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Whether you’re on the hunt for the Northern Lights or not, the Aurora Hideaway Dinner is one of those experiences that will earn five gold stars on your bucket list. Available to guests at the Pine Bay Lodge in Luleå — a coastal town in Swedish Lapland — this dining experience is hard to put into one sentence, but I’ll try: Dine by candlelight in a one-room cabin on a very frozen lake that you need to take a snowmobile to reach.
If it sounds like something straight out of the most over-the-top rom-com every played on the “Lifetime” channel, you’re not wrong.
On the night I dined at the cabin, we were led onto a snowmobile-drawn sleigh covered in quilts. To prepare for the short but incredibly chilly ride, we crawled into heavily insulated boiler suits before hopping (somewhat hilariously, I should add, given the bulky outfits) onto the sleigh. After cutting through backyards and onto the lake ice — all in all, maybe a 15-minute trip — our guide, Tommy, slowed as we approached a small structure surrounded by candlelight. Cue the romantic music.
Next to the cabin was a grill, stoked and ready to prepare our dinner for the night: white fish and leek soup; baked Russet potatoes; steak with peppers and an equally peppery sauce; and a blueberry tart for dessert; all thoughtfully and deliciously grilled by Tommy. And lots of wine.
The inside of the cabin, the epitome of minimal-yet-cozy Scandinavian design, could hardly fit more than a handful of people. Candles burn everywhere, as does a wood-fed stove, which causes everyone inside to break into a sweat — so much so that we often propped open the door to invite some of the arctic air in.
Outside, you’ll find the kind of silence that seems louder to your brain than any inner city scene. You’re in the middle of a lake — and a big one at that — with the soft glow of windows from surrounding homes way off in the distance. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimmer of the Northern Lights if the conditions are right. We didn’t, but the night was still downright magical.
Best of all, the “restaurants” are moved around the lake with a snowcat, according to Pine Bay Lodge, depending on weather and wind conditions. Showshoes are also available, should you want to take a post-dinner stroll around the lake or explore the wintry landscape while waiting for your steak to cook.
The experience costs around $250 per person, and it’s available to book through early April, temperatures permitting. As you can imagine, a dinner atop a frozen lake has a very specific kind of lifespan. For more information on how to book an Aurora Hideaway Dinner, head to the activity website.
Featured image courtesy of Pine Bay Lodge.
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