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Goin' To The Lake: Nevis (Day 1)

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- WCCO's summer road trip is back! The first stop on our Goin' To The Lakes trip is up in Nevis.

Nevis is about a three-hour drive northwest of the Twin Cities. It's in a part of the state where we've been a couple times for Goin' to the Lake.

It's a thriving small town, with a few good restaurant options to choose, and all kinds of great activities nearby. From Lake Belle Taine, to the Heartland Bike Trail, this area is exactly what Goin' to the Lake is about.

Lake Belle Taine

Nevis sits right on Lake Belle Taine. It's one of the clearest lakes in the state. A recent test of the water found 26-foot clarity.

It's a big lake, too -- about 24 miles around, which means there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy fishing, skiing or just checking out the lake homes.

Campers' Paradise

Drive across the causeway to the island called Campers' Paradise, and you find a Minnesota tradition for countless families.

Rob Painschab is surrounded by relatives; laughing, playing games, or just enjoying the view. It's been the same setting for more than thirty years, and the group just keeps getting bigger.

"Seventy-two, to 2 months old, and it's everywhere in between," he said.

They're here because Pat Swaggert's parents had a dream in the late 1950s to own a campground, and they found the perfect place. There are 80 campsites spaced far apart for privacy, all created by the Swaggerts in a labor of love.

Giant Muskie

The Giant Muskie!
(credit: CBS)

When you get here to town, there's one place you have to stop for a picture: The giant muskie. It's more than 30 feet long, and this thing was built to last, with Cedar, redwood and cement.

Governor Luther Youngdahl dedicated it in 1950. The roof and patio were added in 1991. Stop and take a picture, have some lunch, then check out the rest of town.

The muskie is one type of fish that 4-year-old Mayor Robert Tufts told us he liked to catch when we chatted with him a few years ago.


On Highway 34 between Nevis and Akeley, is an authentic German restaurant called Brauhaus that's been here for 30 years. Soon after Gabriele Kirschman's father opened the restaurant, she followed from Germany.

"And when I landed here when I'm 21, I told him, I said, 'Dad, you've got to be kidding.' And he goes, 'No, this is it. This is the place,'" she said.

But she's turned the Brauhaus into a destination for vacationers from all over Minnesota. The key? Everything from scratch, just like home.

The New Companeros

Nevis's neighbor Dorset is known as the restaurant capital of the world, but a couple of their restaurants burned down two years ago. They're now back and better than ever.

Levi and Beth are the new owners of Companeros. They're getting help from the former owners, Rick and Laura.

When you're up in this area with family, it's worth stopping at all the little towns around here. They all have great things to offer.

Fishing With The Tufts

We've met a lot of great people. One of our favorites is Mayor Bobby Tufts, age 4.

He ruled Dorset a few years ago, about five minutes from here, and his brother, James, is in charge now.

They live and go to school here in Nevis, and today we caught up with them for a little fishing, with help from Jones's Fishing Service.

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