Our Life in the Northwoods . . . .

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 singalong, 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.


03/30/14: 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!

03/20/14: 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.

Sunrise02/26/14: 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!

02/24/14: 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.

02/06/014: 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.

01/17/13: Happy Birthday Lorie! Our snowshoers and walkers are spotting lots of wolf, deer and snowshoe hare tracks.

01/09/14: 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 menu page! Check it, you may just want to try one or more of them during your next visit or even at home.

Camera01/03/14: 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.

01/02/14: 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 fun....so 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!




12/31/13: This greeting was shared with me earlier today by family down in New Ulm, Minnesota and I fondly pass it along to you tonight: Wishing you all 12 Months of Happiness, 52 Weeks of Fun, 365 Days of Good Health, 8,760 Hours of LOVE, 525,600 Minutes of Blessings and 3,153,000 Seconds of Joy. Happy New Year Everyone!!

12/31/13: Ok folks, it feels REALLY cold outside this morning. When I woke up this morning around 4:30 it was reading -36. Gary told me that when he got to the end of the driveway on his way down to Duluth it was reading -40 and I heard Embarrass reported -47. I think I'll find a few projects to do here in the Lodge this morning!

12/30/13: We've got company! Flat Stanley has arrived from Iowa. Stanley is a friend of my buddy Jackson who is a student at Jensen Elementary. We'll have to see what we can do to keep him busy!

12/28/13: It's been pleasantly balmy outside and we've all enjoyed a brief reprieve from the frigid temperatures. That reprieve sounds like it will be short lived if the weather forecast is even remotely accurate with a "threat" of -35 or more on the thermometer and wind chills taking it down to -60. These old bones are going to be cold--I admit it!

12/26/13: Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas holiday. The Vogt's were here together for the holiday with family and friends. You all must have been good boys and girls again because Santa left presents under the tree again this year! Fun stuff coming your way next summer.

12/24/13: The magic and miracle of Christmas is upon us!

Thank you, each and every one of you, for thinking of us this holiday season. We've enjoyed receiving your holiday letters, greeting cards and family photos.

It's a -24 this Christmas Eve morning and we'll be seeing up to 3" of snow tonight for a very beautiful and white Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas!
Gary, Marie & Gary
and Daisy, Bella & Minnie to!


12/16/13: I hope that everyone is getting into the holiday spirit! The Resort is all decked out for the holidays. It's been pretty cold up here all month, January weather in December I think. There is snow in our forecast for Thursday and perhaps a bit of a warm up.

For those of you with 2014 reservations--thank you for sending in your deposits! We can't wait to see you again. We are looking forward to a busy 14th summer season. JR and I have some fun new activities in the works for 2014! We are even thinking about ideas to celebrate our 15th year here at Northern Lights Lodge with you all in 2014..

12/03/13: Well we've got snow and it's still coming down. I would guess somewhere between 5' and 6" so far. It's a beautiful winter wonderland this morning and snowing like crazy.

12/01/13: They say we might be getting our first "big' snowfall of the season with a forecast of 10-12". If you are are Facebook, we are announcing the Top Picks for this year's Arrows. Once again, it was really hard to pick.

Well, it's been a little while since I have made the time to write. Minnie and I drove to Florida and then Gary came down and joined us. JR was in charge and large at the Resort. it's interesting, fun, scary and painful all at the same time to step back and watch him step into my "resorter shoes". Painful because it's so hard for me to just step out of those shoes!

The "Girls" are doing well: Daisy is pretty content to snooze in front of the lodge fire and chase snowflakes, there's nothing "minnie" about Minnie and at 10 months she weighs 122 pounds compared to Bella (at age 2) who weighs 116 pounds. Fortunately all of these big dogs get along well BUT when two Great Danes start zooming (racing and running) it's best to step back and step aside! Life would be dull without them.

11/25/13: JR reported this morning that it looks like ice all the way across the lake now. We've had snow flurries on and off for the last few weeks.

10/15/13: Finally had a hard freeze two nights ago, raining today and snow in the forecast for the weekend. Fun stuff? Busy, busy MEA weekend coming up although it looks like we may be getting a little bit of snow.

10/14/13: The wolf pack is howling across the bay below the Lodge.

10/12/13: Winding down as we finish our pre-winter season plans. The seasonal cabins are closed for the year. Our fall colors have peaked and it's nearly time to take care of raking up the leaves. We've had a busy beaver along the shoreline near Cabin #2. We haven't caught it in the act yet but it has left the fallen tree behind.

JR continues to work away at the exterior cabin painting during these warm days. We've made significant progress on our Cabin #6 project--the bedrooms are done and the bathroom is just waiting for my plumber to tie it all together.

