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Remote Wilderness Cabin, Ely, Mn, Birch Lake, 12 Mi Se of Ely

Bedrooms 2
Property type cabin
Minimum Stay 7 nights


About the property

Cabin, 2 Bedrooms + Detached Sauna, No Baths, (Sleeps 6)

Rustic, cozy Gabbro Cabin stands on its own large private peninsula, facing its own intimate, picturesque bay, and its privacy is guaranteed by surrounding National Forest land. Gabbro is accessible only across two miles of Birch Lake.

Gabbro is a remote cabin, providing what owner Sharon calls “wilderness with a bed.” A crucial value of Gabbro Cabin is its break from technological dependency: no telephones, TVs, internet, or other plug-ins to compete with family fun and adventure. Gabbro's variety of fun activities, remote location, and isolation from electronic distractions have made it a terrific family vacation spot for annual returnees. The same gifts make Gabbro a marvelous getaway for couples.

The cabin has two bedrooms, each with a double bed and overhead single bunk. The cabin’s propane-powered refrigerator, oven/ stove, and inside lamps provide comfort and efficiency without infringing on the experiential wildness. The wood-fired Finnish steam sauna provides bathing luxury, and the cutting-edge outhouse provides private necessity.

Gabbro guests enjoy swimming, saunas, fishing, canoeing, hiking the peninsula’s trails, and wilderness relaxation. Wildlife abounds: eagles, ospreys, loons and other waterbirds, warblers and other songbirds, otters, beavers, and brazen chipmunks can all be seen around the cabin area. Moose, deer, wolves, mink and martens all reside in the surrounding forest. Rental kayaks and boat motors can be arranged.

The pristine waters of Birch Lake offer excellent walleye and smallmouth fishing, many miles of unbroken natural shoreline, and direct access to the Boundary Waters.

Come and celebrate Boundary Waters magnificence at Gabbro Cabin!

Keywords: Remote, Water-access, Sauna, Boundary Waters, Wilderness

More Details


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday cabin rental in Ely

Property Type:
  • cabin
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 12:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 9:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • Max. adults: 4
  • Min. age of primary renter: 22 ...
  • Children welcome ...
  • Parties/events not allowed
  • Pets considered ...
  • Non smoking only ...
  • 1. Arrival & departure must be coordinated with Caretaker. 2. No outdoor fire (campfire, candles) on the peninsula, except in the charcoal grill.
Location Type:
  • Lake View ...
  • Lakefront ...
  • Water View ...
  • Waterfront ...
  • Wood Stove
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Kitchen
  • Refrigerator
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Double Beds (2), Bunk Beds (2)
  • Gazebo
  • Outdoor Grill
Pool / Spa:
  • Sauna ...
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • festivals
  • library
  • playground
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • paddle boating
  • photography
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • swimming
Rustic cabin, crucial freedom from tech dependency, large private peninsula, intimate picturesque bay, privacy guaranteed by surrounding National Forest Land, direct access to the Boundary Waters, Transport provided to and from cabin


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(9 traveller reviews)

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Remote Wilderness Cabin, Ely, Mn, Birch Lake, 12 Mi Se of Ely
average rating of 5.0 based on 10 reviews

The ultimate getaway retreat

  • 5 of 5

The ultimate getaway retreat of solitude and restoration nestled in the pristine beauty and variety of nature's full-on, Boundary Water's display day and night. Well designed and comfortable cabin, nicely appointed and well maintained, relaxing wood-fired sauna proximate to a bracing dip in the cove, and a "stylish" outhouse. "LoonSong" generously offers the gift of restoration in body, mind and spirit.

  • Review Submitted: 29/09/2017
  • Date of Stay: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We're very happy you had such a refreshing, enjoyable adventure at Gabbro-Loonsong, Bruce. I know you value the beauty and edge-of wilderness experience the cabin and its location offer. We hope you'll be able to return again in the future!
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Camping in comfort!

  • 5 of 5

Our family of four, including two young kids, spent a wonderful week swimming, canoeing, exploring, hanging out, playing cards and having a nightly sauna. We were happy to find real mattresses on the beds (not those thin, flimsy ones) and a fully equipped kitchen. Definitely bring books and games and a desire to completely unwind!

We had a small issue and the owners were more than generous in their solution. All in all, we'd love to return (though with a motor to explore more of the big lake). Definitely recommended.

  • Review Submitted: 04/08/2015
  • Date of Stay: July 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Sorry the week had to end.

  • 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time at the Gabbro Cabin. We did much the same as the other reviewers: canoe, swim, berry pick, sauna, hike, read, reconnect. Our 4 and 6 year old boys were so happy to be there. Great place to get away and to slow down. The night sky was incredible. The owners and caretaker were gracious and helpful. We would love to go back again.

  • Review Submitted: 16/07/2015
  • Date of Stay: July 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you, Gwen. It makes us happy that families can have such a great time in our semi-wilderness. We hope to take our own grandsons, who are about your boys' ages, next year. Like you, we were rocked by the night sky and Milky Way when we were last at Gabbro. We hope you'll be able to return in coming years!
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Holland Mi

Had a great time!

  • 5 of 5

Just returning to civilization after a PEACEFUL stay at Gabbro cabin. The cabin was everything we thought it would be-----upscale camping! The view is awesome and the lake was beautiful. Only downside was we couldn't get enough fish to jump on our hooks. Thanks for a great experience!

