Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When do you open in 2016?
A. River Point is open in the spring, summer, and early fall. Open Dates in 2016 are May 13-October 2.
Q. What is a housekeeping cabin/accommodation?
A. "Housekeeping" means that you are renting a completely furnished and fully equipped accommodation. Included in the kitchen are pots, pans, dishes, glasses, stemware, silverware and utensils, and small electric appliances such as hand mixer, blender, drip coffee pot with filters, and a toaster. All kitchens have electric refrigerator, stove with oven, microwave oven and all, but 2 of the 16 accommodations have dishwashers. Log Cabin and the Hideaway Cabin do not have a dishwasher.
Gas grills, lounging chairs and tables for outside dining are provided.
Q. What To Bring for the Accommodation:
1. Food, and staples and convenience items, such as salt, pepper, flour, sugar
2. Pancake griddle, if desired
3. Scrubbies for scrubbing stainless pots
4. Paper Toweling
5. Bath/kitchen towels, including pot holders, when renting an accommodation for two or more nights.
(Bath Toweling is conveniently provided for guests that rent for just an ovenight stay.)
6. Beach Toweling
7. Personal hygiene products, such as bar soap, shampoo, lotion, tissues
8. Nightlight, if desired
9. Flashlights and headlamps for evening walks in and around the property and for emergency situations.
A coin operated Guest Laundry Faciltiy is on site. Laundry soap is available for sale in the Lodge and the Office. The machines take quarters and they are also available for exchange in the Lodge or in the Office. There is not a coin machine in the Guest Laundry.
For more information, refer to Cabins, Lodging and Rates.
Q. Are there smoke-free accommodations?
A. Yes, all accommodations are Smoke-Free. Smoking is optional on sundecks and patios. Some guests may have more sensitivities to cigar smoke. To be respectful of them, and to provide all guests with the opportunity to enjoy the fresh, clear "Up North" air, it is preferred that cigar smoking occurs in the comfort of your own vehicle, or on the lake. Please, we courtesy ask that no cigar smoking occurs on RPR grounds. Concerns? Questions? Please contact us.
Q. Are pets allowed?
A. River Point is Pet-Free in all of the rental accommodations. Please contact the local Ely Veterinary Clinic for very fine kennel care. 218.365.5911 Address: 318 Miners Driver, Ely, MN 55731
Q. How far are you from Ely?
A. 8.5 miles SE of Ely on highway #1, or about 10-12 minutes driving time. Private, well-maintained drive of 1.3 miles--River Point Road--brings you into the resort facility.
Q. How big is Birch Lake and where is River Point on the lake?
A. Birch Lake is the largest lake in the Ely, MN area that lies outside of the protected million acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). It is 20 miles long and approximately 6,000+ acres in size. 90% of the shoreline of Birch Lake is undeveloped federally owned land. River Point is sited on a private mile-long wilderness peninsula on the northern, and most undeveloped portion of Birch Lake where it is joined by the South Kawishiwi River, which leads directly into the BWCA (Boundary Waters)--entry point #32--just 4 paddle miles from River Point.
Q. Is Birch Lake easy to navigate, and is it a busy lake?
A. The lake is like a meandering river-lake. You can see from one shoreline to the other, with the widest portion of the lake being about 1.5 miles across. It is easy to navigate with a multitude of bays, inlets, rocky coves, and islands that one may pull a boat up on for a picnic, a fish-fry, to swim, to explore, and to enjoy. There are 14 fire grates provided by the USFS for a cook-out fire, as well as latrines along the shoreline of Birch Lake. With extremely limited development on the lake, especially the north end of the lake, Birch Lake and the South Kawishiwi River are unique compared to other area lakes, due to the lack of development, both commercial and private. Birch is not a busy lake; it is just the opposite.
