Kelsey and Chris grew up in St Cloud, MN where they attended junior high and high school together.They weren’t close friends at the time but they would occasionally run into each other through mutual friends.
Chris ended up going to St Cloud State and then off to Arizona to become a Physical Therapist.
Kelsey attended the University of MN where she earned a degree in Design and Journalism. After college, Kelsey moved to Spain to teach English. She had caught the wanderlust bug and lived in Australia, San Diego and then settled in Austin, TX where she worked in Real Estate, flipping homes and eventually purchasing her first small Airbnb rental house (which she still has to this day).
During this time, Chris was living in NYC practicing physical therapy and even opened his own clinic. In 2017, Kelsey moved back to MN to be closer to family and over the holidays, ran into Chris in Minneapolis. They met up for a beer at Bad Weather Brewing in St. Paul and the rest is history.
They ended up moving to Indonesia to save money and to decide/plan what was next. They didn’t want to sign a lease, so they purchased a 30ft 1995 Georgie Boy Swinger RV and flew home to go pick it up. They spent the next few months remodeling it and then moved into it. They parked the RV at a good friends land, about an hour North of Crosby, MN. They knew about Crosby and the MTB Trails through good friends and from getting bait at the bait shop in town.
But, Winter was coming and us Minnesotan’s know that RV life does not mix well with a MN Winter. So, Chris got a remote job as a physical therapist and Kelsey managed her rental property, consulted other local rentals and cleaned local Airbnb homes.They found a small mining house in Crosby and renovated it within a month so they could have somewhere to live in the Winter. They often talked about running a B&B or what it would be like to build a dream destination and pull together all their travel experiences and unique places they had stayed in the US and the world. Inspired and with nothing to lose, they made an offer on 3.2 wooded acres on the edge of town with direct access to the Mountain Bike Trails to start building their dream destination.
Little did they know the journey that that land would take them on. Cuyuna Cove took over 2 years to build and Kelsey and Chris worked around the clock at their day jobs and would then go to the land to build the shower house, tent platforms, privacy dividers and the cabins/tents you’re staying in now.The land needed a well, septic, electrical, and on and on. With the help of Kelsey’s dad, Google and friends, the massive project slowly came to life.
The 5 cabins at Cuyuna Cove were finished on June 27th 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. The canvas tents were launched in the Spring of May 2021. The redwood sauna was the last piece to the puzzle and they finished building it in October 2021. What a journey it has been! The best part of it all? Getting to know and meet so many amazing guests.
“We cannot thank you enough for coming to stay in our Boutique Tiny Cabins and Glamping Tents in beautiful Cuyuna country. We’re so lucky to call this unique area of MN ‘home’. Our goal in building Cuyuna Cove is that you’ll have a rejuvenating getaway filled with adventure, nature and connecting to yourself and loved ones. Memories made in Cuyuna will truly last a lifetime and beyond! Enjoy every moment.” -Kelsey & Chris
History Behind the Name ‘Cuyuna’
The Cuyuna iron range was discovered by Cuyler Adams, a surveyor who discovered traces of magnetic ore in 1895 while doing land surveys. The word “Cuyuna” was coined by Adams’ wife, who combined the first three letters of Cuyler’s name with “Una”, the name of their dog. In 1903 Adams formed the Orelands Mining Co.
Mining in Cuyuna
Mining started on the range in 1911. The ore was located deep under the soil so most of the mines were developed underground. The ore was also rich in manganese, which was useful during World War I when other sources were not available. At the very height of the mining, the Cuyuna Range was the location of the worst mining disaster in Minnesota, the Milford Mine disaster. On February 5, 1924, a new tunnel was blasted too close to nearby Foley Lake, and water rushed in, killing 41 miners.
What once was a bustling iron ore mining area in Cuyuna, MN shut down in 1984. With endless red dirt land, sprawling forests and empty mine pits, Cuyuna was ready for change. That change came when mountain bikers, volunteers and locals worked together to push for trails to be carved into the abandoned landscape. Over the past 10 years Cuyuna has become one of the top outdoor adventure destinations with people visiting from across the globe. The land now boasts 30 miles (and counting) of renowned single track Mountain Bike trails, over 40 miles of paved trails and over 15 crystal clear, turquoise mine lakes perfect for paddle boarding and kayaking.