09/27/13: A bit of fall coloring going on the past few days with some lovely golds and reds. I have a feeling that the fall colors will be fleeting with the winds that are in our forecast and we are easily about 3 weeks behind the "normal" fall season. It's quite warm and humid these past few days but we are not allowing ourselves to be kept from our usual fall routines--cold weather and snow will come with just a snap of the fingers! My boys and I made significant progress our cabin #6 project this past week and we are liking the changes and hope that you do too!

Our Alabama Southern Belles are enjoying the sauna and swimming in the lake while the rest of us Northerners keep our feet firmly planted on dry land!

09/15/13: Today normally marks the peak or near peak fall colors but that's not the case this season. Everything is pretty green yet. Cooler temps and a bit of rain may start the process soon. The hawks that have been challenging guests much of the summer appear to be preparing to migrate. We frequently see and hear them flying above now and it's been about 10 days since we've had any real contact with them.

Sherm and Vicky were on the evening stroll out the drive and spotted a sow and two bear cubs.

The girls are loving their treats from Carrie and James--it's no wonder why they go door to door visiting everyone! I love my new snowman from the so VERY talented Barb K. Hope you made it home safely dear. We all enjoyed a couple of meals of IOWA sweet corn and fresh tomotoes--thank you Rick and Rosie. We are blessed to have such wonderful friends and spoiled by all of you!

We are days away from closing down the seasonal cabins for the year. Another summer season seems to have just flown by. Hoping to do finish off the last of our spring projects during this quieter time.

09/11/13: Remembering....

0909/13: What a lovely sound, it's raining!

08/25/13: There's no doubt that the life of a Resorter can be VERY um, interesting. As this summer season winds down I'm yearning once again for the time to begin my Memoirs of a Minnesota Resorter. Those of you that know us best are always eager for the "the rest of the story". That's those stories that I just can't put into this journal...because you'd never believe it could be true. Someone much, much wiser than me said today "you have to believe it because there is no way I could never make those stories up"!

Someone asked me again this week "what's it like to be a Resorter"? My first thought is always: what a loaded question! My second thought: can I really tell them? The guest's first question was immediately followed up with "I always wanted to do this when I retire".

So, how did I respond? Hah! You'll have to wait for my Memoirs of a Minnesota Resorter!

08/23/13: The Broad Winged Hawks are still at it and making their presence known to the guests just about every day. Local birding enthusiasts tell me that the hawks will likely start to migrate shortly.

I was recently "forced" to find a new way of displaying our online photo gallery. I think that I have found a solution. Please bear with me as I transfer the old gallery into the new. Check out the new Photo Gallery here. Which reminds me: have you sent me your vacation photos yet?

08/21/13: Well, summer has decided to return! You know it's hot it in August when the boys from Missouri head home a few days early because it's cooler back home! Every fish caught has been earned! Walleyes are still deep, bass, northerns and pan fish are biting early morning or evenings.

Congratulations to the Ulseths who just spent their honeymoon here!

Of course I have to take a moment to my darling Catherine for the lovely flowers and Jim and Linda for the fresh Illinois sweet corn--don't ask which is better, Illinois or Iowa corn! Yum!

08/06/13: Thinking this morning that my heart says it should be the start of summer, my body is saying it should be October but the chipmunks and squirrels are showing me that the calendar is spot on and we are already into August!

As I was enjoying my coffee on the patio this morning the fog is heavy over the lake and there was a continuous thump and thud all around as the squirrels dropped pine cones from the tree tops and the chipmunks and Grossbeaks are comically competing for the pin cherries on the trees. Even the Loons seemed to be saying that fall has arrived as they called out to one another in the fog.

Lots of wolf activity this past week. Numerous reports from guests who saw the large black wolf and a few others from the pack.

I've been pondering again just what it means to be a Resorter--what a humorous life we have here!

07/30/13: Raining here again this morning. Enjoying a cup of tea with FRESH honey from J. Kvitrud! I see on Facebook that the Kvitrud family are catching bass--way too go.

07/29/13: David and Jenny B. reported tonight that the broad-winged hawk is STILL protecting it's turf. The hawk swooped down over their heads as they took a stroll out the driveway. The attack several weeks ago was somewhat understandable but we aren't sure why the hawk has kept up the attacks.

Frost advisory for the northland last night! It may be July but yesterday I went around and turned the furnaces back on in all of winter cabins. Yes, that's not a typo. It didn't get that cold here but we have been having overnight temps drop down into the 40s. It feels like September at night but I won't complain! Gary loves it--it's not too often that he lights a fire in the lodge in July!

Fishing has been SLOW. A combination of the weather and a very late May fly hatch. Seeing a few bass and northerns come in.

