Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published June 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

Cabins create lasting memories

Gone fishin'

Brenda Cooke of Duluth submitted this photo of her husband fishing with their two grandsons on Memorial Day weekend 2007. “We had just had some dirt work done at our cabin so this helped keep the kids out of the mud. It was raining but they didn’t care! Both boys — Chase and his big brother, Payton — caught their first fish off this dock.”

Feeling the wind in their fur

Our pugs Bob and Daisy love going for rides on the four-wheeler with their human dad, Mark Petersen. In the background is Strand Lake in Cotton, where we have a cabin. The dogs absolutely can’t contain themselves when Mark asks them if they want to go for a ride! There are two deep pockets in the back of the four-wheeler bag that they sit in as they head down the road and into the woods!

Submitted by Elizabeth Petersen of Cloquet.

First boat ride

At 2 months old, Cooper Romundstad enjoyed going to Nana and Papa’s lake for Memorial Day weekend. It finally got nice enough to take him outside and he took his first pontoon ride. We discovered he really likes the boat — he started the trip crying but once we started moving he calmed down and slept the whole ride! Here he is enjoying his first boat ride with Papa Craig Oakland on Linwood Lake.

Submitted by Carrie Romundstad of Twig.

Our fairy tale cabin wedding

My favorite cabin memory would have to be our wedding day. My husband’s parents, Susie and Ricky Borich, have a cabin on Dinham Lake in Melrude, Minn.

John Borich proposed to me in May 2008 and we told Ricky and Susie we wanted our special day at a special place, the cabin. Six weeks later Susie had thousands of flowers blooming all over the cabin yard and down the staircase that leads to the lake. In addition, Susie and Ricky created a homemade arbor of diamond willow, grapevines and flowers for us to say our vows beneath. It looked like a picture from heaven. Cabin neighbors brought more flowers to add to the “Garden of Eden.”

We had outdoor tiki torches to use for our unity candle, and our guests were set for the event sitting on lawn chairs while sipping homemade lemonade and Grandpa Geno’s Veno.

John rode into the ceremony on the family paddle boat while fishing with his best man and his friend.

My parents, Jerry and Kathy Maki, surprised us with a string quartet that played music from “Legends of the Fall” as the wedding party — our brothers, sisters-in-law and friends — walked to the shoreline. Our princess niece, Mya, was the flower girl and wore fuzzy yellow flip flops while tossing petals down the stairs to the lake.

During the ceremony we could gaze over the lake and hear the wind in the trees and the light rain on the lake. A single loon swimming out on the lake made a call just as we said “I do.”

The cabin has always been a special place for my husband. It’s a place of peace and enjoyment; a sanctuary to make lasting family memories. Now the cabin will always remain these things but it has an extra meaning to us. It will always be the place where we started our own fairytale.

Submitted by Melissa Borich of Hermantown and North Branch, Minn.

Rustic North Shore memories

The annual trip to Emil Edisen’s “Campers Home, Furnished Cabins,” as the sign read*. “Drop in, Look ’em over” at the bottom of the sign with a later addition of “modern” after running water and indoor toilets were added.

It was the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s on the North Shore. Affordable, rustic, Spartan cabins populated by hay fever sufferers, families, honeymooners and retired folk. No televisions or Jacuzzis; just the radio brought along to have some news and “Gunsmoke.”

Originally, everyone had iceboxes and wood stoves. In the evenings people gathered “down on the rocks” to visit, build cobblestone pyramids, only to throw pebbles and knock them down, and have a bonfire. Agate hunting was a daily adventure. It was quiet, respectful, enduring.

Our cabin, No. 11 of 24, was small and near the water, of course. My father paid in cash; at some point $25 a week, dearly saved, to leave enough for a hamburger at Oscar’s Lunch in Two Harbors or the Gooseberry refectory.

“A cabin is something to look out of.” — Patricia Hampl.

*Campers Home became Linden’s in 1969, Star Harbor in 1983 and Grand Superior Lodge in the late 1990s.

Submitted by Gretchen Heath of Plymouth, Minn., and seasonally in Duluth.

