Thursday, June 13, 2013


So I’m sure everyone out there has had those days that just…well, suck.  Or maybe even those weeks…months…yeah, you get my point.  Luckily for me, I know a place that always seems to pull up my spirits and gets my mind back on track.  Aptly abbreviated S.O.S., Smitty’s on Snowbank resort of Ely, Minnesota has just the medicine for anyone going a little (or even a lot) city crazy. 
Located half an hour northeast of the already rural Ely, Minnesota; S.O.S. is just the escape I need.  Julie Schmidt, a co-owner/manager of the resort, will provide you with a hearty, American style breakfast before you venture out into a wilderness that only Minnesota can provide.  During blueberry season, I have been known to lounge on an island in the middle of the lake and delight in the abundance of berries before swimming back to the mainland/boat that I first leapt from (provided my lift hasn’t bored with that particular fishing hole and left me bobbing in the middle of the lake).  Speaking of fishing, I have never had better luck than on the crystalline waters of Snowbank Lake.  Large and Small Mouth Bass, Walleye, Northern and Silver Pike, Lake Trout, Eelpout, pan fish…Snowbank has something for everyone!  I usually catch and release, but if I ever am craving a delicious supper, there is none fresher than a fillet of Walleye or Bass.
And if I’m not having any luck on the water (which, of course, is unheard of……) S.O.S. is a hop, skip and a jump away from the trailhead for Kekekabic hiking trail (to be on the safe side, I usually just call it the ‘Kek’), which winds through forty miles of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  I have seen wolves, moose, deer, bear and an overabundance of rampaging squirrels during my hikes there.  And yet, strangely enough, the only time I have ever heard anyone scream was when my mother discovered a Pink Lady Slipper orchid growing along the side of the trail (she’s a retired naturalist…go figure).
After a day filled with so much adventure, nothing feels better than to return to the resort, enjoy one of Julie’s home-cooked dinners and share some belly-laughs with Den and Ron Schmidt, co-owners of the family-run resort.  I have to say, after our third or fourth trip out to S.O.S., I felt like part of an ever-growing family.  Now when I need a break or simply want to enjoy the best part (in my humble opinion) of Minnesota, I know that Smitty’s on Snowbank is waiting for me at the end of the road.  Check it out for yourself at and discover why I call Minnesota home.  I’m off to take Beau for a swim, because honestly; S.O.S. is a doggie’s paradise too.

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