Love is in the air! Congratulations to Andrew B. who proposed to Faith this week here on the beach....she said yes!

07/27/13: Gary saw the wolf pack today--yes pack: 6 wolves, in the driveway this morning as he was headed in to Ely. They've been howling up a storm with the full moon.

Yum, yum! First sweet corn of the season Iowa--thank you Craig family. I do miss the days of having our own garden. In our "other life" JR and I had a nearly 3,000 sq ft garden. We tried gardening here for a few years but the seasons are just too short and the summers are just too busy to keep up with it. Some years back we turned our garden spot into a flower bed.

07/13/13: Busy, busy! The loons, ducks and mergansers are all off of their nests but there are not too many chicks this summer. JR saw our loons loose there chick(s) to the Eagles this week . The merganser usually hatches 13 but at last count there were only 5. Seems to be plenty of wolf activity this summer--we can hear the pack calling to each other a couple of times each week. Seems the wolves are nothing to worry about--David S. was "attacked" from above by a broad-winged hawk this week while he and Lorie took a stroll down the driveway. It seems that a nestling may have fallen from the nest or a fledgling may have not successfully had it's first flight as a chick was on the ground.

06/30/13: Now that summer is finally here and the 4th is just around the corner I'm wondering how it got here so fast! There's a fun filled week lined up here at the Resort and in Ely and the weather is warm and sunny--perfect for beach time and a parade.

I keep saying our Resort family is the best and you all spoil us! Love the fresh home grown strawberries and picture from the Little Miss A and the Clayton family--YUM. The Sanders' family brought us the coolest goose iron and rock sculpture--thanks!

Pat and Ann Girardi just reported that a wolf crossed in front of them in the driveway. We know they are out there but there's proof!

06/22/13: Summer is officially here on the calendar and it really feels like summer outside! The first fireflies of the season were out last night. Last weekend guests saw moose twice, once right here on Highway 21.

Our Gnome Village just keeps growing and growing! The Alligood and Rice families from Florida went home and sent us a great Mickey Mouse gnome! Perfect!! My Florida girls (Minnie and Bella) think that's pretty cool.


Up North

It's the place people go to escape....
A place made of cabins, pine trees and lakes.
But, no matter how far you drive....
There's no sign to say, "You've arrived."
So, just follow your heart til you find....
Your special place that brings peace of mind.
As you breathe in the air and unwind...
Your cares are all left behind.
It's no mystery where the "Northwoods" start.
When you're "Up North" you'll know...
in your heart.

by Suzanne Kindler

Thank you Al and EG Guthke for sharing what Northern Lights Lodge means to you!


06/07/13: It sort of, sometimes, feels like spring....maybe! The lake hasn't warmed up much yet. Over the weekend its temps were near 55 degrees and it has dropped down to as low as 52 degrees since. There will be NO swimming for awhile unless (maybe) you are doing a sauna plunge!

Lots of fun watching the birds migrating through and visiting the feeders. The Evening Grossbeaks are absolutely everywhere. Last week (of course I was without my camera) I was painting a window at Cabin #12 and there were 5 yes FIVE Pileated Woodpeckers chasing each other and bounding from tree to tree in hot pursuit--it was almost like watcing a cartoon.

Fishing has been spotty even with the gray and wet days--that East wind will do that to you. Guests have seen a few nice Walleyes, Northerns and plenty of big Bass this week so far.

A shout out to Jim Kvitrud--your home made Maple syrup was fantastic this morning over pancakes! Thanks so much for sharing.

Love is definitely in the air here at the Resort! Congratulations go out to Matt who proposed over the weekend--she said yes AND to Allie who proposed to Jacob last week and he said yes! Our best wishes go out to Laura and Dayton who honeymooned here at the Resort AND our Resort family is growing again with pending arrival of Paul and Cassie's baby boy! Life is good.

05/15/13: Well, it's official! Liz Swedberg (a Resort guest) and I call ICE OUT on Bear Island Lake this morning!

Drum Roll Please......and the winner of our 2013 Bear Island Lake Ice Out Contest is Jim Widdop whose ice out forecast was submitted by his lovely wife Linda!

05/11/13:Bound to be a SLOW fishing opener here on Bear Island Lake. The ice has not gone out, in fact it is snowing here right now. No one should be ice fishing either as the conditions can't be safe. The ice is out from the end of the beach and down into the Bear Island River so it would be possible to fish from a canoe if the snow and wind stops.

05/10/13: Well, here were are on the eve of the 2013 fishing opener and no one will be launching boats on Bear Island Lake as we are still waiting for ice out. The good news though, if we dare call it that, is that the back bay and the lake down to the Bear Island River (about half of our shoreline) does have ice out as of tonight and a few folks will at least be able to try their luck from their docks or canoes but it's going to be pretty chilly this weekend. I think that Mother Nature is making amends for last season!

