Okay, It’s Not Italy. But, I Love The Northwoods All The Same.

I have captured only the briefest glimpse into the week I just spent in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin. Right by Minocqua.

How can I let you feel the icy lake water on your sun doused skin?

How can I let you hear the rustle of the leaves over the aspens, birches and white pines?

How can I describe the taste of the wintergreen berries which have just been picked on an island?

How can I show you the anxiety the mother loon felt as I paddled too close to her nest, so that she flattened her body over her eggs, and when that didn’t send me on my way, she puffed herself up like a blow fish and glared at me sideways?

Here is the cabin we rent, which was built in the 1930’s (beautiful accommodations you can tell):

However to find it, one must follow road signs such as these (because, apparently, all you need for the name of a road in the North woods is an initial consonant):

Of course, these signs serve practically as a full address:

But, it’s all worth it when I can sit here:


and look at this:
Or, if it rains, as it did Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I can read on the screened in porch like this:

I am reading Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen (what an awesome book!) and then I beganThe Adventures of Kavalier and Clay for the book club session I’m leading in July. I will post on the first novel tomorrow, or when the laundry gets down, whichever comes first.

At any rate, I hope you can feel, even if only a little bit, how beautiful the North woods are…and Les, I thought of you as I kayaked all over Big Crooked Lake.

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24 thoughts on “Okay, It’s Not Italy. But, I Love The Northwoods All The Same.”

  1. Thank you, my friend. I wouldn't have missed commenting on your blog if any of the islands had internet access. However, as you could see, there aren't even fully articulated road signs where I was! One must bring one's books with them, which is probably why I could never live there full time.Anyway, your job conundrum is in my prayer list, and won't it be a fine day when it's all resolved? It's always darker before the dawn, and all that, although at the time it sure would be nice to have a flashlight.

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  2. Oh wow! What a beautiful place. Do y'all go there often? Those pictures are wonderful and it sounds like it was a very serene break. It looks like a little slice of heaven. It's good to have you back, though I'm sure you wouldn't have minded a few more days 😉 And we got you back a day earlier than you said you'd be back!

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  3. Chris, we can never go as often as I would like. Since 1998 I've only gone six times. Last year, my son had a wrestling tournament in Disney World for which we had to forfeit the cabin as they were the same week. Let me post sometime about my feelings of fake, loud, noisy Disney vs. natural, quiet, peaceful woods. Nevermind, I think I expressed my opinion. I'm glad you, too, think it's wonderful; my husband is not of that same frame of mind. He likes the woods, but he'd prefer a marble bathroom.Cupcake, where do you go? (I didn't mean to be offensive about Highway Initial Consonant in my post. It just hits my funnybone being used to Chicago ways.)

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  4. There is a resort in Northern Bay where my in-laws are putting all of us up (aka The Hostage Situation). Fingers crossed that we're near the Ho Chunk, because I want to win a "ho chunk" of change! (I love those ads.)And I'm with you on the highway names. Are there only 26 in Wisconsin??

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  5. Cupcake, I've never seen those ads for Ho Chunk, but then again, I'm not a gambling type of person so I wouldn't have noticed. Imagine my dismay when I went to the North woods for its rustic qualities, and discover that Bill Engvall (whom I think is quite funny, but still) is performing at the casino in Lac du Flambeau? On June 30! How rustic is that? It's so commercial it makes me ill; I could stay in Chicago if I want to go to comedy clubs. Of course, probably the poor entertainment starved people up North are dying for his arrival.The Hostage Situation is a great term. I find myself held hostage quite often. Although not by in-laws, thank goodness. The best to you in your travels. I hope you win a ho chunk. You're braver than I to try!

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  6. Tanabata, I was just mulling over the trip…where normally I come home completely at peace, this time is different. Perhaps because it's that I'm facing all the laundry, the endless pile of mail, the phone calls to be returned. But, I suspect, that deep down in my heart I hold too high of an expectation for what I love, and when it doesn't measure up I'm disappointed. This time, the four days of rain put a bit of a damper on it all. So to speak. Bookfool, you would love it! It's definitely a reader's paradise, and I'm sure that you would take such breath taking picutres if you were there. You ARE the Queen of Nature Photography. As mentioned in the blogosphere lately. 🙂

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  7. Bellezza, you did a great job of capturing the feel with your awesome pictures.I just checked the map to see if your lake was close to where we would be the 1st week in July. It's a little south. We'll be on Hiway 2 through Wisconsin and northern Michigan.I'm excited to say that we'll be in Chicago the fisrt of August. What do you suggest we see? I've already got the stuff in downtown. I guess what I really need is a good bookstore, cemetery, park, library, etc. that's off the beaten track. Also, any restaurant suggestions would be greatly appreciated. It looks like a remarkable city from what I've studied already.

