R&R in the Northland

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life42 Comments


This past weekend, the Zielskes took a somewhat spur of the moment trip up to our family cabin in Lake Shore Village, just outside of Nisswa, Minn. Dan's grandparents lived in this quaint little house on Gull Lake for years, and Dan has as many years of fond summer memories spent here.


I didn't grow up on lakes. I also didn't grow up going to Northern Minnesota. And I didn't grow up doing anything remotely woodsy either. I stayed indoors with my sweet mother, where we just avoided insects and sleeping near nature of any sort.

Many weekends that Dan heads up north, I stay home. It's not that I don't like my relatives. I do. I adore them. They are the most amazing family you could ever hope to marry into. But I'm one of those sorts who avoids crowds whenever possible, and on major holiday weekends, you never know if there's a bed for your head, and for me that's a bit of a stressor.

But this past weekend, Dan's sister Debbie was headed up with my cute nephew Nick, and his girlfriend, and said, "Cathy, it's going to be quiet weekendโ€ฆwhy don't you come up?"

Combine that with the forecasted highs of lower 70s and no humidity? It was a no brainer.

And it was the nicest weekend I've had in a long time.

We played games at night, like Mad Gab and Balderdash. Notice the intense concentration of the teams on boys versus girls:

(Yes, Cole finds he plays better while wearing a helmut. One can never be too cautious!)


We admired Great Grandma Boeder's massive costume jewelry collection:

We went into Nisswa for pizza at Raffertys, some general shop browsing and a round of mini golf at Pirate's Cove. And, Dan channeled his inner Bret Michaels:

Despite the unseasonably cool weather, there was still time for outdoor fun:


Even I got into the nature spirit by taking my coffee on the deck.



And we did some good old fashioned bonding:


And one of the best parts about going up north? Men doing dishes.


Note to self: we need to get away more often. It's good for the collective souls to get away from city life. I'm certain I grow mentally with every trip up there. I think I can prove it by the fact that I only Tweeted two or three times.

That's what I call being in touch with Nature.

Cathy ZielskeR&R in the Northland

42 Comments on “R&R in the Northland”

  1. #2
    Tamie Spears

    Oh, Cathy – I LOVE your blog. You always put a smile on my face. The photo and comment about channeling Bret Michaels made me crack up (yes, I was a HUGE Poison fan and still own several cassettes)! Thanks for a good Monday morning.

  2. #3
    Briana N.

    Ah, Rafferty’s pizza…we have a cabin near yours and we’ve frequented Pirate’s Cove as well! (Have you tried the veggie alfredo pizza at Rafferty’s??) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. #6

    Looks like the family had a great weekend! I agree with Tamie – the Veggie Alfredo at Rafferty’s is my fave! Thanks for sharing your weekend with us!

  4. #7

    lake life looks fabulous… grew up on a lake in Michigan, it brings back great memories. Love that Bret Michaels look-a-like shot of Dan.. hilarious. Tena

  5. #8

    I love the pic of you on the deck…represents serenity. You know the kind of just a few minutes of silence (or as much silence you can get outside), a good cup of coffee and fresh air. I am inspired to go sit on my patio! ;o)

  6. #10

    Love that the boys all have the same expression on their face… their mouths are all the same. Now that is team work. Looks like you had a fabulous time..

  7. #11

    Not that I have anything against the men doing the dishes (believe me!) but why is it that cabins so rarely have actual dishwashers?

  8. #12

    Great photos! Remember, just because the kids get dirty doesn’t mean you have to, LOL!

    There’s dirt, but it’s manageable. The place you stayed looks gorgeous!!

  9. #13

    Love your photos, especially the first one. Looks like you and the family had a great time. My family is headed to a beach house in Michigan next week. Can’t wait. BTW, Dan looks hot in his Bret Michaels look alike garb. Hope you have a great day!

  10. #14

    Great photos of what sounds like a great weekend. And can I just say that Dan is quite the cute man? Of course I am a sucker for men who wash dishes, but still. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. #15
    katie scott

    pictures of cole on the dock w/ champion arms & cole jumping in & getting him mid jump – WOW – awesome stuff.

    picture of the boys playing board games – looks like it could be the ad for an indie film or something funny (but where something tragic happens but then in the end its all good because everyone loves each other – maybe like little miss sunshine or something or juno or something with that lady from fargo) with really quirky characters.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ katie.

  12. #16

    That first picture — that is some seriously strong genes going on between Dan, his nephew and Cole.

  13. #17

    Oh Cathy…you just succeeded in making me super super homesick for out family cottage in Northern Ontario! I am like Dan…such great memories of summer on the lake, eating popsicles on the dock, diving off the rock, building card houses by the fire, playing triominos after dark and day trips to the nearby town for used books!

    Think I might just go scrapbook these memories right now!

  14. #18

    What a great post! Thanks for letting us into your weekend. I’m so jealous of your weekend cabin getaway. Glad you had such a good time.

  15. #19
    Denise L.

