Welcome to Run Away Bay Lodge

Run Away Bay Lodge is the former Blue Bird Lodge family resort, now a homeowners' association on Lake Belle Taine, in the heart of Minnesota's premiere lakes region near Nevis, Minnesota. Run Away Bay Lodge includes 25 member-owned cabins, plus three acres of common use property including a fish-cleaning house, sauna, playground, basketball court, and 700 feet of sandy shoreline on Lake Belle Taine. Every owner has their own dock space for mooring a boat.

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Our Northern Minnesota Getaway

Minnesota's north-central lakes region, betwen Park Rapids and Walker, incudes unique dining and shopping, many family resorts, hotels, B&Bs, and campgrounds, ten local golf courses, and five state forests. This is a great area for biking, with easy access to the 49-mile paved Paul Bunyan Trail (Heartland Trail), plus many miles biking around the local lakes and forests. Frequent summer festivals and music events include "We Fest" in Detroit Lakes, stage plays at the Long Lake and other local theaters, "Muskie Days" and "Ufda Fest" in Nevis, and of course, the "Taste of Dorset". Because the Park Rapids Lakes Region draws a population of nearly thirty thousand, this area is active all year. Winter adventures include ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling on nearly 250 miles of locally groomed trails, and many more miles through the area forests. Oh, and we have easy acces to over 400 area fishing lakes, many of which have sandy bottoms and pristine water clarity.

About Blue Bird Lodge
and the Park Rapids Lakes Region

Original Grounds of Blue Bird Lodge of Lake Belle Taine
Original Postcard of Blue Bird Lodge Grounds
Courtesy of Rick Wolfe, Crosby

Originally the "Blue Bird Lodge" family resort, and later Run Away Bay, our neighborhood was a family resort for over 50 years. The nearby postcards, printed as early as 1939, capture the beach and original cabins at Blue Bird Lodge. The avertisement below, found in Fuller's Tackle Shop 1947 Gold Book (of Park Rapids), and the 1945 Minnesota Resort and Travel Guide, describe the modern cabins at Blue Bird Lodge as having electricity and running water, beautiful grounds, and rates starting at $3.50 per day. As with most resorts, fishing boats with Johnson motors were available to guests. Ren Holland, who grew up in the resort life of Park Rapids, includes Blue Bird Lodge in his book The Early Resorts of Minnesota.

Original Beach at Blue Bird Lodge of Lake Belle Taine
Original Postcard of Original Beach

Although ownership of Blue Bird Lodge changed hands at least four times, and the name was changed to Run Away Bay Lodge in the mid 1980s, the family resort remained much the same for over 50 years. The week at Blue Bird included activities for kids and adults, play equipment, crafts and ceramics, beach and sauna, and knotty-pine cabins. Throughout the years, the grounds and beach became more manicured, but the nostalgia remained in tact. Several original Blue Bird Lodge cabins were white with blue shingles, and others were log construction. The white cabins were later updated to a rustic, brown-stained look to match the original log cabins. Most of the original cabins remain in-tact today, although all include additions and modern upgrades. Some of the divided-glass, swing-in windows were saved during renovations! The original lodge still stands today, as pictured in the advertisement and postcards below.

Original Cabin at Blue Bird Lodge of Lake Belle Taine
Original Postcard of Blue Bird Log Cabin
Courtesy of Darryl Hensel, Park Rapids

Although the cabins were sold to individual owners in 1999-2001 as part of the homeowners association, the family-resort atmosphere is alive at Run Away Bay. Together we own and maintain the original three acres of common grounds for all to enjoy. This includes the fish-cleaning house, sauna, playground, basketball court, and of course, 700 feet of sandy shoreline on Lake Belle Taine. Of course, we gather for three neighborhood pot-luck dinners each summer, and enjoy many evenings by the fire enjoying the Minnesota summer.

