Ye Old Pickle Factory

Ye Old Pickle Factory, simply “The Pickle” to locals and the summer mainstays, is a bar and tavern in Nisswa.
Close to the Paul Bunyan trail, it attracts large crowds on the weekends and evenings regardless of the season.
Snowmobilers in the winter and softball and patio sunset-watching in the summer.
Since it’s winter (for a bit longer), opt for a game of pool or pinball, or hunker down with a fist full of pull tabs all while you fill up on deep fried pickles, Heggie’s pizza and popcorn.
If that’s all too tame for you, ask for the Pickle’s famous gizzards pickles and curds. My tastebuds are not that brave.
Do watch where you step, the floor is covered in peanut shells and deflated pull tab dreams.

Gull Dam Brewing 

Up next on the #mnbucketlist is Gull Dam Brewing off Smiley Road in Nisswa. It is important to mention that the taproom is in back because you may miss it on the way in. Whether you stop in to grab a growler on your way to the cabin or stay a while and take in the communal, laidback atmosphere; Gull Dam is the perfect place for groups, as they are equipped to entertain the potentially inebriated masses! A large projection screen to cheer on your favorite team, giant Jenga, bag toss/corn hole, dice, cribbage, cards and other board games, and even a giant beer pong table. That’s not all – Gull Dam has a huge, open garage door with a big stage for live music, outdoor patio and a bonfire pit. Gull Dam is family and dog friendly, too! And as for food, they often have food trucks, but you could just bypass the lines and order pizza from Raffertys instead.

Minnesota Zip Lines and Adventures: Brainerd Zip Line Tour

Looking for an outdoor adventure? Not afraid of heights? I have just the thing.

Zipling with the Brainerd Zip Line Tour! And what better place to do it than Mount Ski-Gull, which already offers skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

As part of the Minnesota Zip Lines and Adventures that also includes the Kerfoot Canopy Tour, you’ll be able to see the area in a whole new way, from above, as you soar over the treetops. Experience the breathtaking views of Gull Lake and the wildlife that inhabit the area as you push off a ledge and rush through the air. I know, right? I panicked a little. And don’t worry, there’s always two professionally trained guides who will add lots of humor and patience to the day.

All in all, it takes about 2 hours. Drive up to Mount Ski Gull, get on the ground training where you learn how to brake and respond to different signals, do each one of the 7 Zip Lines, cross the 65-foot Indiana Jones-esque suspension bridge that will make your knees quake, and finally, freefall from the 50ft “jump” at end. It was a blast!

Still too nervous? Let me just say, when I was there, a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother did it. All seven. If they can do it, you can, too!


ZorbazIn the interest of taking a break, and finding food that doesn’t come from a cabin fridge, I give you Zorbaz on the bucket list. Zorbaz is a Minnesota lakeside staple. They are in Detroit Lakes, Little Pine Lake, Pelican Lake, Ottertail Lake, Cross Lake, Gull Lake, Pokegama Lake, Big Sandy, Green Lake, Alexandria and my favorite, Park Rapids. If you love a backwoods on the lake bar filled with live music, pizza and Mexican food, you’ll be right at home at Zhateau Zorbaz. They are great because they are open late when nowhere else in the area is. Side note: I have a soft spot for their sauerkraut and green olive pizza, judge me all you want.