Marie's Northwoods Journal


We've been busy here at the Resort catching up on projects, opening up the cabins, finishing our Cabin #6 remodeling project and painting cabins in between. The lake is VERY high, the fish are biting and so are the bugs! I've never seen so many mosquitoes and yesterday the sand flies popped--they are worse than the mosquitoes. JR paddled down to the Bear Island River on Monday evening and the water is still roaring (raging might be a better description) over the dam.

Beautiful morning with fog rising off of the water and the Loons calling to each other as the sun came up. I considered going down to the lake for a photo BUT decided that I just didn't want to deal with the bugs!


So looking forward to the coming week's weather forecast! The last of our snowbanks and piles is melting away. I noticed this morning there is still some drifted snow behind cabin #6. The lake is officially the highest we have experienced as we start our 14th season here at the Resort. The Marina dock is under water. We pulled the Cabin #1, #2 and #3 docks back in to avoid them drifting away. The Walleyes are starting to bite in the evenings, right on schedule.

The nights are still chilly--22 last night, 27 the night before. I like sleeping with the window over my bed open. Last night the Loons were calling out under the full moon and what I think was a trio of Barred Owls sounded like they were just outside my window. I'm not one to use an alarm clock, I get up when I wake up and this morning at 4:30 I woke up to the sounds of Mourning Doves. Love!

05/11/14: Happy Mother's Day ladies!

In Case You Missed It: We officially called ICE OUT on Bear Island Lake late on Sunday afternoon (05/11).

05/08/14: Moose Alert!

Guests may have a better chance of seeing a moose IN the Resort this weekend than fishing Bear Island Lake (although we had significant thaw yesterday) on the opener! Yesterday JR spotted smaller moose tracks in the suites parking area and this morning he found big moose tracks right in front of the Lodge and below cabin #6.


Perfect greeting this morning--the Loons are back on Bear Island Lake with at least two pair in the bay below the Lodge.

04/28/14: Bear Island Lake Ice Out Contest!

Submit your ice out predictions (via Facebook or email) NO LATER than Wednesday, April 30th and win one of our NEW Northern Lights Lodge Bear Island Lake t-shirt.

04/01/14: Ely On the Air!

Ely announces the upcoming launch of our 24/7 all-Ely, all-the-time network — The Ely Channel! The Ely Channel has already begun production on several shows, including Iron Range Chef, Sauna Wars (heavily pixilated to comply with FCC standards) and a sing-along, call-in show, Campfire! It is expected to unveil its full schedule of programming later in April.

"We've had a webcam up on Sheridan (Street) for a few years, and that's become pretty popular. A lot of folks tune in from all over just to see what's going on in town."

Why The Ely Channel? "In Ely, we've got the corner on nature — with summer and winter activities galore," says network spokesman Jeremy Williams. "In fact, research shows there's strong interest in rural and nature-based programming in general, and in Ely and the Boundary Waters specifically." Special materials are also being developed to help bring The Ely Channel into the classroom for schools throughout the country.



Well, with our forecast I hope that it means that March is going out with a bang, one last FINAL hurrah for this winter.....10-12" of snow in our ongoing winter forecast. Don't you just love it!


Well, it's officially the first day of Spring. We all know it's coming, but not quick enough! There are Pussy Willows breaking out near Cabin #11 and a Winter Storm warning in our weekend forecast. We've had a view refreshing warm days and have enjoyed them all. Working on interior painting right now in the suites. We're in high gear prepping for the coming warm weather months--we hope you enjoy the new and updated activities. JR expanded our kayak fleet again--bring on the open water.

Thank you Jim and Becki with the company and "refreshments". They will be enjoyed as Jim says just a sip at a time.



Even though it feels like we may still in the middle of winter, the days are getting noticeably longer. Today, I enjoyed the hint of a sunrise with my second cup of coffee. This sunrise is my inspiration for our next photo contest and spring (03/20) is just days away! Submit your favorite Bear Island Lake sunRISE photos, drawings or paintings. Share and submit as many as you like. With each entry you are automatically entered in the contest. When spring arrives (at least on the calendar) we will have FIVE (5) random drawings (every sunrise is perfect!) and each will receive a Northern Lights Lodge & Resort coffee mug! Your entries can be posted to our Resort Facebook page or sent to us via email or USPS (we will share them all here) no later than 03/19/14. Do not delay I think we may all need more Spring inspiration!


I think we are all yearning for more warmer days especially after last week's two precious days with temps near 40 degrees. Those days were just a tease as they were followed by 13+ inches of snow, strong winds for two days and now we've entered another another arctic freeze BUT it was only -26 this morning. JR and I have been busy shoveling snow off of roofs and digging out walkways and decks AGAIN. That's life in the Northwoods.


The Annual Ely Winter Festival and Art Walk kicks off today. Looking forward to seeing the new snow sculptures!

01/30/14: Drum Roll Please…

Our January Northern Lights Lodge T-Shirt Winners are: Karen and Greg Sanders, Marc Robbins, Steven Cartwright and Jen Jacobsen. Thanks for sharing.