Q. Is Birch Lake clean and clear?
A. Birch Lake is a clean lake. It is fed by the gently moving South Kawishiwi River that flows south to River Point out of the protected Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, where it joins Birch Lake and then wraps around River Point's west shoreline and flows north back into the BWCA. Due to little, or no, shoreline development, the lake remains clean. Clarity is only 4-5 feet, as the lake is naturally colored a brownish, "root beer" color. This occurs as the waters flow through the marshlands and swamplands up river where there are numerous tamarack trees, that stain the lake its natural brown color. Many of the lakes in the Ely area and the Boundary Waters are tinted this same "natural" color.
Q. How far are you from the nearest airport?
A. Approximately 4 miles from Ely Municipal Airport. 218.365.5600. Complimentary Ely airport shuttle provided. Hibbing International Airport is 1.5 hours away; Duluth International Airport is just 2 hours away; Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is 4.5 hours from Ely and River Point Resort
Q. How much shoreline do you have?
A. One mile of private wilderness shoreline bordered on the east and west by the South Kawishiwi River, and on the south by Birch Lake. River Point Resort is the only property on the peninsula.
Q. How close are you to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?
A. The BWCA (Boundary Waters) is just 4 paddle miles upstream at entry point #32, South Kawishiwi. Perfect for a day canoe trip.
Q. Where is the nearest grocery store?
A. In Ely, about 10-12 minutes away are two grocery stores and several convenience stores. Northland Market and Zups are the two grocery stores.
Q. What about televisions, cell phones, and internet access?
A. TV's are not provided in the accommodations by the preference of our many repeat guests. Cell phones work well. There are some spots where the reception is better than other areas. Rarely, if ever, an issue.
Complimentary WIFI internet access is available at each accommodation choice and is designed for checking your emails, Facebook and other social media, and web browsing. Due to our wilderness location, the WIFW is not designed for streaming of videos, music, or YouTube and service can be intermittent.
Q. How close are the accommodations to the water?
A. River Point is a lakefront resort with water on three sides of its private peninsula. Set-back from the lake and river is approximately 30-120', depending upon the accommodation. Nine vacation home cabins have scenic lakefront views and wooded privacy, and are approximately 30'-75' from the water's edge. Three Villas, also have lovely easterly lakefront views, just a few steps to the water, and Chalets are approximately 120'-140' to the water's edge. Refer to the Resort Layout Map.
Q. Does your place feel crowded? How many accommodations do you have?
A. River Point can accommodate about 100 persons at full capacity. With the amount of shoreline and land available, this property does not feel crowded. Plenty of "breathing" space. This is not a high density resort facility. There are just 16 rental units: 9 Vacation Home Cabins, ranging in size from one to three bedrooms; 3 Vacation Villas, with one to two bedrooms; and 4 one bedroom Chalets that can accommodate up to four persons. Pleasant walking paths connect all parts of the resort property.
Q. What is a Villa?
A. The Villas are housed in a very large two story building with one 2-bedroom Villa (Aspenwood) on the lower level, and two Villas (Stoneridge, which is a 2-bedroom and Birchcliff which is a 1-bedroom villa) on the upper level. All three Villas have private entrances with no walk-throughs or adjoining doors. Each is a private accommodation within the larger building, and there are only three Villas in the building. Aspenwood has a private patio, and Stoneridge and Birchcliff have sundecks. Each accommodation has its own lounge chairs and there are gas grills for all three, plus Air-Conditioning.
The Villas are approximately 120' to the water's edge with level ground to access the marina area and the south beach. The view to the water is unobstructive. Redecorated with new furnishings (sofas, chairs, lamps, tables) each Villa is most comfortable with full kitchen with dishwashers and other electric appliances. Wood-burning fireplaces in the living rooms and double whirlpools, plus showers in the bathrooms round out the comfort. Aspenwood and Stoneridge have new custom designer ceramic tile flooring. This complex can be used as a "retreat" house when renting all three Villas. Also, each Villa is a superb choice for a romantic couples getaway vacation for short stays or a full week rental. River Point's three Vacation Villas are not individual "free-standing" cabins.
