Birding is a hobby you can take with you anywhere. Even some of the coldest, most remote places in the world have various types of birds that live or migrate there seasonally. It’s a hobby you can bundle into two: hiking and birding, boating and birding, four-wheeling and birding, to name a few. If you’re outside, look to the sky and listen carefully. This hobby changes with the seasons, bringing new species of birds to new locations for an array of colors, sizes, and sounds.
At Rainy Lake, it’s easy to slow down and notice the sounds and sights you might otherwise miss. The warmer temperatures in the spring mean birds that migrate south return to mate, nest, and settle in for a beautiful summer. With more bird activity and a greater chance to see rare birds that are out to socialize, April is a great time to hone your birding technique. Grab a pair of binoculars, get outside, and look or listen for a few of our favorites.
We’ve named just a few common spring-time birds here at Rainy Lake, but consider taking our birding challenge and download a printable list of birds you can scout for next time you’re outside. Want to encourage birds to visit your yard? Check out these tips from Minnesota DNR for bird feeding in the spring!
Local stakeholders and supporters Friday joined development partners to celebrate the launch of The Cantilever Hotel and Distillery – a 31-room boutique hotel, cocktail room and distillery.
Developer Marty Goulet kicked off the ceremony by talking about the positive momentum in Ranier and the motives for the development in the community.
“There is a reason we are having this event at Loony’s Brew Pub and Rainy Lake Grill is catering the event, they are both part of the positive story that is unfolding and the momentum that allowed our development team to make this investment in the community,” said Goulet. "The approximate 100-invited guests in attendance received an inside look into the project, an introduction to the first two Cantilever employees, the release of two new brands, followed by a non-traditional ground-breaking ceremonial christening of the site. If you are here today, it is because you have helped or supported and are a part of the Cantilever Hotel and Distillery project.”
The Cantilever Hotel and Distillery, anticipated to open summer 2019, is a new 26,000 square foot boutique hotel and distillery located at 2078 Spruce Street in Ranier. The facility amenities include 31 upscale boutique hotel rooms, state of the art spirits manufacturing plant, cocktail room (only serving Cantilever products), restaurant, private events spaces, rooftop bar with sauna and hot tub, distillery tours, yoga studio, treatment rooms, and electric car charging station.
"A physical location, complete with a tour and tasting, is the biggest marketing asset a distilling company will ever possess," said Goulet. "As such, our distillery will be an extension of the brand. This requires that every element the consumer contacts will reflect the thinking and philosophy of the brand.”
The Cantilever Distilling Co., will offer single malt whiskey, bourbon, and gin made with local peat, local grains, and local water that showcase the skill and expertise of the distiller. The Cantilever Bridge located only feet away from the distillery is symbolic of the bootlegging history and connection between Canada and the U.S.
Released publicly for the first time Friday, Woody’s Fairly Reliable Spirits Co., will produce honest, reliable spirits and premium canned cocktails that are focused on lake life and the outdoor lifestyle. These products will be known for premium quality with affordable pricing so that that they can over-deliver on taste and price while always considering lake lifestyle.
“We are excited to announce for the first time with the personality of Ranier's own Barry "Woody" Woods – Woody’s Fairly Reliable Spirits," said Goulet.
General Manager Ed Gackley announced a partnership with Wyndham Hotels’ Trademark Collection Brand.
“The Cantilever Bridge Hotel – a trademark collection allows us to leverage the benefits of being associated with a world class hotel franchise while keeping total independence," said Gackley. He also introduced distiller Charlie Fuller who expressed his excitement for the project.
Developer Duane Cridland revealed the first artwork for the distillery called “Busted 1932” by Cher Pruys. In 1932, a train crossing the Cantilever Bridge with 79 barrels of Canadian whiskey was seized and destroyed in a public ceremony before it could reach its destination in Chicago. The artwork depicts the event and the locals who showed up to get a taste but were prohibited to use any cups or containers and resorted to slurping it off the ice.
Participants later Friday went outside to the site of the new hotel and distillery. Mayor Dennis Wagner, Hall of Fame Fishing Guide Woody and the Director of the Koochiching County Economic Development Agency Paul Nevanen, each took a swing with the ceremonial golden ax and attempted to break a barrel of whiskey. After a few attempts with the ax, the liquid from the barrel was released and the site christened.
Back inside Loony’s, developer Pat Bracken walked the attendees through an inside look at Cantilever’s first bourbon, explaining the mash bill (recipe) and finishing with a toast.
Mark Twain once said, “too much of anything is bad, but too much whiskey is barely enough."
Learn more about the Cantilever Story!
Make a memorable ending to your day on Rainy Lake by catching a sunset at one of these easily-accessible sites. Before you go, check a weather app for sunset time and make sure your camera batteries are fully charged.
Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
Located on Highway 11 just east of International Falls, this site faces northwest and provides a view of the Rainy River and the community of Fort Frances, Ontario, on the opposite shore.
Located about 3 miles east of International Falls, the community of Ranier welcomes visitors with a restaurant, bar, brew pub, ice cream shop and several opportunities to catch the sunset. The Ranier River dock has a unique view of the convergence of Rainy Lake and Rainy River, which flows briskly under the railway lift bridge. Located at the end of Ranier’s main street, the Spruce Street dock offers the chance for a leisurely stroll, as well as the chance to see spectacular sunset. When standing at the end of dock, you’ll notice a beach with another dock not far to your right, which is another great place to watch mother nature’s end-of-day light show.
Tilson Bay Wayside Park
Further east on Highway 11, Tilson Bay has a dock, boat launch and parking lot, as well as a trail used for both hiking and cross-country skiing. Those who take the trek are rewarded with a picture-perfect view from a high ridge. You can also watch the setting sun warm the colors of the bog on the south side of the bridge.
If you have boat access, simply head onto the lake and face west for endless photo opps framed by deep blue water and rocky pine shores.