Cabin Life

From Early Birds to Night Owls

Are you up with the sun or do you just start to hit your groove when the stars come out? Either way, we've got you covered at Up North Cabin Rentals.

The Early Birds

For those of you early risers, we've got the perfect spot on the deck to sip your first cup of java.

Watch the sun's first rays streak over the sky as you listen to the birds wake up. If you're in a fishing kind of mind you can get out before dawn and take advantage of the peace and calm on the lake. Or take the kayak for a spin before anyone else even wakes up.

Dangle your feet off the dock and nibble on a pastry from Pure-n-Simple in Amery.


The Night Owls

If you don't get going until the sun goes down, there's plenty to do in Balsam Lake. Sit on the deck at the Thirsty Otter and enjoy a Spotted Cow brew with a giant burger.

You can take the paddleboat out for an early evening spin around the lake. Sip a glass of Dancing Dragonfly Winery's Tap Dance while you relax on the dock.

Maybe even head to Sherrard's on Big Blake Lake for a beer, live music and some great conversation. 

Then gather your s'mores fixings for marshmallows roasted over an open flame at our bonfire pit.

Whatever your pleasure, Up North Cabin Rentals are truly a little slice of Up North paradise!

Getting Around On Big Blake Lake

It seems like as we enter each new season it becomes our favorite time of year at the cabin. We love the leaves changing in the fall, the way the snow transforms the landscape in winter, and the new life of spring. But there’s something special about summer. It’s when we get the chance to get out on the water and really enjoy the lake. The dock is in, the ice is out, the water’s (ahem, relatively) warm.

With prime fishing and a straightaway that’s perfect for towing a tube or skier, Big Blake Lake is home to many different types of watercraft.

We see all kinds of smaller boats. From canoes to kayaks, they glide through the water, taking time to enjoy the scenery and get a glimpse of local wildlife. They go slow enough to be able to watch the loons bob up and down in the water, or the turtles sunning themselves on the rocks. We’ve spent many enjoyable afternoons in the kayaks or pedaling around the lake in the paddleboat. Sometimes going slow allows us to experience the most of what the lake has to offer.


The fish bite best around dawn and dusk and that’s when we see the aluminum fishing boats and bass boats floating around on the water. Anchors dropped, lines cast, the fishermen sit as still as statues, until a tug on the line spurs them into action. From rowboats to high-end deck boats, if it floats, they’ll be fishing from it.

Pontoon boats take the party out on the water. Sometimes they putter around the edges of the lake, giving everyone a chance to wave at their neighbors. Other times they’re a floating swim platform streaming music across the open water of the lake into all hours of the night. Fast enough to get the wind blowing through your hair, they’re still slow enough to take a scenic turn or two around the lake.

The ski boats flash by, towing tubes full of bouncing kids or a talented slalom skier or two. They leave a wake that sends waves splashing against the dock or rolling onto the sandy shore.

Seeing the seaplane floating on the lake is a treat. When the engine cranks over we head for the deck so we can watch it take off. Then we keep our ears tuned for the sound of the motor waiting for it to circle the lake before it lines up, coming in for a graceful landing.

So many ways to get out on the water and enjoy the lake. We can’t say which one is our favorite because we love them all! How about you?


The "Up North" Feel

We’re always on the lookout for cabin décor. Our favorite thing to do is buy from local vendors and artists. When we were designing Cabin on Blake and Cabin on Blake Too, we worked with a local artisan to create some one-of-a-kind pieces: the bar stools and log headboards in both cabins, a vanity, the gorgeous railing in Cabin on Blake and more!

We also love to repurpose well-loved items or sentimental pieces into something new. The mason jar light fixture got its start as a tree that had to be cut down when we moved Cabin on Blake Too onto the lot. It just about killed us to have to tear down those beautiful trees so Joe saved one for me and made that stunning light fixture out of it. If you’re short on your own raw materials, with garage sale season just weeks away, there will be plenty of opportunity to find someone else’s junk to repurpose into your own treasure.

There’s no shortage of gift shops in the darling little towns spread all over northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. One of our favorite places to stop on the way to the cabin is Pure-n-Simple in Amery. They’ve got old-fashioned candy, fantastic food, and some super cute signs and other rustic items that fit in perfect with our “up north” décor.