Q. What is a Chalet?
A. The new Chalets are housed in a 6,000+ square foot two-story building. Each Chalet is located on the upper level of the building and is on one of the four corners of the building. Thus, each Chalet has its own private entrance and its own private deck and gas grill with both wooded and water views with set back to the water of approximately 120'. Appointed with all the amenities and designer touches, the Chalets have full kitchens with pecan cabinets with lights under the cabinets for ease in preparing meals, custom slate backspashes beneath the cabinets add an "elegant touch", dishwashers, and all other electric appliances. Log furnished throughout, each Chalet has a livingroom wtih gas fireplace. All Chalets are Air-Conditioned. Custom ceramic bath with shower, ceramic tile flooring throughout all living spaces, except the bedrooms, which are carpeted. Amazingly beautiful, these quality Chalets are a great accommodation choice for overnight rentals and shorter stays, as well as a full week rentals. River Point's four Chalets are not individual "free-standing" cabins.
Q. What kind of heat do the accommodations have?
A. Electric heat in 11 of the lodging choices. In-floor heat in the custom ceramic tile floor in the four Chalets and Riverview Vacation Home cabin.
Q. Do you have A/C?
A. Yes, all accommodations have air conditioning. The Guest Lobby and Registration and the Wildwood Lodge also are air conditioned.
Q. What do we need to bring for fishing?
1. Rods and Reel
2. Tackle Box
A convenient Bait and Tackle Shop is on site for live bait, end tackle, complimentary maps, minnow buckets, landing nets, and friendly advice. Rods and reels and small tackle boxes are also available for sale.
Q. Do you sell fishing licenses?
A. You may purchase MN fishing licenses over the phone at River Point, or order them on line at www.mndnr.gov prior to arrival. You can also call the MN Department of Natural Resources at 1.888.665. 4236. You will be requested to provide your social security number. You may also purchase your license in Ely at one of the bait shops. Refer to the Fishing for more information.
Q. What type of fish does the lake and river have?
A. Walleye is the most predominant species, followed by northern pike, smallmouth bass, crappies, blue gill, and largemouth bass. Birch Lake consistently ranks in the top of MN walleye fishing lakes. Refer to Fishing for more information.
Q. Do you have swim beaches?
A. Yes, two natural sand beaches; one on our south shoreline, another on the east shoreline on the northern portion of the peninsula. Complimentary beach watercraft are provided, such as one and two person kayaks (sit-on-top) and paddleboats.
Q. Do you rent boats and motors?
A. Yes, 16' boats with either 9.9, 15, or 25 hp motors. Also, Pontoon Boats with 25 hp motors, and ProFishing/Touring Boats with 50-60 hp motors. Refer to Amenities and Marina for additional information.
Q. Do you have a boat launch and dockage area, and is there a fee?
A. Yes, we offer a boat launch for our guests. Plenty of dockage space at the central marina area, as well as 5 private docks at specific cabins. Launch fee is $12; daily dockage is $17 per boat up to 19'; add $2/day per foot for boats over 19'. $5/day surcharge for Pontoon Boat or Deck Boat dockage. Fall discount rates from 9/6-9/30: $10 daily dockage for any length boat. Refer to Amenities and Marina for additional information.
Q. Does a boat come with the lodging rental?
Q. Do you have guide service for boats with motors?
A. Yes, we offer In-House guided fishing day trips on Birch Lake and the South Kawishiwi River with motorized boats. Guides are knowledgeable and congenial. The trip includes the guide's expertise, comfortable boat with live well, trolling motor, and locator, motor, gas, bait. Also, offered is an optional shore lunch of fresh fish. Refer to Fishing for more information.
Q. Do you rent canoes and kayaks?
A. Yes. River Point has a fleet of aluminum canoes, and a fleet of the very lightweight Kevlar canoes for rent. Eight Current Design sea kayaks are ready to be enjoyed, also. For rates, reference the Amenities and Marina link.
Q. Is there any complimentary equipment?
A. Yes. Offered are "sit-on-top" one and two person kayaks, child sized playaks, paddleboats (great for families), stand up paddleboards (SUP's), and other beach equipment. Refer to Amenties and Marina for other free items.
