We’re nearing the end of summer. The days are hot and humid, the nights are … well, hot and humid. We Minnesotans like to get away to one of the 11,842 lakes that we have in the state. Whether we’re rural residents or city dwellers, we love a good lake. I can remember growing up in the Twin Cities, we’d rent a cabin every year and head to the Brainerd lakes area for some fishing, swimming and lounging about. My husband grew up on a farm in northwestern Minnesota and has similar memories of going to a lake resort near Waubun, Minn.
We’re not alone in our enjoyment of getting away to the lake. There’s 135,000 private recreational homes (cabins) in the state. Whether you head to Green Lake near Spicer or Madison Lake, or Mantrap Lake in Park Rapids, there seems to be a lake and a location for everyone.
As Minnesotans, we’ve been going to lake for centuries. It’s part of who we are. We seemed to be drawn to the water. Back in the day, it was really one of the only ways to stay cool as houses didn’t have these fancy-dancy central air conditioners that we now all rely on. Going to the lake also provided an opportunity to gather with family and friends.
I know for certain that s’mores eaten around a campfire while listening to the gentle sound of waves lapping up on shore is the best way to consume this sticky and sweet treat. I also know that catching fireflies at the cabin is something that never, ever seems to get old.
A few years ago, my husband, Seth, and I — for one brief moment — became fun/cool mom and dad and bought a Super Mable. If you don’t know what a Super Mable is, then picture a loveseat on water. It’s an inflatable that has a back to it and comfortably fits three riders who are then pulled around the lake by a boat. It’s hard to fall off this thing, so much of the time at the cabin is dragging the Super Mable across the lake with our kids yelling “faster, faster.” My husband drives the boat while I make sure that no rider falls off (they never do). As Seth zooms across the lake, he inevitably spots a fisherman pulling in the big one, and jealousy abounds. While he doesn’t mind pulling the kids a few times around the lake in the Super Mable, he would much rather be fishing with them in the boat catching many a walleye.
If you have kids, then you know that relaxing at the lake rarely happens. If you’re not pulling kids across the lake, then you’re watching them swim, fixing goggles (always with the fixing of the dang goggles) and untangling fishing line. While it may not be all that relaxing, it’s definitely memory makings. Some of the best memories I have of my childhood are at a lake reeling in sunnies, doing cannon ball contests off the dock with my brother and enjoying the sunsets over the lake. I hope that my kids are making the same kind of wonderful memories.
We head to northern Minnesota to a lake resort near Bemidji every summer with my in-laws. We have a delightful time — even with the swimmer’s itch, leeches as big as bass and mosquitos galore. The fun is spending time together away from the hustle and bustle of life.
My in-laws farm, so they line up lots of help while they’re at the lake. Then they usually keep an eye on the radar to check for any potential severe weather. When adverse weather hits the farm, it means having the hired man check whether there’s any hail damage or any downed corn. You can get away to the lake, but the farm is never far from their minds.
When the sun is shining, the kids are enjoying fishing from the dock and GETTING ALONG (for a second or two). My husband and I like to sit on the swing near the shore and take in all the beauty that surrounds us. Being at the lake in Minnesota during the summer is magical. It’s not always calm, but man, it sure is fun!
Kristin Kveno is the staff writer of The Land. She may be reached at kkveno@TheLandOnline.com.