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Loved Both Experiences
Loved Both Experiences

With 57% of the votes, the winner of last week’s “Favorite Cragun’s Memory” poll was “Loved Both Experiences” from Rebecca.

Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake in Brainerd, MN

“This time last year, we headed to Cragun’s for family vacation. We had a rough spring and were looking forward to enjoying time away with our two young boys. We were excited to make long-lasting memories. And boy, did we get them!

We checked in on Sunday, hit the pool (it’s all the kids could talk about), and attended the delicious welcome dinner. Then, the storm hit. Yes, THAT storm. The one that shut the resort down for two weeks! When my phone sounded the emergency alert, we left our suite and found a hallway without windows that was somewhat underground. Shortly thereafter, the winds hit, the lights went out, and the doors at each end of the hallway started rattling. Another family, also with two boys found us and sat with us. Their company was shockingly welcome at that moment in time! Some maintenance workers (with flashlights!) also found us and told us to stay put, as long as we were safe.

We did just that until the storm subsided. We were shocked to see the damage when we got to a window. There were trees on cars, power lines snapped in half, and waterfalls of rainwater rushing down the hills. We obviously had no power and vehicles couldn’t get in our out, so after speaking with the front desk and wandering around to survey the damage (from a safe distance), we realized we had no choice but to hunker down for the night, in the dark, and do what we came to do – RELAX! In the dark, with one candle, we bathed our kids, put them to bed, and sat on the balcony listening to the loons and…chainsaws. It was surprisingly relaxing, given the circumstances.

The next morning, we received direction from the staff to pack up and leave once we could safely do so. They assured us they would call to close out open bills once power was restored and re-book our stay if possible. Those logistics were obviously important, but the heart that these employees showed to all the guests in the face of such devastation (and lack of sleep) is what stands out to me about our experience. Yes, we were disappointed that our stay was cut short. But Cragun’s staff showed up in abundance that morning, walked to work (because cars couldn’t get through), cut up downed trees, and stepped on dead power lines, just to help us get our car to a spot where we could start our drive home. Throughout the chaos, these employees kept smiles on their faces. They made a tough situation surprisingly easy to navigate.

My kids still haven’t stopped talking about that storm OR the memories that were made when we returned, exactly one month later (sans a few hundred trees). We enjoyed four days of glorious weather, swimming, feeding the ducks, canoeing, and enjoying the horse-drawn buggy rides. We loved both of our experiences at Cragun’s last summer (for very different reasons) and cannot wait to return!”