Up North at the Cottage – 2012 Edition

Photo Album – Cottage June/July 2012

Jenelle and I had a few days to the two of us in late June / early July. We dropped off Eliana at my parents’ house, and we traveled up north to the family cottage. We brought the kayak along, stowed securely on top of the Prius. We didn’t foresee any kayaking opportunities at home in the near future, so we left it in a storage shed at the cottage for others to use.

We arrived on a Thursday. We realized en route that we forgot our paddles, but not to worry — we ended up renting two for the whole weekend for only $15, and they were really nice. Besides plenty of shopping, homemade breakfasts, and tasty meals at nearby restaurants, we spent most of our time kayaking. On Friday and Saturday, we visited Clear Lake, Big Arbor Vitae, and the Bittersweet Lakes Area. The last of these (Bittersweet) was the most exciting. We had to carry the kayak in between lakes to get around using portage routes provided on a map. We got video of this, so I may share that sometime soon.

On Sunday morning, I ran the Freedom 5K in St. Germain, finishing with a personal best time of 20:34. We celebrated at Paul Bunyan’s in Minocqua before heading back home.

It was a short but great time — Eliana was glad to see us when we got back, and we were thrilled to see her.

Here we go a-paddling

Eliana turned eight months old today. To learn what she’s been up to, and also to read updates from previous months, check out this page. You can sign up to receive the updates via e-mail as well.

A big thanks to my parents, who watched Eliana this afternoon so that Jenelle and I could go kayaking. We don’t recall going out last summer, and this summer will be over before we know it, so we took advantage of a beautiful day. We drove a few miles east to Lake Michigan and paddled north near Carthage College. After 20-25 minutes, we turned around and headed back to where we started. We got back in the car just as it started to rain. Lucky us. Here’s a video and a couple of photos:

Cottage Adventures 2010

Go straight to the photo album.

It was another fun trip up north.  Jenelle and I made the drive up on the afternoon of Friday, June 25. Janet & Jamie joined us on Saturday.  We spent a few days enjoying the crisp air of the northwoods before returning home on Tuesday.  If you want to know everything we did, you’ll have to drive up to the family cottage in Arbor Vitae, WI and read the log book in the desk drawer. However, I’m happy to post my favorite memories here.

Kayaking — Jenelle and I didn’t have the energy to lug our kayak all the way up north, so we rented a pretty fancy one on Saturday afternoon.  We spent a couple of hours on the water, as it was a very nice day.  Thankfully, we didn’t get too tired.

Celebrating My Birthday — After Janet & Jamie arrived, we all went to Monical’s Pizza for dinner.  I ate plenty of pizza and breadsticks.  After a round of mini-golf at Kastle Rock (which is in need of groundskeeping and other maintenance), I had just enough room for some ice cream.  I enjoyed a double-scoop of “birthday cake”-flavored ice cream, which was chocolate with bits of cake batter flavoring in it.  It was a fun night, but I was completely STUFFED when I went to sleep.

Freedom 5K — For the third year in a row, I ran the Freedom 5K in St. Germain.  I posted a short recap in the running log.  The race was on Sunday morning.  Thankfully, all the food from the night before didn’t slow me down.

Mike & Gail’s Cabin — For the first time, we visited Uncle Mike and Aunt Gail’s cabin in Mercer. They made lunch for us and took us out on a pontoon boat tour of Long Lake.  It was another beautiful day, so it was great to spend it with both family and friends.

St. Germain Fireworks — We ventured back to St. Germain in the evening for an amazing fireworks display.  Just like last year, we had great seats.

That about sums things up.  We look forward to another trip next year, when we’ll hopefully bring even more friends with us.

Adventures Up North, Part 2

From June 26-30, we ventured north to the family cottage for the second time in a month! This time, we were joined by three other couples — Mark & Heather, Rich & Maryke, and Jamie & Janet.

The photo album covers most of the stuff we did.

We went kayaking on Clear Lake on Saturday afternoon. Rich & Maryke came along. We did just fine alternating who was paddling and who was relaxing on shore. It makes me wish we had another two-person kayak. Hmmm….

