I made it my goal this year to work hard enough to be able to spend even more time at the lake. I succeeded in reaching my goal and have been lucky to spend a lot of the Summer in the place I love the most. I was back in the NorthWoods for an extended stay in May, June and July, and this time there was A LOT less snow on the ground. Summer has arrived in the Northwoods and I have been loving my time there.
As you may or may not recall, I wrote another blog post called “All The Northwoods Feels” after my last extended trip back in January when the landscape looked a lot different. It was a great post about all the fun winter activities and food I ate while enjoying the beauty of the Winter Woods. If you didn’t read that post you can READ IT HERE . While the Winter is amazing, Summer Up North brings with a whole other set of special experiences for me and my family. It seems that every year our list of things we want to do grows longer and longer. While we manage to accomplish SOME of our Summer Bucket List, the lure of relaxing days on the porch, floating in the lake and fishing sometimes derails our plans to be more adventurous.
I am proud to say that since things have thawed out, my family and I have managed to have a few new experiences.
We kicked of Summer as most families do on Memorial Day weekend. Typically we spend a lot of our days doing work around the compound, but we make time for fun. This trip, Original Tipsy and I spent a girls day exploring Rhinelander, WI which is about an hour away from my parent’s home in Watersmeet. What started as a typical trip to Menard’s turned into a day of new discoveries. The first place we stopped was at Rhinelander Brewery Tap Room in downtown Rhinelander. We have always enjoyed the Rhinelander Shorty’s at the bowling alley in Land O’ Lakes and at The Gateway Lodge, so when I saw that they had a tap room, I knew we had to go. The place was super cute and the staff was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
The Tap Room had the Northwoods feel that you are looking for when vacationing Up North but it was just different enough to feel special if you live there. Original Tipsy and I decided to share a flight of their beers and we had fun tasting and deciding which ones we liked best.
We also loved the tray the flight was served on. We bought a bunch of hard sodas and a growler of the flight we liked the best and we headed out to explore more of Rhinelander.
Just next store to the Tap Room was a super cute shop that was definitely geared more towards the ladies, called Tricia’s Treasures. When you walk in a stunning tree sits in the center of the store, lit up with what seems like thousands of lights. Magical!
Tricia’s Treasures featured an awesome coffee bar. Iced Coffee is just what we needed after all that beer. We sipped our coffees while we perused this cute shop that had home decor, candles, accessories and some of the cutest clothes I have ever seen. This place is a must for a girls day out. I wanted to buy everything, but I settled for a unique rope necklace and a cute new headband.
As we were leaving the cashier suggested that we take a walk down the street to a new cupcake shop that had opened. You didn’t need to tell us twice. We walked up the street and found the place she was talking about called BC Cupcakes. It was later in the day and the cupcakes were mostly sold out, a good sign in my opinion. But we were able to each get a cupcake and it was delicious. I can’t wait to go back. I will just make sure to go earlier in the day.
While we enjoyed our day in the “city” it was just enough time away from home that we were ready to go back to Watersmeet and enjoy some nature.
Another trip to town was made during the week, this time to Land O’ Lakes. One of our favorite spots to visit no matter the season is TJ Grizzlies. I know that I have written about our favorite pizza place countless times, but it wouldn’t be a trip to the Northwoods without getting our Grizzlies Pizza fix. After our pizza we decided to rewards ourselves for finishing a whole pie with some dessert.
Just next door to Grizzlies is yet another experience I had yet to have, getting ice cream from the famous Dari Maid in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. The Dari Maid is a 1950’s style walk up ice cream and snack shack located right in the downtown area of Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. I can’t believe after all the years of coming here that I had never been. It is so cute and the savory food items looked fantastic. Having filled up on pizza, we were there only for dessert. I decided on the Maple Syrup Sundae with Vanilla Ice Cream. The Maple Syrup was made locally and it was so good it had me wondering why I had never thought to put maple syrup on ice cream before. While we were eating our treats we saw a few deer peeking at us out of the woods.It was fun to sit and watch the families come with kids excited for a Summer treat.
It’s hard for me to put into words what you feel when you visit Grizzlies and Dari Maid. I liken it to stepping back in time where life was much simpler. The pizza place is made up of about 8 tables with plastic checkered table cloths, and the smell is like heaven. There is absolutely no wifi in town so as you eat your pizza you are surrounded by families actually talking to one another while enjoying their pizza. The Dari Maid evokes the same feelings. It’s heartwarming to see kids actually excited that they are about to get a treat and not staring down at their ipads. I love to visit not just for the great food and now for the ice cream but for the feeling you get just by being there.
Summer is also one of the most special times for the most important people in our family, the dogs. We are a dog family of four. Original Tipsy has two labs. I have an older golden retriever and a rescue dog named Gus who looks a lot more like a pot bellied pig than a dog. I believe the dogs enjoy the lake even more than we do. They enjoy swimming, boating, lounging on the porches , long walks through the woods and rides on the mule.
When we are up for Memorial Day we always celebrate my Golden’s Birthday. This year it was his 11th! We go all out with steaks, cakes and party hats galore. A good time is had by all!
I know at the end of the day when I see these guys snoring loudly it makes me feel so happy inside. Our dogs are all rescue dogs, and it’s a feel good moment to know that although they came from RUFF starts, they are now living their best lives.
The humans in my family also enjoy the outdoors. Swimming, Golfing, and Fishing if it’s outside we’re doing it. My favorite time of day is late in the evening when we pour a fresh drink and head out on the boat. If you have never been Up North the size of the sky is something that will surprise you. I know that may sound like an odd thing to say, but sitting on a boat in the middle of the lake you cannot imagine how BIG the sky looks and how small you feel. It is truly something that leaves you speechless.
I probably have 897 pictures of sunsets from the back of the boat but I never grow tired of seeing them or taking pictures. When I am back in the city, surrounded by buildings and street lights I love looking at the pictures and looking forward to my next trip.
It is hard to choose which season is the best, they all have their charm. There is nothing like being cozy by a fireplace while the snow falls outside, but there is also nothing like sitting outside on a lazy Summer night by a campfire. Doesn’t a cold beer just taste better when you’re sitting by a campfire?
Memories are being made this Summer for sure.
I hope you are enjoying your Summer wherever you are. I will be back with some more fun tales from the Northwoods soon!