In west central Minnesota, resting on what geologists call the Alexandria Moraine is a small, peaceful and unassuming town (pop. 747) which offers a large variety of year round recreational activities to its visitors. Battle Lake offers the vacationer many wonderful ways to relax and fully enjoy their stay. Fishing, camping, canoeing, biking and other leisure activities make it a worthwhile tourist destination that is becoming more and more attractive to in and out of state travelers as well.
A mere two miles North of the town and off of Highway 16 is Glendalough State Park which contains kettle lakes (created by the ‘Wisconsin glaciation’ which carved out hundreds of lakes in the area approximately 10,000 years ago), streams and a breathtaking expanse of prairie that was lovingly restored to its original state in the late 1990’s. A walk through one of the meadows at the park will afford one an opportunity to be greeted by a bewildering array of wild grasses, flowers and colorful butterflies, moths and other flittering critters as well such as Tawny Shouldered Blackbirds, Bald Eagles,Bob-O-Links, Gyre Falcons, Cuckoos, Shrikes and Wild Turkeys. Fortunately the Park Rangers provide brochures and have installed trailside signs to help inform visitors of what it is they are seeing during their hikes. Sunset Lake is one of the more pleasant places to saunter around, as a trail circumscribes the water which is home to Loons, Black Terns, Grebes, Mergansers, Kingfishers, Trumpeter Swans, Canada Geese and many other species that would delight even the most jaded of bird watchers. So be sure to bring your binoculars and telephoto lenses if you are a photographer. However, binoculars and field guides are provided for free at the Park office, so don’t worry if you forget to bring yours. Sunset Lake is even home to a family of Otters which frolic over and under the waves, as well as beavers and muskrat. Annie Battle Lake, a 335 acre lake has been designated as a motor free lake, making it quite peaceful indeed to peruse. (Rowboat and Canoe rentals are available) Its beaches are clean and quite pleasant to walk upon. Swimming in Annie Battle Lake is also a wonderfully clear and cool experience, even during the ‘dog days’ of summer. Glendalough Park also has biking, hiking and cross country skiing trails which they maintain during the winter months. Another favorite of visitors is the ‘Nature Trail’ which has informational signs along the paths as well , identifying noted species of trees and plants such as Douglas Fir trees and Bittersweet bushes. There are also camouflaged bird viewing areas. (some beavers actually tried to make a lodge out of one of the camoflauged bird viewing areas on the Ice Ridge trail by making a ramp out of sticks and reeds up to it, perhaps because its domed shaped resembled one of their lodges!) You can reserve camping spaces at Glendalough by going to: www.stayatmnparks.com or contact the park directly at: 218-864-0110 (between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
As far as restaurants go, this writer recommends the Shoreline Cafe with not only an excellent view of Battle Lake but also an excellent menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner fare. I particularly enjoy the Seafood Eggs Benedict on the breakfast menu-but make sure you have some kind of aerobic activity planned afterwards so that all of its calories don’t end up on your waistline, especially considering how ample the servings are! The service is always excellent and the wait people friendly ). Recently the Shoreline Cafe opened up a coffee shop that serves espresso, Cafe Au Lait and other caffeinated delights, for the very early crowd (it opens at 6:30 a.m.) There is also an expanded bar and bowling alley on the premises for the brave at heart.
There are a smattering of quaintly romantic Bed and Breakfast Inns such as the Xanadu Island which is tucked away on five acres of seclusion on nearby Bass Lake. the inn use to be the rendezvous point for wealthy Minneapolitans and other prominent socialites way back in the 1920’s and still has much of this historical charm about it. For more information go to: http://www.xanadu.cc/ As with most of the lodging facilities in the area, make sure to make reservations well in advance of your arrival for Battle Lake is becoming quite a popular tourist destination these days. Battle Lake even has its own airport, so if you are a fan of flying small aircraft, make sure to check it out as a possible venue for your arrival and departure.
Approximately three hours north of the Twin Cities and about ninety minutes from Fargo, North Dakota to the west, Battle Lake offers more than enough to do for the adventuresome at heart, all year round.