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  8. What a beautiful place! It looks totally peaceful and relaxing! My vacation this year will be to Disney World with 3 kids! I'll be needing a vacation from my vacation by the time I get back!! Welcome Home!

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  9. Good to have you back!Those are some amazing pictures. I feel relaxed just by looking at them. I can only imagine how wonderful being there must be.I will be reading "The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" soon too, as it's one of my picks for the Book Awards challenge. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it!

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  10. Booklogged, I'm so happy you're going up North too! I hope you love it as much as I. Your questions about Chicago are so interesting, that I am putting together a post of my favorite Chicago places/things to do. I'll do it in a day or so, so that you'll have time to consider what I suggest before your trip.Stephanie, Disney? Shoot me now. We went last year, at the same time we normally go to Wisconsin, and I could not abide the noise, crowds, and fake-ness (is that a word?) that encompasses Disney. It's fun for about two hours, then I need to take some Vicodin. Or something. It's good that you're going with three kids because it's always more fun with children in my opinion. They, at least, have a sense of awe about Disney creations. Unlike this jaded blogger. :)Nymeth, I'm so glad you like the pictures! It's fun that you're reading The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay as well; I started it once years ago, and put it down in distaste, but now I'm really enjoying it. It must be one of those books which requires the right time and the right place to enjoy. We'll have fun discussing it, I'm sure.

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  11. You allow us to experience what you experienced simply by knowing that you had a wonderful time. I'm so glad you did and am glad you were able to begin your summer this way.

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  12. Gentle Reader, the wintergreen berries are little red berries which grow close to the ground. An older woman, who's much more familiar with the North woods than I, showed me where to find them one year. When you bite into them (they're about the size of a blueberry) the skin splits apart and there is a white center (similar to the texture of watermelon) inside. They taste EXACTLY like wintergreen mints or gum. It's very fun to bite them after we boat to the island to find them. I suppose they're only around in June; I've never looked for them in later months though.Carl, I'm sad that I couldn't end the Once Upon A Challenge with greater aplomb (being away from my computer as I was). I read three fantasy books of Madeleine L'Engle's, The Rest Falls Away (but I'm not sure that qualifies as Fantasy since I found it in the Romance section; however, vampires could qualify, right?), and parts of Women Who Run With The Wolves: Myths and Stories of The Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Estes. I wanted to write a hundred word story, but I just ran out of time with closing school and getting up North. Like I said on your blog, though, the Challenge was really fun for me; I think the best part was the communication with other bloggers you helped establish so astutely.

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  13. Oh! Bellezza! These are marvelous photographs. The one of the dock is almost identical to one I took of our dock on Lake Vermillion, Minnesota where we spent a week at Ludlow's Resort. Actually, all of your pictures look like they came from my photo album! Oh, it makes me want to go back so desperately, if only to hear those loons once again.I keep hearing great things about Water for Elephants. May just have to snag a copy for my trip next month!Hmm, perhaps you and I and Bookfool should go to Ludlow's or your retreat instead of Italy. At least for our first trip! ;)Welcome home, dear friend!

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  14. Les, would you be bored if I posted more pictures? I'm half kidding; there are so many beautiful scenes I'd love to share. I can tell you love the woods as much as I love them. This trip was a bit dampened by my son's attitude (he wouldn't canoe with me, but preferred to be with the other teens, for which I don't blame him. But, one or two rides? That couldn't have killed him.) So, if you and Bookfool will canoe with me, I say we plan a Minnesota trip. I'll post on Water for Elephants tomorrow.

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  15. YES! More pictures, please. As many as you like. Won't bore me one bit!I'm sorry your son was a poop about paddling with you. Men! Harrumpf!

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  16. I'm sure I'd love it. The place almost has a familiar look to it – much like the cabins where we stayed as children (in Colorado, though, so they were surrounded by mountains). Thanks, you're too kind. I think your photos are every bit as good as anything I've ever taken. I'd definitely have a field day with the camera, though, if I ever made it there!!

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