Q. Do you offer day guided canoe trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area?
A. Yes, In-House guided day BWCA trips with a fishing focus are available, and also offered are day trips to simply enjoy the scenery, the solitude and wildlife, and for photography. A specialized day canoe trip to Hegman Lake, within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to view one of the finest examples of Native American pictographs is another day guided canoe trip option. Guides are very experienced in canoeing the Boundary Waters. Included are the canoe(s), life jackets, bait (if you will fish), transport to and from the entry point, shore lunch (including fresh fish, if the focus of the trip is on fishing), and the guide's expertise. Refer to Resort Recreation for more information.
Q. Do you offer overnight canoe trips?
A. Absolutely. When staying for a minimum of three nights at a resort accommodation, you can take advantage of the special "Taste of the Northwoods" package. This 2-day, 1-night trip into the Boundary Waters is perfect for those wanting just a "taste" of wilderness canoe/camping. Self-guided or guided--either way it is an adventure. USFS permit is required for overnight camping in the BWCA, so best to reserve early, so River Point may secure a permit for the date you desire. Includes: canoes, paddles, life jackets, tent, sleep bags, therm-a-rest sleep pads, packsacks, gas stove, cook kit, and more. Refer to "Taste of the Northwoods Package" for much more.
Q. Do you offer canoe trips for longer than just overnight?
A. Yes. You may select the length of canoe trip you desire and the package. Most guests select a completely outfitted package where you need to bring only your personal clothing, hygiene products and rod and reel, if you will fish, plus a first aid kit. All other equipment, canoes, and fine food is provided. You may also select a partially outfitted trip, when you have some of the equipment and just want our service to "fill in the holes." USFS permit must be secured by River Point for a canoe trip into the BWCA for a specific date and a specific entry point. Contact us early so that a permit can be secured for you for this wonderful experience. You may combine a resort stay with a canoe trip of several days, also. For more, check out River Point Outfitting Co. View specific packages for a completely outfitted canoe trip lasting several days. View general information about the Boundary Waters and Helpful Tips.
Q. What are your resort Check In times?
A. Check-In time for weekly rentals (usually Saturday to Saturday) is after 3:00 pm on the arrival day. Check-In time for partial week rentals is after 1:00 pm. Since River Point Resort's Office is not open 24 hours a day, directions and arrangements for possible later evening arrivals will be sent with the Reservation Confirmation, or given verbally, if requested. It is helpful to call when in route on your arrival date to offer an approximate arrival time. 218.365.6604 or 218.365.6625
Q. Can friends come to visit me at the resort?
A. Yes, your friends are welcome to visit. However, MN State Law requires all persons that come to a private resort be registered, regardless of the length of their visit. Thus, you need to notify us that your friends will visit and we ask that they come to the Office to register. For short visits of 2 hours or less, there is no fee. Longer visits will be assessed a fee of $10 per person. Additional charges accrue for use of beaches, use of beach watercraft, taking showers, etc. If your guest(s) would like to stay overnight, if the accommodation can hold extra persons, the following rates apply: $30 per person, age 11 & up and $20 per child, age 10 & under.
Q. Do you have an RV park/campground?
Q. Can we have an outside fire at the resort?
A. Absolutely. River Point has three new firepit areas with picnic table for cooking up smores and marshmallows. One is located at the north beach, one faces east and is located by the marina, and the third firepit is at the south beach. Use them privately or invite others to join you.
Q. Will we see the Northern Lights?
A. This wonderful phenomenon is a sight to see. However, due to many variables one cannot usally predict when they will appear. Generally, the "light show" is more active in the spring and fall, but they are spotted throughout summer and winter, also. Between dark and about 2:00 am is usually the typical viewing time. However, the "star show" of our northern sky is something to behold even if you miss the Northern Lights.
Q. Do you allow Jet Skis, Waveriders, and Drones?
A. No. In keeping with the natural, peaceful, and private wilderness setting at River Point, drones and personal watercraft, such as jet skis and wave riders, are not allowed.
Q. Can I have my same reservation dates for the next year?
A. Yes, when you make your reservation arrangements before you leave. Just check at the Office.
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