Miniature golf was the big activity on Saturday night. In a match play format (four singles matches), the gentlemen managed a 3-1 victory over the ladies. It was great fun, as we had pretty much the entire course to ourselves.

On Sunday morning, Janet, Jamie, Mark, and I (Ben) ran the Freedom 5K in St. Germain. I set a new personal best, finishing in 21:12. Mark wasn’t far behind. Jamie & Janet each finished their first ever 5K, so congrats are in order for them as well. We celebrated by going to Paul Bunyan’s for breakfast after the run.

One thing that’s not in the photo album — we went back to St. Germain that night for fireworks. It was an amazingly impressive show. They seemed as good as (if not better than) the fireworks we saw in Racine on July 4.

We tried a new pizza place on Monday for dinner – the Minocqua Pizza Co., which is outside of town (south of the bridge). Not bad.

The weather was a bit cool for late June. On Monday night, before heading out for one last fishing trip on Little Muskie Lake, Jamie and I bundled up in some old clothes we found in a closet in the cottage (there is a picture of it in the album). We didn’t catch that many fish, but we still had fun.

I’m not sure if we’re heading back up to the cottage again this summer, but if we do, I know it’ll be a blast.

Kayaking in Lake Minocqua

The above map shows the journey we made on Saturday, June 6. We left from a dock at the south end of town (green dot) and headed east. We saw some ducks and a loon near a small island.

To get a better view of the downtown area, we headed west and went underneath Highway 51. We veered north from there. I noticed the area where the Min-Aqua Bats water ski show is usually held. I called the rest of the family and told them to meet us there. That’s when I got the great picture below.

We spent over an hour on the water — I’m glad it stayed warm just long enough for Jenelle and me to enjoy some quality kayaking time.

Hilton Head: May 16-23

Now available are pictures from our trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. There were tons of things that made this vacation so great.

Big Family Fun
Eight of us went on this trip. Dad, Mom, Andrew, Holly, Ella, Lily, Benj, Jenelle. I put together a document in advance so that we could track everyone’s flights and keep tabs on everyone en route. We all arrived without difficulty, got two rental vehicles (one car, one van), and made the one-hour drive from the Savannah (Georgia) airport to Hilton Head. Instead of staying at a hotel, we rented a five-bedroom house in Palmetto Dunes. Any fears that we’d be cramped for space quickly disappeared when we first toured the house. Lots of space for everyone. We also enjoyed the movie theater in the basement.

The Beach
There were only two significant beach visits on our trip, but they were both wonderful. The first time out, I rented a boogie board to relive the surfing lessons I took in Hawaii a couple of years ago. Both Jenelle and I tried it out with mixed results. The waves weren’t quite as big as we needed, and the board was obviously smaller than a surfboard. Still, we had fun. It was also fun to hang out and play with Ella and Lily along the shoreline.

Tons of food. Pizza two or three times. Panera. Outback. Chick Fil-A. Top-notch breakfasts made by Dad. I had to run every other day just to maintain my weight. 🙂

I haven’t played golf in quite a while. Thanks to some rental clubs, I played two rounds of golf. I don’t recall what my exact scores were, but I know I did much better at the Arthur Hills course on Wednesday than I did at the Robert Jones course on Monday. One memorable event was a shot of mine that landed on a pile of sod with a thud — there’s a picture of it in the album. On Friday, I didn’t play, but Andrew shot an amazing 75 at the Fazio course.

Jenelle and I played tennis for an hour — I think it was on Thursday. Neither of us had hit a ball in a while. The tennis balls we bought make great souvenirs, as they have the Palmetto Dunes logo on them.

The weather kept us from kayaking as much as we wanted, but Jenelle and I did manage to get out once on Friday. For a change of pace, we each rented our own kayaks instead of paddling in one together. We were out on the water for over an hour, enjoying every moment.

Mom, Jenelle, Holly, and the girls went to a store at a nearby mall that lets you paint/glaze a variety of clay objects. You can check out the finished designs at the end of the photo album. I think all of their projects turned out great!

If I think of more great stuff about our trip, you’ll probably see another post about it. Also, Andrew & Holly took tons of photos as well, so I’ll let you know when their site has been updated.