The best backyard in the country
It says a lot about a town when there are more wildlife centers (two) than Wal-Marts (zero), and more canoe and fishing outfitters (27) than, well, anything else. In Ely, you're never more than a step away from the wilderness. The tiny grid of pine log cabins and pubs five hours north of Minneapolis sits within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a million-acre maze of indigo lakes and boreal forest. Each year thousands arrive to canoe, fish, camp—or simply sit back and soak in the North Woods. At the Boathouse Brewpub & Restaurant, where trophy walleyes are mounted on the walls, locals swap stories over hearty oatmeal stouts. Nearby, visiting families recap their recent adventures around the stone fireplace at A Stay Inn Ely, a five-room lodge run by Joan and Don Bean. More often than not, they've just returned from a fly-fishing overnight or weeklong canoe excursion with Don's Jasper Creek Guide Service. Some are tempted to stay even longer. Jim Brandenburg travels the world as a National Geographic photographer but always comes home to Ely: "Where else can you sit out on your porch, listen to a pack of wild wolves howling, and then head down to the pub and share the story?"
Article from Yahoo.travel
I spent 7 summers in northern Minnesota, most of them in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This is definitely one of my favorite places on earth.