    We love it up there too! And this summer has been exceptional with the beautiful weather and the lack of bugs, except for the fireflies which are always welcome…

  16. #21

    Love this post Cathy…I consider myself a “flat lander” “city dweller” but I’m so tired of shopping…especially since downsizing our home…ugh! When my dad retired from the Army we were living overseas in Panama and we “ended” up in cold New Hampshire…yuck! Didn’t like the moutains, bugs, cold…I could go on and on…the only good thing about NH was we lived in the lakes region and had family with cabins on the lake for summer tons of fun. As I get older I find myself liking “nature”…not the down and dirty stuff…just the views, vistas and peacefullness:} I’m even impressed w’Kelly Rae’s VM camper bus…but don’t see me sleeping in one any time soon…lol Looking so forward to another weekend here in NC in the mountains “bonding” with my DH. Have a great week! Roberta

  17. #22

    That is truly my dream – to someday have a vacation cabin my kids can enjoy. Serious dream I have. And I love the Dan/jewelry pic – so I have to tell you: we’d just moved to this neighborhood, and my daughter was in 1st grade, in Brownies, and they had a father/daughter pirate dance. So were were scurrying around to get something together for them to wear, and we pulled out my grandma’s costume jewelry box, looking for a *pirate* earring for DH. We tried a few…nothing seemed right…and then the phone rang and they were invited to go out to dinner with some other Brownies before the dance. DH did NOT want to go, he didn’t know anyone, but for our girlie, he went. They took their “costumes” in a sack, and went to eat, then hit the dance. Only after they were at the dance, and he was struggling to make small talk did he reach up and notice…he had my grandma’s lovely little rhinestone screw-on earring on. He’d worn it all through dinner, meeting theses guys for the first time. Nice. He was so embarassed. We laughed until we cried. Nice first impression.

  18. #23

    Wonderful photos and post – I love your thoughtfulness and sense of fun! And that picture of you and Dan is very tender. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you had such a delightful time.

  19. #24
    Jeanne Pellerin

    Hey, next time you head up there, gimme a call and I’ll come along. It’s really only a hop, skip and a jump from New Iberia, Louisiana, right?

  20. #25
    creole wisdom

    I could not agree more! I am from the metro, on the msp side ;p, and I love going “up north.” It’s one of the best parts of summer. However, it DOES rival very closely with snowy thanksgivings I spent up on Madeline Island as a kid with my dad driving across the ice of lake superior. yeah. Only in MN! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. #26

    That costume jewelry collection looks awesome! They’re so much more fun when it comes from someone you know or are related to. Love wearing vintage for that reason – the wondering where it’s been, what it’s seen. Some gorgeous shots, hope you have fun scrapping with them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. #27
    Melissa Green

    ahhhh! lol at so many of these pics!! the opening shot with Cole is a classic! not to mention the helmet shot, and Dan with the Bret Michaels doo ~ I just LOVE you guys! every single one of ya’s!!!!
    – melissa

  23. #29
    Shannon in WA

    LOVE the helmet on Cole. My seven year-old wears his frequently and sometimes we have to ask him remove it before we go places. You know, so people won’t think he needs it.

  24. #31

    What a wonderful holiday! The scenery rivals what we have down here in New Zealand – come and have a look sometime!!:-)

  25. #32

    Hi Cathy…my cousins live on Gull Lake and it is the most incredibly beautiful place I’ve ever seen (I’m from Texas)! You should definitely go more often!

  26. #33
    kim smart

    I always end up with a smile on my face after reading your blog! Love the pictures of family, especially Dan with the earring! and with the Brett Michaels garb! too funny! looks like a great time was had by all.

  27. #34

    Hi Cathy! Thanks for sharing… I just got back from a family vacation and it feels good to spend so much time together, doesn’t it? Sometimes we seem to forget…
    I met your friend Tara during our trip. We hired her for a family photo shoot. Can’t wait to see the pictures!!! My husband loved the experience so much he says he wants to do it once a year now! LOL!

  28. #35

    There is nothing like the smell of fresh pine to clear your head, I need to plan a trip home to Bemidji, soon! And stop at Buffalo Plaid on the way up, and perhaps the Chocolate Moose….

  29. #36
    Joy M.

    You have given me the kick in the butt to get going on our mini break from the norm. We live in the boonies ourselves so it isn’t the city life we’re escaping. It’s just the getting away and bonding time we’re seeking. You see, you can get caught up with all kinds of stuff even in the boonies, and we can all use the mental/emotional break that getting away provides. Now to see if we can borrow a neighbor’s tent which will hold the three of us AND our two Weimaraners!….

  30. #38

    love the pics! oh, and on the weight loss front i love, love, love p90x (workout dvds) i swear by them because i have seen a change in my body already and it’s been two weeks. also, i eat “good” most of the time but i never say no to any one food cause then i just want it more…moderation i say!!!!!

  31. #39

    OMG- Cathy that picture just sent me into a flashback. My Mom used to have that SAME jewelry box….the pink one in the corner of the pics…the one with all the gold designs in squares.

    That brings back SO many memories. I used to go through it just like y’all were doing in that photo.

    Thanks. That was great. : )

  32. #40
    Bec Kilgore

    I am behind in my blog reading but did want to comment on how much I enjoyed this entry. I am not big on those crowded family things which is good since mine is spread out all over and I am an only.

    I had a point, really I did.

    I just loved reading about a weekend playing games and enjoying each other.

    I lived in the middle of nowhere in NM when I was a young woman. We did a lot of getting together to share a meal and play games. Miss it to this day.

  33. #41

    I do not scrap about me. I am too boring. But, I thought the new class might make it easier to scrap about me, or perhaps even someone else. I like the concept. I hope I can produce something worthwhile. I am looking forward to the class.

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