Excuse me while I let out a long, slightly exaggerated sigh… (it might be silent on your end, but it’s oh so loud over here!)
You see, I’ve just returned from the best week of the summer, our family’s annual vacation up north to our cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. And just looking at these pictures makes my heart sad to be home already. We always look forward to this trip each year not only for the “escape” it provides us from our hectic every day stresses of life, but also for the pure fun we have spending time together with our extended family.
Not to mention the breath-taking views of nature that never fail to wow me with each visit we make. This is a shot of our lake in early evening, when the sun sits low and you can’t really tell where the sky and the water meet. It’s sheer heaven on earth. Breathtaking beauty from all directions in nature’s purest form!
I’ve been coming to this cabin ever since I was a baby. And my mother went when she was a baby. And my grandmother before her. That’s how long its been in our family.
My great-grandfather built it sometime in the late 1930’s, early 40’s. It’s been like a trusty companion ever since. A place that allows us refuge and retreat. I’m pretty sure that’s why my grandpa built it back then – as a very successful businessman at that time – because it allowed him and his family an ever important escape from the reality of his stressful job, not to mention life with 4 small children. He would often come up with deer hunting buddies as well.
The entire cabin is constructed of knotty pine logs and wood. My grandpa took a great deal of care in the details – lots of built-in cubbies and bunk beds give this cabin incredible charm.
It’s because of this that it earned itself the nickname “Picky Pine Cabin.”
We even joke that a deer ran through the cabin walls and got stuck in the fireplace! Which is why his head is on one side and his tail sticks out the other!
There are quite a few activities that top our list of things we love to do while we’re here. But of course, the main reason we come is to relax. This schedule which sits posted in the cabin’s kitchen pretty much sums it up!
One of the enormous perks of this property is the little lake that it is situated on. There are mainly summer cabins on this lake and for that reason, people like to keep things quiet. Little to no motor boats are seen, mainly canoes, paddle boats and the like.
These kayaks offer a fun way to explore the lake and see the loons that so often settle in this area.
Not to mention the incredible wildlife that surrounds us is enjoyment enough! We love taking long nature walks through the woods up here, capturing God’s amazing beauty in the wildflowers, pines and water.
And then there’s the fishing! This lake is full of sunfish, bluegills, northern and bass just waiting to be caught. The kids love to pop their lines in the water and snag up a sunfish.
My son even caught a tiny sunfish and as my husband was helping him reel it in, a large-mouth bass swam up and swallowed his fish on the line whole! Then the line snapped and off swam the bass, with the bobber still attached to the line! These fish are HUNGRY!
The grown ups don’t do too bad themselves…
And then there’s my sister-in-law aka the ultimate fisher-woman who, by far, out-fished us all. They really seem to love her! This was just 1 of the MANY fish she snagged! She should have her own fishing show, “Fissin’ with Lis” 🙂
Some of the other fun we have on these trips involve swimming, trips to the local ice cream shop, playing card/board games, coloring pictures and watching movies.
Then there’s our annual pilgrimage to the Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty for breakfast…
Spending time reading is one of my favorite things to do while up here. I caught my sweet sister and my oldest reading their Harry Potter books together…
Taking a boat ride together as a family around the lake…
And playing restaurant in the cabin kitchen from behind the “order up” counter. My mom even helped my girls make play money, paper wallets for the customers, a cardboard cash register and menu for their make-believe restaurant, which they named Grsoli’s – sort of a blend of all of their names together: Grandma, Sofia & Olivia. It was classic!
But at the end of the day, when the sun goes down, the towels are hung out to dry, and the day is ending, it’s really just about these views. I mean, really…just take a look for yourself…
Our trips up to the Northwoods remind me of a few things – 1) the importance of family and staying connected as we grow older; 2) how God has blessed me with such a special sanctuary; and 3) how thankful I am to have these memories which will last a lifetime.
Even though I’m pretty sure we won’t be back up to visit until this winter, or even maybe next summer, this place is still like a home away from home. We all miss it dearly when we’re not here. Even my son was pretty blue about having to return home as we packed up the car.
But I always say my proper goodbyes to the lake each year and promise I’ll be back again soon. Until then my seat will stay empty on this pier, but I know there will be another family member there to enjoy it soon after. That’s part of the beauty of a shared family cabin. Everyone gets to take a turn building memories in their own special way.
What about you and your family? Where do you like to escape away to on your vacations? For me, it’s definitely the Northwoods of Wisconsin!