05/08/13: Well I think all eyes are on the ice. The weather as been spectacular so far this week and it has been so nice to be out in the sun. Last night JR even said that it was too hot! The the back bay is slowly opening but there is still ice down towards the river. The main body of the lake is very dark but I don't think we'll make opening weekend and it looks like temps will cool down as we head into the weekend.

The Loons, ducks and geese fill the bay and channel. The Spring Peepers woke up on Monday and the symphony echoes through the resort. The grass is the only thing greening up and the deer herd seems to have tripled over night. As I finished cleaning Cabin #3 on Monday evening the deer were settling in and laying down under the pines between Cabin #1 and Cabin #4.

Minnie and Bella are loving the weather--the ticks are already out. YUCK! For the first time ever the girls have gone to the vet for treatment. They love being out in the woods and so prevention is the best rule of thumb. Daisy is taking it easy and slowly recovering from the surgery on her foot last week when two cysts were removed.

05/01/13: The channel opened up yesterday afternoon and it didn't take long before there were ducks, geese, swans and 4 eagles at the open water. We are still a ways away from actual ice out though. Early this morning, I heard my first Loon--LOVE IT!

04/28/13: Could it be? Has Spring decided to check in? Saturday was GLORIOUS with upper 60 degree temperatures and blue sunny skies. You can hear all of the birds that are returning. A significant amount of our snow melted yesterday and there is now water standing on top of the ice. Today we have wet cloudy skies BUT it is raining and NOT snowing--life is good.

In January we bought a new pontoon boat and JR is just itching for ice out and open water so that he can put the 20' Grand Island Pontoon boat in the water and take it out on its Maiden Voyage.

04/22/13: About a dozen Canada Geese flew over, circled the channel twice and landed. I suspect that they were expecting open water because the volume of their discontented squawking could be heard here at my desk. Their heated discussion continued for a few minutes and then they departed, I imagine, in search of open water.

04/18/13: Well here we are tonight in the middle of yet another April snowsorm. This one has brought in a lot of wind and plenty of moisture. It's hard to say forsure what is on the ground but I would bet that we are close to the 5" mark. This storm is hitting us right after our "normal" ice out date--April 17th. We are a long, long ways from ice out this year. Which reminds me! We have an Ice-Out contest going on right now on Facebook--LIKE our page and make your prediction for a chance to win a Northern Lights Lodge T-shirt!

Minnie is doing well and just has the sweetest disposition. She's just about the exact opposite of Bella. At this stage Bella had already earned the nickname Chaos because she had (and still has) an incredible amount of energy. Today, Daisy showed showed the first littlest amount of interest in Minnie that wasn't displayed with grumpy groans and snarls.

Think spring everyone!

04/06/12: We've done it again--Gary and I somehow managed to find another Great Dane puppy during our WARM and much enjoyed Florida vacation. We're still trying to find the perfect name for her:


She's a big girl weighing 29lbs at the age of 8 weeks. She's a little honey and is as sweet as can be. Bella is loving the addition and Daisy, well, she'll get there eventually.

03/20/13: I know we've just been spoiled by the last few winter seasons but this winter feels like it may never end. There are hopeful signs of spring: rivers are opening, birds are migrating, bears are waking up and Daisy is shedding! Looking at the 10 day forecast it looks like winter is here for a bit yet.

03/02/13: I may have seemed quieter than normal these past weeks but I've been busy playing with web site updates (like my Journal) and putting together new pages: a very small sampling of our collection of notes, cards, letters and guest's journal enteries, the northern lights and some fun vacation dining/recipes. I find that I have to this when the mood or inspiration hits me! Hope you enjoy the changes.

The northern lights were out AGAIN the other night and once again I missed the show as I was fast asleep by 8:30pm! Heidi Pinkerton from Root River Photography captured a fantastic image of the appearance and you can check it out on our Facebook page or on her website.

Realty TV is a "source of entertainment" that I seldom watch because the life styles portrayed are (to me) pathetic, and far from any real reality. Well folks, did you read your Ely Echo? A film crew was here in town to reseach the idea of an Ely "off the grid" reality show. Oh boy, what next.

02/24/13: I've been terribly quiet lately (this winter) and it feels as though I've been hibernating! I'm not sure what that's all about except that it seems like we've been below zero since before Christmas and I find myself yearning for warm and sunny days!

James and Carrie -- your winter survivor basket was PERFECT and such a thoughtful treat. Your visits are ALWAYS memorable!

We have snow and I've heard from folks all across the states who have it too! The annual Winter Festival has come and gone just like the month of February! You'll find a few snow sculpture photos in the 2013 Gallery.

