The Ruttger family, whose members have owned the resort for more than 120 years, announced Sept. 3 that Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge had been sold.

Minnesota’s oldest continually owned family resort was sold to 1898 Investments LLC. 1898 Investments LLC is a Minnesota-based company and they have plans to renovate and expand the historic resort on Bay Lake.

“We’ve been kinda working on it for awhile,” said Chris Ruttger, the now-former owner. “It started when we were approached by a broker early last summer.

“It’s been a little bit of a journey,” he added. “It’s a great opportunity right now. We love the people that have bought it. They have a real interest in our history. They want to keep us involved.”

The sale of the 161-room traditional, up-north resort located on Bay Lake in Deerwood includes the lodge, all lodging facilities, office facilities, close to 500 acres of land, Jack’s 18 and Alec’s 9 golf courses, Zig’s Restaurant & Bar, Ruby’s Dining Room, Auntie M’s Coffee Shop, The Garage, Ann’s Bay Lake Boutique, and various other buildings and real estate holdings.

Only Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge is involved in the deal, and it does not include any other Ruttger’s properties.

The transaction closed Sept. 2 and the new ownership group will immediately begin working with the existing operational team in managing the day-to-day operations of the resort.

Chris Ruttger will stay on

 as member of the Board of Directors of the new ownership group and will provide leadership and guidance to the operational team and help with the transition.

Plans for the new Ruttger’s include renovations of existing spaces, expansion of the number and type of accommodations, dining options and activities.

“We have many plans to take Ruttger’s to the next level, and make it not only one of the most beloved resorts in the state, but the best,” 1898 Investments Principal Pat Egan said. “We will share our plans for this beautiful property soon and look forward to a bright future.”

Whereas the hospitality industry has struggled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, drivable resort destinations like Ruttger’s have done well, Ruttger said.

Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge was founded in 1898 by Joseph and Josephine Ruttger. Their four sons all grew to become leaders in the resort industry and were influential in the early development of the Brainerd Lakes area as a tourism destination. At one time, the Ruttger family owned and operated five resorts in the area.

“Being so close to the Twin Cities with golf courses, and a remote and spacious facility has been appealing to travelers looking for a place to get away and feel a bit of normal,” Ruttger said. “Some guests have worked remotely while staying here. This trend is a reason Ruttger’s was appealing to 1898 Investments, and why bookings look strong for the rest of this year and into 2021.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege for our family to have provided a home away from home to our guests. We have cherished every minute,” Ruttger said. “We would not have agreed to sell to the new ownership group if we were not certain that they would not only continue, but build upon the Ruttger’s tradition of excellence, hospitality and providing a wonderful guest experience.”

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