TWO HARBORS, Minn. — Are you daydreaming about the shores of Lake Superior from your home in the city?
It may not be the best time to visit Minnesota's North Shore, as Cook County is urging people to stay away during the COVID-19 pandemic. But there's another way to enjoy the calming beauty of the region as Gov. Tim Walz's "Stay at Home" order goes into effect.
Odyssey Resorts are holding "virtual vacations" on their website and social media feeds. They'll be streaming footage of Lake Superior and other popular tourist spots like Two Harbors, Canal Park and some state parks.
"The idea just came up because we know that people are cooped up," said Aaron Bosanko, Odyssey's director of marketing. "A lot of our guests, they come up here for kind of respite and a getaway and to soothe themselves by the lake. We know how important that is."
Bosanko said during this time of limited travel and uncertainty, "That’s something we want to bring back to them."
The hours for "Evening Getaways" are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:30 to 9 p.m., and you can join the "North Shore Lunch" from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
There will be Odyssey staff present to chat with viewers and take requests for new streaming scenes. On Friday, for example, they headed out to shoot some footage at Split Rock Lighthouse at the request of a virtual "guest."
The staff members are out capturing video every day for these segments, though they are replaying instead of actually streaming live. Bosanko said due to the bandwidth out in most of these locations, trying to live stream from the lake would result in only "static."
In these troubled times, Bosanko said they want to bring little sections of the big lake to help people share that mysterious sense of calm.
"I just think it’s the huge vastness," he said. "It’s also very much here in nature. We’re not surrounded by much hustle and bustle and you can just focus on the incoming waves. We’ve got a little ocean in our backyard."
Odyssey Resorts is the owner of Beacon Pointe, Breezy Point Cabins, Grand Superior Lodge, Larsmont Cottages, Caribou Highland and East Bay Suites. As the governor has labeled hotels "essential," all resorts are still open with the exception of Caribou Highland, which closed temporarily along with Lutsen Resorts.