Pincushion Trails Inn Views
Pincushion Trails Inn is a silent-sports destination and retreat set in a hilltop of forested trails above Grand Marais. Twenty-five km of well-groomed ski and hiking trails loop around the Inn and down through pine and birch forests along the Devil Track River.  Mountain biking trailheads are just below.  The town of Grand Marais is 2.7 miles downhill along the Gunflint Trail, with quick access to great restaurants, engaging shops, art studios, craft classes and the historic harbor.
 
For thirty years, the Innkeepers have provided guests with forest trail access and bed and breakfast service.  We offer restful lodgings with quiet nights, a seated breakfast, and the amenities that skiers and other trail users expect - doorstep parking, trailside access, a waxing/gear area, private sauna, views of the forest and of Lake Superior, and fireside comforts.  Four-season sunrises over Lake Superior are stunning  as seen from your room, the Commons, the porches or the trails.  We value basic creature comforts but also authentic works of art; pieces are signed originals or historic posters, with themes of the region and chosen to be unique to each room.   
 

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The Pine Suite

is our largest and most private lodging; four windows provide wide views of the lake, sunrise, and boreal forest, with a comfortable queen bed, morning-writing desk and relaxation couch -- plenty of space for two persons, papers, books and gear.

 

Reserve Pine

The Aspen Room

is our most secluded and quiet space, with views of the winter sunset and also due west.  Queen bed, cozy, subdued decor, a room preferred by late-sleepers.  



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The Birch Room

offers broad views of the sunrise and the big lake to rival the Pine Suite, but also three windows toward the southern forest.  Queen bed, private bath, space for gear, and quiet reading, situated in the southeast corner of the building.  Tends to be a favorite - cozy, sunny, perhaps not for late risers.



Reserve Birch

The Maple Room

has twin beds, separate bath across the hall, lake and sunrise views like its Pine & Birch neighbors.  Ideal for a pair who want a touch of independence. 



Reserve Maple
Green Statement
Green Statement
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Trails ~ Green & Sustainable

As a ski-in ski-out lodge, Pincushion Trails Inn was built at the very top of the trails system.  Making the best of that exposed setting presents challenges and opportunities for travel efficiency and wise use of energy. 
 
Heating and Cooling:
 
The lodge is well insulated, est. R=20 exterior walls and R=45 above.  All windows are thermopane, the uppers triple-glazed in winter.  Heat rise is actively re-circulated.  Exits are double-glazed plus weatherproof storms.  Exhaust fans are switched independent of lights and guest baths have operable windows. Double-glazed glass in the Commons serves passive solar in low-azimuth winter sun. Interior roll shades reduce over-heating - at present there is no thermal mass storage capability.  The Commons is spot-heated with a sealed LP fireplace on evenings and rainy days. Our entry serves as a weather-lock, with passive heating.  All glass is double-glazed and no-loss exterior skylights promote transom lighting. 
 
Our LP boiler is well-serviced, est. nearly 80% efficient.  Hot-water baseboard supplies six independent zones, three of which serve our guest rooms.  Multiple thermostats are set by hand, due daily changes in zone/occupancy.  Unoccupied guest rooms are closed off.  The Commons has baseboard, solar and fireplace as resources.  A Morso Classic 2B airtight in the owners' quarters allows selective heating, easing zone demand; wood fuel is carbon-neutral.  We avoid refrigerant air conditioning, relying on hilltop breezes, attic ventilation, roofline soffits, generous operable windows and freestanding fans for any needed cooling.
 
Water Resources:
 
We are entirely within the Little Devil Track River watershed. The DNR has designated the neighboring 80-acres east as trout-stream preserve; some yards to the south, adjoining terrain dips toward small flowages down the south face of Pincushion Mountain.  Tap water comes from a 160' drilled well, tested regularly plus a continuous inline UV filter for added security in our rhyolite region. Effluent is managed with a well-maintained and approved septic system.  Daily towel changes are discouraged, only on request.  Linens are done using eco-friendly products with cold water on-site. Hot water is through off-peak-electric storage and inline LP-fired storage, peaking on demand.  We encourage guest conservation in hot water usage and provide shower-squeegees to reduce bath moisture and ease housekeeping.  Bathroom supplies are septic-friendly with provision for (please!) non-flushables.  Sink and shower soaps are per dispenser, bar soap discouraged.  Shampoo dispensers are planned.
 
