Sailing North Lake Mille Lacs

      Most of the resorts around lake Mille Lacs cater to fishermen in power boats. The lake is small enough that few fishermen feel the need for  GPS equipment, except to use for marking fishing spots. If they can't find a place along the shore, they simply motor along the shore line looking for landmarks.  Hence few resorts and harbors understand why you would need their GPS coordinates. "Just look for the boat launch with flower beds made of rail road ties and with orange flowers" Said the manager at Barneveld's Resort. Not an easy tasks when you are sailing across the lake and are totally dependent on weather and wind. Nevertheless, he did elaborate: There is a green house by the launch, many trailer campers and it is about 4 miles East of the Wealthwood Public Boat Launch. He was correct in all except the 4 miles… it was more like two.
      Heading out of
Terry's Marina in St. Albans Bay, with a light Northwesterly, we headed Northeast at an average speed of 3 knots. Having had experience with people's misconception with distance, we moved in to about a mile from the shore after we passed the Wealthwood Public Boat Launch and scanned the shoreline with our binoculars. Soon enough we saw a light green building surrounded by trailer campers. Still not sure it was the right place we moved in for a closer look, and there they were: orange flowers in beds made with railroad ties.

Barneveld's Resort:      Latitude: N 46O  31.45'       Longitude: W 93O 40.14'

      Barneveld's does not have any navigational markers at the entrance of its harbor, however Mr. Barneveld told us that if we arrived at night, he did have a big orange light near the dock. The harbor has an ample entrance that can accommodate wider boats and the sharp portside turn needed to access the slips.
      Friendly greetings and welcoming gestures, a Barneveld's caretaker (Mrs. Barneveld's daughter in law) guided us into the slip and helped us tie up. Barneveld's has a  small protected harbor that can accommodate 15 small boats. From the cheerful exclamations of the Barneveld's grandchildren we deduced that few, if any, sailboats dock there. The wood docks are sturdy.  They have a gas pump but no shore power or pump-out.
      If your boat is over 25 feet you are going to have a hard time in this harbor. Also we think that our shoal draft swing keel came in very handy. Our slip appeared shallow, maybe 4 feet at the most, the channel into the harbor was maybe 5 to 7 feet deep.
      Barneveld's rents cabins for the night for as little as $65 . You can sleep on your boat, but if you do, they will charge you for the slip. The cabins are not rustic, have all the necessary linens and are quite nice and very clean. There is a barely useable public bathroom  and no laundry services. The trailer campers belong to season long visitors who usually return to the Twin Cities for the work week, making Barneveld's a quiet and very enjoyable spot. We recommend it. Ask around for Scotty, a spry 82 years young regular, WWII captain, that used to be on the U of MN sailing team, he will eagerly give you some sailing tips.

Barneveld's  Resort

       The Pub Inn is a Bar and Grill within walking distance and East of Barneveld's on Hwy 18. If you are the type of person that likes white buttered toast at every meal, this is the place for you. The Pub Inn is open as late as 1 am on weekends and as early as 10 am seven days a week, but they do not serve breakfast and you have to order ahead if you want desert.  Proudly displayed is a sign stating that the restaurant is "smoking section" in it's entirety. The regular clientele (that day) was in the 60's to 70's age group and their wait staff wasn't any younger, although it could be premature aging from all the smoking.

      A welcome southerly put us on a nice beam reach heading East.  A well advertised restaurant on the Northeast end of lake Mille Lacs is Carlsona Beach. The bubbly wench  answering the phone assured us that they had a dock that could easily accommodate a sailboat. In fact Carlsona Beach is advertised on the web as a place where boaters can dock and dine. As we approached we saw a very small, sagging, aluminum dock jutting out into the lake, no powerboats were tied up there so we figured we could maybe fit. We lifted our centerboard and motored in.  Our bow had barely passed the  end of the dock when our rudder scrapped bottom. Without our centerboard our boat only draws 1.5 feet and this summer Lake Mille Lacs was supposedly at a high mark.  Needless to say we didn't dine there. So unless you are driving, give Carlsona Beach a wide berth.


Last Updated: August 2003