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Madden's on Gull Lake just finished its busiest season in decades, and went out on top by winning a Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice award. 

The Brainerd Lakes Area resort closed out its season on Oct. 24 (the spa and the Classic Grill, as well as one golf course, are still open) after hosting 74,000 guests — a 10% year-over-year increase when compared to a pre-pandemic 2019, with half the guests being first-timers. 

“This has been one of our busiest social seasons of the past 20 years," said Abbey Pieper, chief sales and marketing officer at Madden’s, in a news release.

Madden's — like other resorts rentals and campgrounds in central and northern Minnesota — saw a surge of visitors this summer as people were eager to vacation after a pandemic-hit 2020.

According to Explore Minnesota, overnight lodging accommodations reported "somewhat or significantly higher" revenue compared to 2020, with revenue higher for 90% of businesses in central Minnesota and more than 89% higher in northern Minnesota. 

And it looks like all the visitors who stayed at Madden's enjoyed their time. Madden's ranked the No. 1 resort in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest in Condé Nast Traveler's Readers Choice Awards this year — the highest ranking Madden's has ever gotten. 

“We’re so grateful for our guests and that so many folks who have stayed with us felt so passionately about their positive experience that they voted us into this top slot from Condé Nast Traveler. It is such an honor for our whole team," Pieper said. 

The Reader's Choice Award is just one of the accolades Madden's received this season. The others include: 

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