Electric conservation:
 
Line power is supplied by Arrowhead Electric Cooperative. On-site lines are underground standard and off-peak service. Our hilltop provides opportunity for active solar and we review options annually. No plans to go “off-grid” just yet but substantial storage capability is planned to offset demand and provide backup for the occasional rural power outage. 
 
  1. Washer and dryer are energy-efficient, with settings as cool as practicable. .  Linens are sun-dried outdoors as weather permits - a surprisingly frequent option even in our climate, plus in-house rack drying in winter.  Bed sheets are not heat-pressed except by request.  Of several refrigerators and freezers, only two are in routine use - the others are brought online only as demand requires.    
     
  2. Day lighting is through generous windows with bright exposures.  Interior lighting devices and draw are matched to need.  Passage lights and nightlights are LEDs or photo control, with power-outage hall exit lighting throughout.  As older incandescent bulbs expire, they are continuously replaced with certified energy-efficient CFLs and LEDs for all appropriate fixtures.  Lights that must remain on for signage or safety are LED.  Timers are used for needed intermittent lighting.  We use no timed line-current yard lights.  Path lighting is 100% solar, as are driveway and Gunflint Trail signs.
     
  3. Owner electronics and necessary office gadgetry are on separately switched power strips.  Wi-Fi routers remain on 24/7 for guest access. 
     
  4. Our cedar sauna is electric fired.  We encourage planful, private use to reduce re-heatings.  Nearly all sauna-heat is dispersed within the building, due good insulation and its central-core location.  Sauna guests who stand (or roll) out on the east lawn present only the briefest heat-loss exceptions.
 
Recycling:
 
  1. Food is purchased locally as possible; many herbs and vegetables are grown.
     
  2. Basket and disposal bags are of compostable materials. Food waste is composted on-site.  Non-compostable, non-recyclable waste is processed through Cook County transfer station at a per-bag fee.
     
  3. Mixed recycle containers are available.  Glass, aluminum, tin, plastic and cardboard are recycled at Cook County Recycle Center, just down the hill with no special trek required.
     
  4. Convenience glasses are... glass.  No Styrofoam on the loose on this campus.

Lawn and Garden:
 
We plant a variety of gardens on the Pincushion hilltop.  Tree plantings are a 60-year family tradition and provide improved wind blocks in winter and selective shading in summer.  Solar options are kept open.
 
No herbicides or pesticides are used on lawn or gardens. Flowers are planted for ambience and to attract bees and butterflies.  On-site herbs and vegetables supplement local foods, grown in composted gardens and in a new above-grade strawbale garden project.  
 
Mowing is infrequent but necessarily done by fossil fuel. Grass is not disingenuously encouraged by seductive chemistry.  The drive is commercially plowed, with snow throwing only if truly necessary.  Walks and paths are hand-shoveled.  Snowshoes are always available.   
 
Travel and Getting-Around:     
 
  1. We maintain one car, necessarily AWD but passably efficient at 24 mpg.  We combine errands to minimize trips and mileage.  Whenever possible we prefer public transportation, especially for travels to and around the metro area -- commercial shuttles, bus, LRT - and bicycle and foot travel.
     
  2. Parking is free here at trailhead without additional driving.  Trips down to Grand Marais for dinner, retail, the harbor -- all within 3 miles, short and easy.  Mileage downhill is great.
     
  3. Biking and hiking down the hill are also effortless. Getting back up without a fossil-fuel assist becomes something else.  If we can combine your return with other errands for a lift, let us know.  We've skiied, hiked, biked that rise -- and appreciate the uphill gravitas of our otherwise-scenic location.

 
*Green-Drying at Horseshoe Ridge, Crosby-Manitou/Superior Hiking Trail
 
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