Happy Birthday Lorie! Our snowshoers and walkers are spotting lots of wolf, deer and snowshoe hare tracks.


I decided on Monday that I refuse to talk about the weather--enough already, if I ignore it, it will go away!

My apprentice (JR) and I jumped into our first project of 2014--we are removing and replacing all of the tile around the fireplace in Cabin #3 and doing a little bit of painting too. As of yesterday, the new tile is down and today we should be able to finish up that project this morning and the painting this afternoon!

Hoping to see the Northern Lights tonight if we have clear skies. The space weather folks are even forecasting visibility all the way down to Iowa. My challenge is always staying up late enough to see them. I tend to be an early riser and 4am keeps getting here earlier and earlier the older I get!

We've added a recipes to both our Pinterest and website's vacation recipes menu page! Check it, you may just want to try one or more of them during your next visit or even at home.



This week I received a phone call from a special lady down in Alabama. She and her family stayed with us for a week back in 2011 and their time here at the Resort was extraordinary, for all of us. As we reminisced, she reminded me of the photo book she had made of their Minnesota vacation and mentioned that it is still on the center of their coffee table--memories for a lifetime that they share with all their friends! This story is the inspiration for our online “January Jubilee”.

Our January Event:

What’s your favorite Northern Lights Lodge photo memory? To participate, simply post or e-mail your photo entry to us no later than 01/24/14. The Prize--a Northern Lights Lodge T-shirt. The Details--each photo submitted will be included in 4 random drawings for a Resort T-shirt! The Restrictions--none really! Any Northern Lights Lodge stay qualifies, any time, any year and as many entries as you wish to submit.


So what does one do when it is -37 AGAIN? Well, the house clean, the lodge clean, every closet and storage area has been organized, my office has been cleaned, archived and organized....hmmmm? This morning's project is digitizing photos from our first years here at the resort and adding them to the online photo gallery. It's been quite nostalgic going through the photos! Lot's more to go through but this is at least a solid start so take a stroll through our early years.

Congratulations and best wishes to Rebecca and Randall, newly weds who are honeymooning here!

01/01/14: Reposted from Facebook:

Our December contest was much fun that we decided to triple the winners....AND THE WINNERS ARE: Sue Haugerud, Mike Mayer and Vicki Pearson! Gerry Johnson was with us last May "between the seasons" and shared a few exceptional images with us! All of the photo entries are in our 2013 Facebook album and our 2010 Phanfare online gallery. My favorites and the others can be viewed in our 2013 Album. Message me to confirm your mailing address and your Northern Lights Lodge T-shirt will be coming your way!



Our Life in the Northwoods…

When we first decided to make Northern Lights Lodge our home in January of 2001 we knew that life was going to be different.

What I never imagined when Gary convinced me to become a Resorter was the friendships--how so many of our guests would become family and each return visit is like having a family reunion!

I never expected to have so much fun and so I started Marie's Northwoods Journal. Keep in mind, that this was "way" back before anyone even knew what a blog was. I've not converted my journal to what you would now call a traditional "blog" because the format just doesn't work for me.

This journal is a bit like a good old fashioned letter to home or a scrapbook and it's become a way for me to keep in touch. The journal is a collection of my thoughts, a glimpse into our lives and a way for me to reflect upon life here at the Resort.

There are ALWAYS stories to tell, (some that I'll not ever Journal here!) and maybe someday I will heed your advice and attempt to write a book or if I wait long enough, my memoirs!

The years go by faster and faster and so I hope that you enjoy my journal and photo albums as much as I enjoy spending the time with you.

Don't be a stranger, stay in touch until I see you again.



Click to View Our Photo Albums

Daisy the Wonder Dog



Our Yellow Lab, Daisy, is best described as a typical Resort dog. She loves being with our Resort guests and she loves to eat! Daisy is nearing the age of 11 and she is unwillingly slowing down a bit. She'll hop in your boat if you ask her to go fishing with you and she won't hesitate to retrieve that ball or stick (no matter where you throw it) and she loves to relax in the evenings around the bonfire or picnic table!

Meet Minnie

Oh My--We've Got Another Dane!


Age 8 Weeks & 26 lbs.


Minnie at 4 Months

Minnie 9 Months

Minnie at 9 Months



Bella: Age 1 Year (09/12)


Bella aka The Billy Goat
6 Months


Bella -- 3 Months

Bumper Sticker

Having a Great Dane in your life means that there are just a few sayings that you learn to live with:

  • Look at the size of those feet!
  • That's the biggest dog I've ever seen.
  • Where's her saddle?
  • Who's walking who, anyway?
  • How much does she eat?
  • Where does she sleep?
  • Looks like you have your hands full!
  • How big is that thing?
  • That's a really big Dalmatian!
  • It's still a puppy? You're kidding, right?
  • Big poop piles?

No One Loves You
Like a Great Dane!



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