Sunday, January 23, 2011

Northwoods dream

You can't beat home for a good vista
 We hopped into the car at 5am Saturday and drove north in darkness for three hours toward Minocqua, WI.  We were greeted by our realtor, a great gal with high hair and a big heart at the gas station at the corner of 51 and K.  She jumped out of her car with open arms and an embrace at our first meeting…familiar and friendly in contrast to Madison’s smiling cool and careful.   She brought her husband to help read the GPS and shovel us in to the six properties we arranged to see.  Turns out my peeps are up nort'.  What’s the Norwegian word for “mensch”?

How I wished this could have been a lager at lunch

Helmet table by the trail map.  Drain one or two and it's off to the next bar en route. Sure, feels totally safe.
Our search for a lake house has begun.  I’ve wrestled with location, location, location for a couple of years and come to the conclusion that a house in the middle of East Jabip, cheap and peaceful as it might be, is not where I want to spend my weekends and summer vacations.   Packing groceries and toilet paper for a trip to the lake house is not relaxing.  It’s camping.  And so the busy and developed Northwoods town of Minocqua will serve as anchor for our search.  I’ve let the lake house move into the place in my heart long reserved for my Jersey shore house--no longer a practical goal.  Too far and too beastly a drive.  I’m over it. Snooki, Pauly D and the gang in Seaside Heights will have to fill any remaining void.

Snowmobilers in January : Boaters in ___________
Winter sports are about as popular as summer sports in northern Wisconsin.  The Thirsty Whale had a full and happy bar full of snowmobilers and had it not been for the helmet table and jumpsuits it would have been hard to distinguish the patrons from those on a summer Saturday.   We ate lunch, a Wisconsin po’boy made with fried perch, overlooking Lake Minocqua as snowmobiles zoomed by at top speeds. 
As one would suspect, I now want a snowmobile.

I asked the realtor if these were rentals, to which she gently explained as one might to a child
that no, these were actually driven to and parked at the restaurant.  Newbie miscalculation.

In continuous prep for my northwoods recreational life, I'm working on my cross-country skiing.  Today I set out for one rigorous loop of the golf course, Pleasant View, which is aptly named.  There are some pleasant views atop hills that are a bit tough to get on top of in golf shoes, let alone skis.  My XC skiing is improving especially on the downhills which have kicked my ass until now. All credit goes to my friends Amy and Ann for impressing upon me the need to lean forward on the fronts of my feet and also for acknowledging that free boot heels feel like skiing on spaghetti noodles.  Only one topple today while standing still, as is customary of my style.  I’ve just got to keep moving.


  1. Wow, up north? Not in Alabama or Florida? You are a warm blooded girl! Good luck on your new second home, only do not become one of THEM -- the snow mobilers. Stay with the skis. Us slow moving types and the animals of the woods will love you even more for it.

  2. I'm already shopping for da perfect nort' woods housewarming gift. :D And will you please XC ski with me and help me learn? I'll come to you, you can come up here... I'm dying to get started!

  3. @Susan-- Julie will be jonesin' for a moose-themed boot rack in no time (if she doesn't already have one) Natalie

  4. Yes, all moose and wolf themes throughout the house. I'm going for the Stony Creek hotel look!

  5. Julie, did you buy?????? More info needed! NOW!

  6. Please do not get a snowmobile, Mom. They are dangerous. A nice little boat will be much better.