If you can’t find something in person, Etsy is a great place to look for one-of-a-kind items and many of them can be personalized. We love looking through the Wisconsin shops like Reclaim Vintage Charm. The headboards and furniture they make out of reclaimed wood makes us want to invest in another cabin so we can buy more furnishings.

Decorating the cabin is one of our favorite past-times and we’ll probably never stop looking for fun, unique items to add that extra bit of atmosphere to our lakeside getaway!

Top 5 Things to Do at the Cabin - Winter Edition

It’s that time of year… the holidays are over, spring is way too far away and the winter doldrums are setting in. If you’re looking for something to do to chase those blah’s away, check out the Top 5 Things to Do at Up North Cabin Rentals in Winter!


#5 - Ice Fishing - Many of our guests have enjoyed fishing from the shore or the dock in the summer. But winter is a great time to try your luck at pulling a 40+” muskie out of the water or filling up on panfish. There have been reports of Muskie, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. Just make sure you check regulations and ice conditions before you set up!



#4 - Snowshoeing - Guests can snowshoe right on the lake, around one of the cabins, or on one of the trails nearby. One of our favorites is the Somers Lake Trail just east of Frederic. 


#3 - Cross Country Skiing -Grab your poles and strap on those skis! From nice, flat trails for beginners to hills and twisty turns, there are tons of cross country trails in the area.


#2 - Snowmobiling - We’re lucky to have over 350 miles of groomed snow mobile trails right here in Polk County! And you can access them directly from the lake. For more info:

#1 - Nothing! Despite all of the incredible recreational opportunities around, sometimes our favorite thing to do is absolutely nothing at all. Curl up on the sofa, grab a book from our library, pour a glass of wine or a cup of cocoa and watch the snow fall! 


There you have it... our top five things to do at the cabin in winter. And lucky for you there are still several months of cold weather left, so plenty of time to book a weekend and get in on the fun!


The Story of the Recycled Cabin on Blake

We weren’t exactly looking for a second home. Especially not one that needed to be recycled--moved, gutted and completely rebuilt. But in mid-November of 2012, we were presented with the opportunity to purchase a house in the Cumberland area that was scheduled to be torn down. It was a charming little home with all of its original 1984 decor, but it was located on a prime piece of real estate that was about to be developed. We always try to "go green" when we can, and hated to think of the house being demolished so we tried to come up with a way to save it.

After many discussions and back and forth conversations with the owner, we put in an offer. He accepted, but…the house had to be moved by the end of the year. We already had a lot on Big Blake Lake but that only gave us about a month to make arrangements and sign the paperwork. Convinced we were crazy, we made the decision to go ahead with the purchase and our adventure began.

To meet the end of the year deadline, we had to have the home moved over twenty miles to our lot on Big Blake Lake. That meant having utility lines lifted, trees trimmed, and our new neighbors’ mailboxes removed to make room for the giant trailer.

I’ll never forget how it felt to watch our investment move down the road, inch by painful inch. Every time the truck went over a bump or the trailer shifted, my heart jumped into my throat and I thought I might pass out. Finally, finally, they made it to the lot and parked our new cabin where it would sit until spring.

Over the frigid winter, with the help of some very dear friends we’ll never be able to repay, we gutted the place. Walls came down, windows were moved around, and the interior was stripped down to the studs.

When spring finally came and the ground thawed, we were able to dig and pour the basement. The septic system was installed and we drilled the well. The home made it to its new foundation and I started to think this might not have been such a wild decision.

Then, a remarkable thing happened. Between May of 2013 and February of 2014 an amazing transformation took place. Our hard work started to pay off. New windows went in, we rearranged the interior to take advantage of the gorgeous lake views and built an incredible deck. We had custom log furniture created by a local craftsman and added our own special touches like the Mason jar light fixture that hangs from one of the trees we had to remove during the renovation.

It was and continues to be a labor of love and we can’t believe how different our Cabin On Blake looks from the one-story little rambler we first set eyes on. We hope you enjoy our little slice of paradise on Big Blake Lake just as much as we do!