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Original Postcards and Advertisements

  • Original Cabin at Blue Bird Lodge of Lake Belle Taine
    Courtesy of Darryl Hensel, Park Rapids
  • Original Lodge at Blue Bird Lodge of Lake Belle Taine
    Courtesy of Darryl Hensel, Park Rapids
  • Original Cabin at Blue Bird Lodge of Lake Belle Taine
    Courtesy of Rick Wolfe, Crosby
  • Original Cabin at Blue Bird Lodge of Lake Belle Taine
    Courtesy of Darryl Hensel, Park Rapids
  • Original Cabin at Blue Bird Lodge of Lake Belle Taine
    Courtesy of Darryl Hensel, Park Rapids

  • Fuller's Gold Book Advertisement of Blue Bird Lodge

According to Ren Holland, the Park Rapids lakes region gained fame due to its location along the original Jefferson Highway from New Orleans to Winnepeg. As early as 1916, tourists vacationing northward on the highway in search of lakes and tall pine trees first found them just south of Park Rapids, in Menahaga. Of course, the Mississippi Headwaters at Lake Itasca, 20 miles north of Park Rapids, provided another unique destination. The Park Rapids Lakes Region was, and still is, a perfect stopping point for those interested in lakes, tall pines, and outdoor activites. See more in Ren Holland's historical blog about the Jefferson Highway route through Minnesota.

Lake Belle Taine saw some of the early travelers to the area due to its proximity to the Great Northern rail line bewtween Cass Lake and Park Rapids, with depots in Nevis on the east end and Dorset on the west end. With its prime location on the far west end of Lake Belle Taine, just south of Dorset, Camp Recreation was the first resort on Belle Taine, beginning sometime before 1910. Although the old Great Northern line was discontinued around 1972, the Heartland Trail now makes great use of the old rail bed.

Fishing on Lake Belle Taine

Although few at Run Away Bay Lodge are hard-core fishermen, no one gets skunked when fishing Lake Belle Taine and the surrounding lakes. Sunfish, crappie, and perch are plentiful, and most will catch a few bass and northern. Walleye are elusive and few have seen a muskie, but everyone will catch a bullhead!

About Lake Belle Taine

Originally called Elbow Lake (likely because of its shape) Lake Belle Taine is located near the town of Nevis in Minnesota's north-central lakes and fishing region, along MN Hwy 34 about half way between Park Rapids and Walker.

Lake Belle Taine of Nevis Minnesota

Covering nearly 1500 acres with a depth of over 56 feet and water clarity of over 14 feet, Lake Belle Taine is the third largest and southern most lake in the famous Mantrap Chain of Lakes. This is the heart of northern Minnesota's lakes region. More than seventeen lakes in the Mantrap Chain are connected by the Sand River and other small streams, and are known for clean, clear waters, and sand bottoms. Boaters may navigate from Lake Belle Taine to Shallow Lake and Deer Lake, but moving further north on the Sand River is more difficult and is best achieved by canoe or kayak. Although Lake Belle Taine is the southernmost lake in the Mantrap Chain of Lakes, there is no known river/stream outlet. Many believe the sandy bottom of the lake allows the water to filter underground into the Crow Wing chain. Belle Taine sits with many other area lakes, including the Crow Wing Chain, in the Mantrap Valley Watershed, an area of glacial moraine deposits formed by the Wadena lobe of the late Wisconsin glaciation of 13,000 to 18,000 years ago. Water levels fluctuate seasonally, but with several recent record high water levels, many lakeshore owners have cried for a man-made drainage system.

These 2011 survey statistics (below) show that Lake Belle Taine offers plenty for the fisherman. In a series of nettings, the Minnesota DNR recorded the number of each type of fish pulled from Belle Taine (white bars) and compared that to other similar lakes (orange bars). Lake Belle Taine has a more-than average amount of crappie, bluegill, northern, rock bass, and walleye. See the Minnesota DNR Lake Information page for more data about Lake Belle Taine.

Lake Belle Taine Fishing Data

Local Area Links

  1. Park Rapids Lakes Area - Where the mighty Mississippi begins, and the adventure never ends.
  2. Park Rapids, Mn - The small town with the extra wide main street.
  3. Dorset, Mn - The Restaurant Capital of the World!
  4. Nevis, Mn - Meet me at the Muskie!
  5. Park Rapids Enterprise Newspaper
  6. Hubbard County, Mn
  7. Nevis Trailblazers Snowmobile Club
  8. Long Lake Theater
  9. Park Theater
  10. Sky Manor Aero Estates
Our Favorite Restaurants
  1. Bella Cafe
  2. Rapid River Logging Camp
  3. Royal Bar
  4. Schwarzwald Inn
  5. The Good Life Cafe
  6. Zorbaz on the Lake
  7. Brauhaus German Restaurant
Minnesota DNR Links
  1. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  2. Minnesota DNR Fishing Page
  3. Minnesota Lakes Finder
  4. Itasca State Park
  5. Snowmobile Trail Conditions