Dozens of cousins

My mom’s family has owned a cabin on Maple Leaf Lake near Alborn since 1956. As a child in the late 1970s and ’80s, my family would travel to the cabin from Montana and visit my grandmother from Duluth, my aunts, uncles and cousins. We went swimming, hiking, water skiing, fishing, boating and “surfed” on a board behind the motor boat. We made a lot of ’smores and “hobo stew.” We even had a church service in the field near our cabin on Sundays. We built a pulpit, had a sermon, passed out flowers, played music and took a collection. The money was split among the cousins and then we walked to a little store on the lake to buy treats!

In 1999, we tore down the old cabin, which had been taken over by mice, and built a new cabin, which we call the Looney Bin — not because we are crazy, we just love everything about loons. We have a family reunion picnic each summer and have had four generations of relatives there at the same time.

Our family has grown, and now my cousins and siblings have their own children. It’s a joy to have them around. The “older cousins” lifeguard the “little cousins” like our parents, aunts and uncles did for us in years gone by. We added a paddle boat, work on scrapbooking, decorate cakes, have kids’ crafts and make family reunion T-shirts. We love making shish-kabobs almost every night for dinner! Cabin time has become a great tradition for our family — 53 years and going strong!

For the past five summers, we have enjoyed watching loon chicks grow up over the summer, thanks to a guy who built a floating nesting platform. We enjoy going around the lake in the paddle boat and taking pictures of them. We are still building memories with our dozens of cousins who travel from Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, Colorado and Washington.

Submitted by Dana Rae Barr of Alborn.

Four-wheeling fun

My favorite thing to do at Grandma and Boppa’s cabin is to go four-wheeling. We go fast sometimes. My brother is bigger now so we can all go together. Sometimes we stop so I can pick flowers. I really like going to the cabin!

Submitted by Avery Waller, 7, of Duluth.

Family cabin hosts many memories

My family has had a cabin on Island Lake since I was 3. The cabin was my grandmother Florence’s (Johnson). She loved being there and we loved being there with her on the weekends.

My twin sister, Emily, and I would swim in the lake pretty much all day. In summer 1988 the water didn’t come up enough so we could swim. Instead, we had fun playing in the weeds that grew where water should’ve been.

Every summer we’d take walks down the road and try to see wild flowers and animals, or find agates. Over the years we “city girls” learned to water ski and how to fish. It was a great escape in the summer.

At the cabin we learned to play lots of fun card games such as Nertz and my dad taught me how to play cribbage. There’s always something to do, something to see. You’ll never be bored at our cabin.

Recently there have been changes to the cabin to adapt to our growing family. We no longer have to run to the outhouse in the middle of the night or take a cold shower outside because we finally have a bathroom! My twin sister and I shared our birthday (June 23) with Grandma so it was a great place to celebrate it!

Sadly Grandma passed away in April 2006, so this will be our fourth summer without her. I’ll never forget those times at the cabin with Grandma. We all miss her but I know my dad misses her the most. Luckily, we have the cabin to go to so we can never forget her.

Submitted by Amanda Wirta of Grand Rapids.

Communing with nature

I’ve traveled many places in my lifetime and the past several decades have passed quickly. Yet, in all my travels my sense of place and belonging in the real world is attached to our family cabin.

As a boy, I tramped the woods. We were on an island so I never was lost for too long and my dog was always a willing companion. One summer I raised a pair of sparrow hawks. Another summer I adopted a raccoon. In the hindsight of adulthood, I do not condone raising wild animals, but I am grateful for that experience.

When I wasn’t on a woodland adventure, I would be paddling my canoe. I badgered my father into acquiring a canoe until he relented and purchase a canoe hulk. My dad taught me to shape the gunwales, replicate and copper clinch the missing pieces. I have since restored a wood and canvas Peterborough canoe, and built a floating duct-tape kayak with my son.

At 18, I decided to purchase one of my dad’s properties up north. The particular piece was tertiary forest, primarily maple, basswood and black ash. I learned to tell the coming of spring by the calling of owls, the rise of sap in the maple trees and scarlet waxy caps near dark pools of water among patches of snow.

I no longer have that property. I carry with me many cabin memories of family, friends, flowers, fungi and woodland creatures. On my last day there I came across a sleeping fawn. I waited, taking this shot as he popped his head through the grass.

Submitted by James D. Olson of Duluth.