In keeping with my apparent obsession with all things nostalgic lately, my family and I are heading to the Northwoods resort where I spent one week every summer of my childhood. It is a typical family-owned resort of ten cabins fronting a sandy-bottom lake full of walleye, crappie, and bluegills, surrounded by tall pines. Up by the road, there’s a lodge (appropriately called “The Lodge”) with a bar and a game room with pool, pinball, and ping-pong.

From what I hear, it’s a dying breed, family resorts. Nowadays (do I sound sufficiently ancient?) people prefer shorter vacations or flashy places like Disney World.

Not me. Not even close. Give me a lake, a book, and some pine trees any day of the week. Give me a card game while it rains, a raft in the sun, a boat with a slow motor. An inlet with lily pads, a path through the woods, a drink at a hole-in-the-wall bar. Give me gravel roads, leaping deer, and a long red dock stretching out into dark blue water.

I haven’t been there since I was 18. It might have changed a lot, though judging from the pictures on its web site, it hasn’t; this could be both good and horribly bad. Either way, I am excited at the chance to re-experience a beloved place. It is rare, this chance, so I plan to take full advantage. I won’t have my computer with me, since we all know that travel and laptops go together like oil and water. Any writing will be done the old-fashioned way, using my iPhone Notes app.

Here’s to summer, to warm days and cool nights. To sandy beach towels and crickets under the picnic table. I hope you find the happy places of your childhood and stay awhile.



9 responses to “Family Vacation, 1980s-style”

  1. Heather Avatar

    Have a great vacation! I hope it is all that you remember and more!

  2. Katie Null Avatar
    Katie Null

    Looking forward to tipping the raft. And having my first alcoholic drink at The Lodge!

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Oh my gosh, that’s right. Me, too, on both counts.

  3. Ginny Washburne Avatar

    Makes me want to go back to the places we went growing up- summers at Leech Lake in Minnesota as well as the Ozarks- both were family vacation resort cabins with everything you described. It’s as if all the cares in the world disappear when I’m staying in a cabin on a lake. Maybe next summer 🙂

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      My dad grew up near Leech Lake!
      Yes – I like sightseeing vacations, but nothing is more relaxing than a cabin on a lake.

  4. […] ends of things have always saddened me. My family still jokes about the car ride home from the cabin we stayed in for one week every summer–the whole way home, I cried. For five hours. Sometimes, according to my dad, I’d stop […]

  5. GraceMercyandTruth Avatar

    Is this a picture of Pleasant Lake in Wisconsin???!!!!

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Sorry for the late response; I was out of town. No–it’s Lake George in Rhinelander, WI. I’m assuming you have fond memories of WI, too? 🙂

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