If you’re planning to visit the area from Canada – flying into Thunder Bay Int’l Airport (YQT) is the way to go! From Thunder Bay Int’l, it’s a beautiful and quick 1 hour-20 minute drive door to door! Metsä + I booked our trip with Canadian airline Westjet (YYC-YWG-YQT). I flew in the main cabin while Metsä hung out comfortably below with the baggage in her hard sided kennel. The staff at Westjet were incredible and helped to make Metsä’s journey to YQT in a polar vortex a very positive experience for her!
- There is only 1 dog friendly room at the Hostel (Room #5). The Keeble’s have two dogs in their family, Charlie + Piper. Both are very social and kind. Charlie can often be found outside the hostel’s main door patiently waiting for a play mate.
- To book your stay year-round in a private room or bunk, you can call Jeremy + Kate directly at (218) 387-2256 or online through their listings on AirBnB.
Are you wondering what Metsä and I got up during our time in Northwestern Ontario + Northern Minnesota? Stay tuned for a piece featuring 5 Adventures To Do With Your Dog On The North Shore, coming later this month!
We would like to extend a big Thank You to our new friends at The Hungry Hippie Hostel + Farm for hosting us during our action packed time along the North Shore! We cannot wait to visit again once the seasons change!
W R I T T E N + P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y
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