Gary and I saw a Great Grey in the driveway last week late in the afternoon. Moose and wolf tracks. Our guests this winter have reported seeing moose, deer and wolf tracks out on the lake.

01/22/13: A balmy -26 this morning with a Real Feel of -17. Not bad! It beats the -50 of years gone by.

01/01/13: Happy New Year!

12/30/12: Thank you one and all for being a part of our Resort family in 2012. It was a great year and we appreciate your friendship. May you take the wonderful memories of the past year along with you for the coming year. May 2013 be just as special to you and your loved ones. Wishing you and your special ones a very Happy New Year.


12/24/12: Merry Christmas one and all!

12/12/12: There is snow again, just in time for the holidays and the Lodge and Resort are decorated for the season. We'll be spending the holidays here with Resort guests and family. The cabin/suite trees are up and decorated so that Santa can visit everyone here! Bella loves to be outside in the snow and while Daisy will join here too she seems to prefer a cozy spot in front of the fireplace. JR is working his way through finals and looking forward to the end of the semester. We've collected almost 400 photos this year and you'll see them all in our online photo gallery (click the photo to the right) and I predict that we'll have over 400 by the end of 2012--GREAT memories! Our Cabin #12 project has been completed just in time for the holidays--check back soon on the updated photos here on the website or on Facebook.

11/08/12: Pretty quiet here at the Lodge these days. Winter weather comes and goes, snow followed by rain. There is already ice on the river and back bay but comes and goes some days too. This week I started the remodel in Cabin #12, starting with a plumbing redo in the upstairs bathroom complements of contractor error when the cabin was built it seems and yesterday I pulled out the wood stove (tearing out the old tile) and the FUN task of scraping the popcorn spackle off the ceiling.

The arrows are hung—will you find yours? It was a HUGE challenge selecting our Top 10 arrows of the season. There were 137 true works of art created by our Resort friends and families and choosing the Top 10 was so very, very difficult this year. Over the next few days we’ll roll out our favorites—these arrows were selected based on content (the story told!) and the artist’s creativity. We hope you enjoy them as much we do--this first arrow was selected because I enjoyed seeing our new Gnome Village through the eyes of this artist. The Top 10 will be featured on our Facebook page.

09/29/12: I've been busy adding new photos to Facebook and the Resort's online photo gallery. On Sunday our Bear Island Lake neighbors, the Coopers, stopped in to say hello and they commented on the gorgeous fall colors in the driveway--Gary said I needed to take some pictures! Prompting me to take a moment to appreciate them myself! I'm fond of one of the photos where I was able to capture the special way that our drive winds through the woods along with some beautiful colors. Not only did I get to enjoy the colors but the smell of the fall leaves was wonderful and our resident fawn popped out along the way but she was camera shy.

It's official! The end of our 12th summer season here at the Resort has come to a close. The five (5) seasonal cabins are CLOSED and prepped for the coming winter season. As I prep the cabins I line up my ideas (projects) for NEXT season and I think we'll be doing the bathrooms in Cabins #1, #5 and #6....any other suggestions?

I've been busy here trying to finish up my 2012 my project list and I am thrilled to say the new Lodge deck is finished! The new deck inspired me to make a few changes here at/in the Lodge with some new furniture and deck seating--no photos yet as I'm just putting the finishing touches on that phase of the project. Hmmmm, now I should paint the Lodge!

The weather looks promising this coming week and so I'll tackle painting the Fish House AND I so excited that construction will FINALLY begin on the Boat House next month. The site was prepped early in the spring and the concrete was poured in August.

09/28/12: Just finished a new birding page for the web site inspired by our friend and guest Harry Elliott who stays with us in September.

09/27/12: It's nearly a full moon and this morning at 3am I woke up to a full pack of wolves howling. This pack seemed to be somewhere out the driveway a bit towards Highway 21! I haven't heard a pack of wolves howling in ages!

09/26/12: Heard a lone wolf howling this morning around 6am. It was a big foggy today and sounds can be deceiving but it seemed as though the wolf was down near the bay. Today is our 25th Wedding Anniversary--any connection?!

Fall fishing has been TOUGH with limited action and few quality fish--need some cooler weather.

09/24/12: Bella is a year old today. She's already a bit larger Pepper and JR wants me to visit the Ely Vet Clinic to see what she weighs now. We think that she's about 110 lbs but she has a lot of muscle so it's hard to tell.

09/19/12: I've added 49 photos to the online photo gallery--check out the photos of the "blue moon" and other bits and pieces of life here on Bear Island Lake. Check out my new "favorite thing" on Facebook--a handcrafted personalized stepping stone made by Barb Knight. Happy Birthday Nancy E.!