Rick and Jane

  • Review Submitted: 26/08/2014
  • Date of Stay: August 2014
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you, Rick, Jane and Jim. We're really happy you had such an enjoyable vacation at Gabbro, and hope you'll be able to return again in the future! Yours, Tom and Sharon
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Viroqua, WI USA

Wonderful getaway

  • 5 of 5

We just returned from our first stay at Gabbro Cabin- what an incredible week we had with our 2 young children! The location is beautiful and the lake traffic is wonderfully mellow. We were blessed with exceptional weather and even the breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay (mostly!). We opted to go motor less and don't regret it at all. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the nearby bays and even ventured up into the Kawishiwi. The sauna was perfect! Big enough for the kids to splash around in their buckets of cool water while the grown ups got a good sweat.

  • Review Submitted: 10/07/2013
  • Date of Stay: June 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you! We're glad you had such a great vacation at Gabbro. It's very gratifying to us that families like yours can enjoy Boundary Waters fun at our cabin and peninsula. We hope you'll be able to come again!
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Secluded week

  • 5 of 5

We have been in the Ely area many times, and decided to find a cabin for this adventure. We really enjoyed our week at Gabbro Cabin, and decided to go motorless--which meant we were secluded on 'our' cove of Birch Lake for the week. The person who dropped us off was extremely nice and showed us how everything worked, including the sauna (we were not sauna people before the trip, but we are now!). We found everything we needed at the cabin. It is small and rustic in nature, and provided a backdrop for a week of family fun. We used the rowboat and canoe extensively. The owner provides drinking water from Ely, MN and dishwater is obtained by taking water from lake and boiling. There are propane lights, stove, and fridge---which is good-sized if you are planning types of foods to bring. There are games for rainy days (scrabble, cards, chess, etc.) and a good selection of books and guide books and maps. We really enjoyed the screened-in porch-type tent for dining outside. The bay around the cabin has loons, beaver, ducks, herons, and (reportedly!) some fish. We caught northerns in the grass. It was nice to hear almost nothing for a week except nature and our squeaky oars of the rowboat. Our 15-year-old son enjoyed canoeing the bay and exploring. If you have a bit of adventure in you, this cabin is a great choice. If you are used to tenting, this will be the lap of luxury!

  • Review Submitted: 01/07/2013
  • Date of Stay: June 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We're glad your and your family had such a good week! Like you, we find Gabbro Cabin a perfect northwoods retreat and center for water wilderness activities. We hope you'll return to Gabbro in the future. Yours, Tom & Sharon
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Tom Arendshorst
Member since: 2011
Speaks english
Response time
Within 12 hours
Response rate
Calendar last updated:
3 October, 2017

About Tom Arendshorst

Tom and Sharon Arendshorst have owned the Gabbro Cabin peninsula on Birch Lake since 2000. Residents of Holland, Michigan, Tom is a college professor and retired ophthalmic surgeon, and Sharon is a retired pastor. Tom was introduced to the Ely area as a Camp Voyageur youth in 1960; he and Sharon are longtime Boundary Waters/Quetico canoeists, and love the remote peace, Northwoods beauty, sense of retreat and abundant opportunities for wilderness fun that rise around Gabbro Cabin.

Tom Arendshorst purchased this cabin in 2000

Why Tom Arendshorst chose Ely

Gabbro Cabin has unique assets: it is remote and blessedly private because it is surrounded by National Forest, but it also gives access to many miles of waterway, shoreline, excellent Birch Lake fishing, and exploring. The peninsula's size provides hiking trails and varied habitat for wildlife. Being at Gabbro is accessible 'wilderness with beds.'

What makes this cabin unique

The Ely area offers unique access to boreal wilderness via the maze of lakes and connecting waterways of the Boundary Waters region. Ely also is the home of the International Wolf Center and the North American Bear Center. We purchased this remote cabin to give our family a home from which we have been able to annually retreat from civilization, refresh our spirits, and taste the compelling draw of wilderness. We are pleased others can share this bounty!

Guestbook comments from the owner

Gabbro Cabin is a great way to spend time on the edge of the wilderness. For us Gabbro offers a week to witness and be deepened by the surprising moment-to-moment changes in weather and animal presence, which goes on most of the time in the absence of people. For those like us, who aren’t suited for camping, this solid cabin provides a secure, functional, and comfortable shelter. We especially enjoy swimming in the beautiful cove, the great sauna, and all the wildlife—including one otter eating while swimming on its back, ten loons circling and calling overhead. This is a wonderful place to relax and disconnect. We’ve been there two times and look forward to our return.
Sep 2017
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Nearest Airport
90 Miles
Duluth; Small Ely airport
Nearest Golf
13 Miles
9-H Public Ely; 18-H Fortune Bay (42 mi)
Nearest Train
90 Miles
Nearest Motorway
6 Miles
MN Route 1
Nearest Restaurant
12 Miles
Numerous choices in Ely
Nearest Point of Interest
Birch Lake NF Campground
Nearest Point of Interest
Birch Lake
Nearest Point of Interest
South Kawishiwi Campground
Car: necessary

Canoeing, Finnish steam sauna, swimming, saunas, terrific walleye & smallmouth fishing, hiking the peninsula’s trails, wilderness relaxation, abundant wildlife, kayaks and boat motors available as rentals


Rates & Availability

Rental Rates for this holiday cabin in Ely

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
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Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
My Standard Rate

Changeover Day: Sunday
7 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Pet Fee AU$89.28
Tax Rate 9.88%

Each renting party will be met at Birch Lake National Forest Campground landing Sunday mid-day (by arrangement) and transported with all gear to the cabin; the party will be picked up again the following Sunday morning and returned to the Birch Lake Campground and their vehicle(s).

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 100% refund if cancelled at least 60 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.
Contact Owner

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