Century-old Minnesota resort keeps them coming back
EDITOR'S NOTE: To celebrate the height of summer, Summer Hideaways is a weekly Monday feature running the next several weeks. It aims to explore some lesser-known gems in our area.
NAYTAHWAUSH, Minn.—Pinehurst Resort, situated between North Twin Lake and South Twin Lake in Naytahwaush, will be 100 years old in 2018.
For about 50 of those years, the Spaeth family has been holding family reunions at Pinehurst every summer.
"We've been coming since we were little, we have the same cabin every single year," said Jessica (Spaeth) Ford, who at 36 is "the oldest of all the grandkids" of Altha Spaeth, who helped institute the family reunion tradition five decades ago when she brought her 10 children to the resort.
Such long-term connections are what make Pinehurst special, said Julie LaVoy who, along with her husband, Greg, run the resort purchased by Greg's grandparents, Howard and Ruby LaVoy, in 1959.
In 1969, Howard and Ruby sold Pinehurst to their son, Dick, and his wife, Babe, and they in turn sold it to Greg and Julie in 2000.
A prominent fixture of Pinehurst is the mammoth "roundhouse" built in the early days of the resort using vertically planted logs that form a rustic, cathedral-like structure.
The LaVoy family has added many features to the resort, including a dining room and a bar.
They also added to and upgraded the resort's inventory of cabins, which now number 16.
Pinehurst has about 90 spots for trailers, though it may be some time before any new ones move in, as there is a waiting list.
The resort is a popular wedding venue—12 wedding parties were held there last year—and it draws lots of regulars, like the Spaeth family, many of whose members are from the Mahnomen area.
In other times of the year the resort hosts a curling tournament and the cabins are home to snowmobilers who explore the 160 miles of trails in the nearby White Earth State Forest.
Julie and Greg LaVoy are in the process of turning operation of the resort over to their son, Andy, and their son-in-law, Ben Baumann, who have become a big part of the manpower that keeps the resort running.
And it's a big job.
"We close Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving—three days a year," Julie LaVoy said, adding that her father-in-law, Dick LaVoy, continues to pitch in around the resort, doing much of the mowing during the summer.
Dick LaVoy said he has always enjoyed the work and the rewarding smiles he gets from visitors, many of whom have been returning for generations.
"Makes the ol' heart feel pretty good," he said.