Minnesota Memories…and a New Blog

When my mother was young, her dad – my grandpa – took the family on a fishing trip to Minnesota. They enjoyed it and returned the following year…and the one after that and…  A tradition was born.

The View from our Cabin at the Lake

When Mom and Dad married, they continued the tradition. They vacationed at the same resort every year. As their children came along, they were taught to fish, swim, and water ski. Mostly though, they learned to love the resort and the two special weeks spent in Minnesota each summer…

Fishing, Swimming and Water Skiing

I don’t remember not knowing how to fish – I was in the boat before my memories started. I do remember not really liking to fish – especially after I became a teenager. My dad would get upset when I didn’t want to get up at 6:30 in the morning to get ready to go fishing. After all, this was a fishing vacation.

Learning to Ski

I was more interested in swimming. The year that my parents signed us up for swimming lessons at the public beach, though, turned out to be one of the coldest I remember. My sister and I froze our way through those lessons, but I’m glad I learned to swim.

I learned to ski when I was around twelve. My dad pitched in for gas with the resort owner or other guests so they would pull my siblings and me. Eventually my uncle got a ski boat.

A New Friend
My Dad with my New Friend

When I was around 5 or 6, the resort changed hands. The new owners had a little girl around my age. My dad tried to get me to play with her, but I wasn’t sure about it.  As we got older, though, A– and I became best friends. We wrote to each other throughout the year – using snail mail and our pretty stationery.

I couldn’t wait for summer to come so I could go spend time with my friend. For a few years, our cabin was too small for our family with five children. Mom and Dad, along with A–‘s parents, agreed that I could spend the two weeks staying with A– in her bedroom. It was a glorious two week sleepover!

Although we lost track of each other a few times over the years, we were able to reconnect as adults.  We don’t vacation together anymore, but we do manage to get together once in awhile. A– is still a great friend.


One activity A– and I shared was babysitting. I took care of my younger siblings while my parents went fishing. A– babysat for my uncle’s family or that of another guest at the resort. Other local girls also babysat at times.

The Babysitters, Two of the Kids, and a String of Fish

If we were babysitting in the evening, we would gather up all our charges and walk up town to the Dairy Queen. We would all get ice cream cones or Mr. Misty slushies. (They didn’t have Blizzards back then).

I remember taking the kids fishing off the dock.  The group of us caught at least 40 little sunfish. We didn’t know better, but the fish were too small to fillet, and should have been released immediately. I’m sure most of them didn’t make it when we tried to release them later. At least we had fun.

Troll dolls

In the afternoon, we had free time. A– and I, along with other kids and preteens, spent a lot of time in the lunch room. Furnished with several old couches, we sat around playing with our troll dolls. Now, I can’t imagine how we could find them that interesting.

As we got older, we switched to playing card games and listening to music. I had a collection of 45s that I convinced my dad were important enough to merit a place in our already crowded trunk. My friend A– had a great collection of “oldies” she had inherited from her sister.

All the Boys –
Not Sure I Could Name Them Now

For a few years there was a family with boys that vacationed at the resort the same weeks that our family was there. One boy was a couple years older than my friend and me, another one was close to our age.  We were all teenagers by then, and the boys were great to hang out with.

I exchanged letters with one of the boys a few times, but at sixteen, a long distance relationship was not what I was looking for. They stopped coming to the resort, and my friend and I lost track of them.

My Own Family
My Oldest Daughter in the Boat

When I married my husband, I followed in my mother’s footsteps by convincing him to vacation in Minnesota. He loved it as much as I did and over the years, we brought our children there.

It’s been a little over ten years since we vacationed there, but Sand Bay Resort will always hold a special place in my heart. The resort has been divided up and each cottage sold to individual owners. I’ve been back to see the resort a couple times – it’s still a moving experience.

The Other Lake
A Beautiful Day at Cass Lake

Part of my family now vacations at Cass Lake – also in Minnesota. I’ve been there a couple times, but it doesn’t always work in my schedule.

Although the lake is beautiful and I do like vacationing there, it’s not “my lake” and it doesn’t have the same meaning to me. My sisters that vacation there had fewer years at the resort where we grew up and many more years at Cass Lake. For them, I’m sure it feels the same as Sand Bay Resort did to me.

My Sister’s Blog

Recently, my sister started a new blog. Actually, she’s been blogging for awhile, but she now has a dedicated website for her writing. She has also committed to writing more often.

Sunset at Sand Bay Resort

I’ve always admired her writing – she knows just the right way to word things. Her yearly Christmas letters and her vacation journals were a joy to read. I encouraged her to write with me when I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but she was too busy raising her family.

Now she is an “empty nester” and has time to write. She writes about faith, family, biking, and travel. Her most recent post, inspired this one. Check out her blog at LindaHanstra.com

Find Time to Read…and Write

I hope you can find a little extra time this summer to catch up with my post or to read a few of my sister’s. Maybe we will inspire you to do some writing of your own.

If you write a vacation journal while you travel this summer, please share it with me.  I love reading about the travels of my friends!


  1. I loved seeing these old photos! I wish I had had more time to find some before I posted my story, but well…I had to pack and leave for Minnesota! We’ll try to put our heads together and write that book about all of our combined memories someday!

    1. Sounds great! Most of the photos I have are ones of my friends and me – not many of the rest of the family.

  2. Liked reading about your memories of Minnesota! Also read your sister’s blog. Will have to tell her the next time I see her at church in SB.
    You made me think of my childhood and teen years of camping with other families from church. Thanks for wakening the memories!

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