09/15/12: I realized again tonight just how fast our summer season goes by--we grilled for the first time all year tonight! Sadly, we are counting down the days to the end of the season when we close down the five (5) seasonal cabins for the winter. If you get to Ely's Farmer's Market check out Lily Dove's Cottage Cheese Dill Bread--YUM! Thanks Nancy E. for finding it!

Congratulations to the Flacks who honeymooned here at the Lodge AND the Rothe's who recently spent their 10th Anniversary here with us. Wishing you the best

09/04/12: A bit of wild weather blew through this afternoon--some very heavy rain and ping pong ball size hail. Of course, I got caught outside during the start of it and I can tell you that a ping pong size hail ball leaves a lump! The rain was coming down so hard with the hail for about 20 minutes that the hail was rolling down the hill and piling up. Only one broken window from the hail and surprisingly no vehicles were damaged so life is good!

Check out the video we posted on Facebook: Bella discovers CATS!

08/23/12: Here we are again, wrapping up our 12th summer season with the Labor Day weekend just around the corner. We've had a busy summer and the days have gone by much too fast and we are starting to see fall colors in the leaves. A special thank you to Catherine C. for "adding a bit of color" to our front desk last week. Lovely!

Bella has definitely GROWN into life here at the Resort and I think she keeps everyone (2-legged and 4-legged) entertained. Daisy on the other hand has settled into a slower pace although yesterday she spent quite a bit of time at the beach.

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis for you Tammy!) have made two appearances during the past week. Hopefully, it will be an active fall season.

08/10/12: A yummy 46 degrees again this morning--great sleeping weather! The last few weeks have been super busy at the resort with lots of guest activity. We've started work on the Lodge deck and the concrete has been poured on the boat house.

Had a little be of bear activity two weeks ago--took down all of the bird feeders and that seemed to be the end of it.

The best night to watch the Perseid meteor shower is August 12th according to the EarthSky Web site. The meteors will fall most often from about 2 a.m. until dawn on Sunday, August 12.

Lots of new photos posted to our Resort Facebook page and online photo gallery--be sure to check it out! Thank you also for the great TripAdvisor reviews!

07/23/12: Happy Monday everyone looks like the next couple of days will be warm again but then it's going to cool off to the upper 70s! Had another great with the Craigs again--thanks so much for the YUMMY Iowa sweet corn. We've added new photos (some great JULY Walleye pics) to the online photo gallery.

Check out our newest TripAdvisor reviews--what a great way to start out my Monday!

07/13/12: Is it hot enough for everyone? I know we have nothing to complain about compared to other parts of the country--the beach is just about the busiest spot here at the resort! Friday the 13th makes me think of October and cooler weather!

Vacation Reminder: Before you get settled back into the hustle and bustle of your daily lives remember to take a moment to send us your photos AND if you have not already done so think about your 2013 vacation dates and put them on our calendar--2013 is filling up already!

07/02/12: Northern Lights Lodge is now on Pinterest!

Follow Me on Pinterest

06/20/12: Well, it's times like this that makes one REALLY appreciate the "rolling terrain" that we have here. The rain continues to come down and down and down! There is over 3" of new rain this morning and it looks like more is on the way. The good news is that there's no flooding here but we'll have to repair some washouts again.

Gary hasn't been home since yesterday morning and they have worked through the night at several of the Center's Duluth buildings with major flooding in Duluth. In fact the Duluth Zoo is underwater and folks are looking for seals and polar bears! Duluth has had as much as 6" of rain and that's before the run-off happens. Highway 61 and I-35 is closed north of Duluth. The NWS at 3am advised no travel along the Northshore and in parts of Duluth.

06/18/12: Good morning Chuck! Hope you made it home safely. Sorry you are back at work but we'll see you in September! Say hi to Debbie.

06/11/12: The Walleye action on Bear Island Lake was HOT the last two days--the new Fish Cleaning Facility got a major work out yesterday. I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen so many Walleyes in a 24 hour period. I can also tell you that they were delicious and we thank the guys for dinner last night! We'll see what the shift in our weather does during the rest of the week.

><((((> ... ><((((> ... ><((((>

06/03/12: Just put the finishing touches on new cabin floor plans sketches for the web site--each cabin and suite's floor plan has been redone, the website has been updated throughout.

Kid's Korner Update: We always try to have something new at the resort for the kids. This year we've added Gnomes (see how many of them you can find!), we expanded the Lodge's kid's korner with new books, games and other activities. The ducks were such a success last year that we expanded this activity too!

05/29/12: Hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial weekend. Even with the rain everyone managed to get it some fishing and time on the decks. Fishing has been pretty good and everything seems to be biting--the new fish house got a major work out this past week. Todd B. described the fish house as "inspirational" and absolutely the nicest and cleanest fish house he has ever been in.

