Former Lutsen Resort owners reflect on the loss of the lodge
image via Lutsen Resort Facebook

Former Lutsen Resort owners reflect on the loss of the lodge

Former Lutsen Resort owners Scott Harrison and Nancy Burns submitted a letter to WTIP reflecting on their years running the iconic North Shore destination, and the outpouring of memories from the community since the fire earlier this month. Their letter is below.


We have struggled to put together a few words about the loss of the Lodge. There have already been so many beautiful words written about the place that Lutsen Resort, and the Lodge in particular, has had in the Minnesota community. Bryan Hansel and Carol DeSain have written elegant and poetic celebrations of the Resort that far overshadow our abilities.

So many poignant memories have been shared of special events celebrated; memorable inter generational gatherings; stones thrown; quarters begged for the game room; big-eyed toddlers looking up at the Polar Bear; vacation getaways in the no-frills lodge rooms.

So many stories from our local community: first jobs in the County; friends made, relationships built, marriages proposed – connections, connections, connections. We are so grateful for the many, many people who have reached out to us by text, email and phone. A hug and flowers handed to me at the Co-op, kind words by a customer at the Lutsen Liquor Store, a hug for our daughter-in-law at the Winery. Sadness by folks at Clearview and Lockport. Thank you.

Our family is grieving the loss of the Lodge. We are so sad. Our family is sad. Our two sons called the Resort their “third sibling”. It has taken several trips to the ashes and a morning standing on the Cliff House ridge watching the chimney, an enduring sentinel, being pulled down to fully absorb the reality. We have felt comforted by sharing the loss expressed by the greater community. Thank you.

We were moved by the large number of men and women who got out of bed in the middle of the night throughout the County and even farther away, to try to save the Lodge. To the firefighters and EMS and law enforcement. Thank you.

While we “owned” the Resort for 30 years, we knew the Lodge wasn’t really “ours”. It was Minnesota’s resort. It often felt like a huge responsibility piled on top of the challenge of running a resort. We felt the need to honor its history and to hold it in trust for the future generations of Minnesotans.

The Resort has survived hardship and heartbreak for well over a century. The Lodge, always the Heart of the Resort, emerged over time from a house offering a welcome bedroom to weary travelers many years ago. The Lodge has had many transitions and incarnations. But the constant that made it what it was over the generations, was its open Heart which extended warm hospitality and welcome to all who wanted to visit, whether it was just a stop to walk over the bridge or a week’s vacation.

The next chapter is yet to be written. All the pieces remain. The river and the beach and the woods are ready to surround a new building. This is a chance to marry the past and the future with a new lodge that continues to embody that warm heart extending a warm welcome to everyone.

Scott Harrison and Nancy Burns


If you have your own memories you’d like to share about Lutsen Resort, please reach out to Kalli Hawkins ( or Kirsten Wisniewski (