Bonnie K. found Lady Slippers right here at NLL! Wayne and Alice saw a moose yesterday! David Z. had River Otters swimming along side as he kayaked. The Loons and Mergansers are nesting in the back bay and we see them swimming and feeding daily. I just love the northwoods.

It feels like the last week has been filled with rain and then more rain. Wait, it has! I'm not complaining and we needed every drop. I've lost track of the totals in the rain gauge but we must be between 7 and 10 inches. The creek beside Cabin #1 is flowing fast, the water flow is so fast that you can hear it from the deck of Cabin #3.

05/25/12: The northland area has gone from very dry conditions and extreme fire danger levels to flood warnings (these flood warnings have no impact on us). It has been raining steadily since Saturday with another 3" in today's forecast. My rain gauge runneth over. I've taken advantage of these rain days to add/update photos and floor plan drawings on the individual cabin/suites pages. I've also added images to the Photo Gallery.

05/24/12: The Chuckle of the Day--Steve C. was fishing by himself off the dock today and he landed "the big one". Being all by himself he couldn't manage his fishing pole and the landing net so he did what any savvy fisherman would do: he maneuvered his catch around the dock and boat(s), walked down the dock and proceeded to walk the fish onto the shore! Should have had a video camera for this one!

05/19/12: A little piece of our Bear Island Lake history was lost last night due to a fire. Two of the three buildings at Tar Paper Annie's were destroyed in a fire. A resort guest fishing near the narrows took photos and I will try and post them later. Our thanks once again to Babbitt Fire, the Forest Service and MN DNR for putting out the fire so quickly.

05/14/12: It was a "tough" Opening Weekend with more than a Walleye Chop during the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday's winds were some of the strongest that I can recall with white caps actually rolling up and over the dock nearest the beach. Regardless, I know that there was more than one fish fry over the weekend!

05/11/12: Busy, busy here at the Resort. The new fish house is up and running just in time for the Opener weekend. I think Gary did a great job coordinating this project AND it's so Green with energy efficient outdoor lighting, a motion sensor inside so the interior energy efficient lights only go on (and stay on) as long as someone is inside, the new on demand water heater is energy efficient and of course the fish cleaning by-product gets hauled away and spread onto local pastures and is very earth friendly!

Within the resort all sorts of projects are being wrapped up: new carpet in Cabin #6 (and a new energy efficient water heater), new carpet and doors in Cabin #2 and the deck on Cabin #5 is being replaced.

05/01/012: Lovely morning with Swans swimming in the back bay below the Lodge. Perfect way to start the day!

04/30/12: Just a little too much excitement around here yesterday. I smelled smoke late in the afternoon and so Gary and I went out to find the source on the 4-wheeler. Shortly after that the Forest Service had a search plane flying above. There was smoke traveling across Highway 21 right at our driveway. A fire was burning in the Bear Island Ski Trail. I am so thankful for the fast response of the Forest Service with two fire fighting planes and their ground crew. I added photos to the Photo Gallery of the Forest Service planes scooping water out of Bear Island Lake to fight the blaze.

04/24/12: A spectacular showing of the Northern Lights last night (I missed them) but local photographer, Heidi Pinkerton, captured them best! Take a look at Root River Photography and see for yourself!

04/15/12: An ABSOLUTELY perfect way to start my day: a great cup of coffee on the Lodge deck and I heard the Loons! The Loons returning to Bear Island Lake always makes it feel like spring for me. It's "warm" this morning at 46 degrees, it's lightly raining and there is fog across the water.

04/10/12: This spring is feeling like last fall. Our weather seems to be warm 60+ degrees one day and 22 degrees the next.....brrrr! It was snowing and very windy yesterday. Hard to imagine an even earlier fishing opener date after days like this!

We're busy here working on the resort. We recently "raised" and leveled Cabin #2 and it's deck--next up is new doors. Once it warms up we'll be putting new carpet in Cabin #2 and Cabin #6!

The new PEDAL BOAT is on its way and should arrive on Thursday!

03/27/12: Looks like we officially have ice out here on Bear Island Lake!

03/25/12: So where has the month of March gone? It's been an unusual month to be sure. The snow is gone already. The trees are budding. The ice is out in the back bay and across the lake to beyond the island. I noticed yesterday that the lake has come up a bit and there was enough melt and thaw for the creek to start flowing. We've had 70+ degree days this month so we've been working on our usual spring projects. I'm not convinced that winter is really gone yet because the Loons haven't migrated home. We had some rain last week and that has started the "green up" and with the rain, the Spring Peepers came out too. Usually the Loons are just a day or two behind the Peepers but when I last checked the online tracking site the Loons hadn't left Florida yet! I can't wait to hear the Loons.

Bella is growing so fast (she stands taller than Daisy and stands at about 26" at the shoulders) and she has so much energy. I've been calling her "Billy Goat" lately because she is constantly leaping on top of and over boulders and anything else that presents an obstacle. Over the weekend Miss Bell discovered the open water at the beach and went swimming--Daisy stayed out of the water! Bella's zip is making us see Daisy's age and she has no desire to keep up with Bella. I've added a new 6-month photo of Bella to the right.

02/25/12: It's been snowing on and off since my last posting--everything looks fresh and clean with the new snow! Guests saw a pair of wolves crossing Highway 21 from the resort yesterday.

Well, it didn't take long to find a new project: Cabin #11 is getting a bit of an update as I scrape off the "popcorn spackle" from the ceiling, repaint the ceiling and replace all of the lights in the living room, kitchen and dining room, topping the project off with new hardware in the kitchen.

02/16/12: It's here! It's back! The Northern Lights Lodge site Photo Gallery returns. When we launched the new web site design it meant recreating each and every page. You'll find a link/photo icon on the home page of our site next to the link/icon for this Journal and a temporary link to the right. Enjoy.

Bella is growing leaps and bounds -- she is a big as Daisy now minus about 50 pounds! She and I are an item and when I'm away she let's my guys know that she's not too thrilled about it (she talks, you've got to see/hear it to understand, and she paces from door to door) I figure it's good for them all and they can spend some "quality" time together. I'm pretty sure that Bella is going to be a water dog: she loves bath water, she dunks her head under in their water bucket and blows bubbles, in the shower she eats and chases the water streams and turns her face right into it. As you can see, I'm easily entertained!

02/13/12: It's impossible for me to be idle for very long so over the past month or so I have painted each of the four suites, the laundry room and cabin #3! With the fresh new look I decided to clean the carpets too rather than wait for spring. Once I was all done I just couldn't help myself so I added new quilts in the bedrooms, lodge decor throughout and other amenities. Fun stuff!

Hmmm....now what can I do?

02/12/12: Another Ely Winter Festival is behind is! Northern Lights partnered again this year with Bill Slaughter's Northwoods Guide Service and hosted a dog sled ride event each Sunday during the festival. I've posted photos of the snow sculptures on our Facebook page.

02/09/12: Bright blue skies and sunshine today--just returned from my an errand in Ely and as I was preparing to turn into the Resort driveway a wolf crossed Highway 21. We haven't had any troubles with the wolves and see no sign of them here within the Resort but I will be keeping Daisy and Bella on a leash when we go for our walks--at least for the time being.

02/04/12: The 2012 Ely Winter Festival has officially begun--the snow sculptures are busy in Whiteside Park!

02/01/12: The fresh snow over the past few days is perfect and just in time for the Winter Festival!

01/25/12: The Northern Lights were out this morning at 3:45am (I slept through it) but local photographer, Steve Foss, captured some really amazing images of the show! Our guests this week in Cabin #3 have lots of Grossbeaks at the feeder AND a Pine Martin. Last night near 1:30am they snapped a picture of what looks to be a nocturnal flying squirrel.

We've received a bit more snow--there appears to be about 10" on the ground and great ice for fishing. The Winter Festival crew is busy forming and filling the blocks with snow for the snow sculptures. Can't wait to see the finished designs.

While things are "snow slow" this winter we are busy taking advantage of the time by painting the interiors of the suites--two down, two to go and then on to the laundry room.

Bella is a joy! I'm so glad that Gary talked me into having another Great Dane. She's definitely spunky but she has such a great personality and loves to give kisses. She's here in the office with me snoring away after a busy day around the resort. She's almost 4 months old and weighs over 50 pounds.

Jewel's cubs (they think there are two) have arrived and listening to the Bear Center's web cam they really do sound like babies.

01/15/12: Have you heard the news yet? Jewel is expected to give birth any day.

01/12/12: Not too much new here in Ely--we are fortunate to have some snow on the ground. There is enough for xc skiing and dog sledding! The lakes have great ice and little snow so the ice fishing has been exceptional.

01/01/12: Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy new year.

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 AlbumsPhoto_Gallery




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?


Bumper Sticker

No One Loves You
Like a Great Dane!

Bella: Age 1 Year (09/12)

Bella aka The Billy Goat
6 Months

Bella -- 3 Months

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!



Oh My--We've Got Another Dane!

Meet Minnie!
Age 8 Weeks & 26 lbs.

Minnie at 4 Months

Minnie 9 Months
Minnie at 9 Months


RIP 2005--2011

RIP 1997--2010

Click Here to Email Marie