Cabins on Blake

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It doesn’t happen that often. Usually the summertime is full of sunshine and balmy days. But every once in a while Mother Nature has to water the grass and we get stuck inside at the cabin. If that happens, don’t worry about it. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly rainy day activities…

Beyond the obvious lure of electronics, video games and screen time, we like to get the kids involved in a board game. One of our previous posts mentioned some of our favorites. You can check it out here. If you’re not into games, try a puzzle. This emoji one looks like it would be fun for everyone!

Pull out the arts and crafts. If you haven’t already joined the slime-making craze, you could whip up a batch of goo. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest. Get nostalgic. Remember friendship bracelets? All you need is a skein or two of embroidery floss. Or the beaded bracelets you can make on a tiny loom? How about shrink crafts? You can tuck a couple of sheets into one of your bags and create your own designs.

Gather everyone into the kitchen. Have a smoothie challenge. Write down a mix of ingredients on scrap paper. Randomly pick three or four and mix them up into a custom smoothie. The winner is the one who can drink the whole thing. Or have a cupcake decorating contest. You’ll have something ready for dessert AND you’ll entertain the family for an hour.

We’ve saved a few of our favorite rainy day activities to our Pinterest board. What are your favorite activities to do when you’re stuck inside?

What to Wear at the Cabin

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the upper Midwest has been taught from an early age one of the most important life skills… how to layer.

When I say layer I don’t mean how to make Grandma’s amazing three-layer cake or your cousin’s seven-layer dip. Here in cabin country, the only type of layering that’s important is the layering of apparel. Most of our layering happens in the winter where it can be a question of life and death. But, with cool evening temps, a bit of layering skill can come in handy even during the summer months. After scouring the internet, we came up with a few pieces we’d love to add to our own layered wardrobe.

The base layer should be a good tank. It can be worn over a swimsuit during the day when the sun is beating down on the lake or under another shirt when it starts to cool off.

The perfect cabin wardrobe should mainly consist of t-shirts, at least in our humble opinion. The funnier, the more appropriate the message, the better.

Flannel. Because whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, flannel is always in style “up north.” Especially these from L.L. Bean.

Whatever you wear by the bonfire will soak up the smell, even after a wash or two. May as well make it official.

For those evenings by the fire or cool mornings sipping coffee on the deck – why not a quilt? It’s even better if it’s upcycled from all of those flannel shirts you wore out over the years!

To top it all off, you need a hat. In the summer we like a baseball cap. Keeps the sun out of our eyes while we’re out on the boat and keeps any fly away hair sufficiently under wraps. Mostly.

There you have it, the perfect layered cabin wardrobe. What are we missing? What would you add to the list?

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.

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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?

 

Lovin' the Summer Cabin!

It's almost here! Summer is breathing down our necks. The promise of lazy, sunshine-filled days lies just ahead. In a few short weeks the lake will be buzzing with the sound of pontoons and ski boats. Fish will be biting, birds will be singing, and we'll be in the middle of it all because we absolutely LOVE spending as much time as we can at the cabins during the summer.

Just for fun, we came up with a list of some of our favorite summer things:

Sitting

On the deck. On the dock. On the boat. Basically, sitting anywhere because that means we're in "relax" mode.

Up North

Being "Up North," the air smells fresher, the trees seem taller, the sky seems bluer.

Making Memories...

with our friends and family. This time we get to spend with our loved ones is precious. Carving out a weekend or a week at the lake is sacred to us.

Milky Way

Some of our guests have told us they never realized the sky held so many stars until they caught a glimpse of the night sky at the cabins!

Eagles

We have four pairs of eagles that nest on Big Blake Lake. We never get tired of watching them catch their breakfast right from the dock.

R&R

Spending time at the cabin to rest and relax recharges and restores us.

Cooking Out

Grill on the deck or patio and eat out in nature's dining room. The view is better than the one from your kitchen at home... we promise!

All the Activities

Boat, kayak, swim, fish, hike, bike... the list goes on and on. The kids can't be bored, we're not buying it, not at the lake with so many things to do.

Bonfires!

Our treat after a fun-filled day on the water.

Ice Cream

We drive into town to BLICS for a Blixer or Banana Split. Or make our own with one of those handy dandy ice cream ball contraptions. Keeps the kids busy AND we all get a treat.

Nature

Breathe in and out. Let the scent of fresh pine calm the nerves that have been frazzled by the day job. Walk barefoot through the grass. Go jump in the lake. You deserve it!

 

 

Some More S’Mores, Please!

You know that moment? The one where you’ve just grabbed a cold one out of the cooler and leaned back into an Adirondack chair next to the crackling bonfire? You’re about to pop the top on your beverage and engage in some grown-up conversation when the kids come shrieking out of the cabin with graham crackers, chocolate bars and a huge bag of marshmallows.

So what do you do? Join in the fun, of course! That’s one of our favorite things about going to the cabin…getting everyone to gather around the fire and fire up some s’mores. The grown-up conversations will wait. But biting into that heavenly combination of ooey-gooey chocolatey perfection and making a memory with the kiddos won’t!

Although history can’t seem to agree, rumor has it the Girl Scouts probably invented the tasty campfire treats back in the 1920s. Since then, variations have popped up all over. Here are some of our favorite suggestions for upping your s’mores offerings at the campfire:

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Substitute the Chocolate with:

  • Rolos
  • Nutella
  • Cookies ‘n Cream bar
  • Peanut Butter
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Andes Mints
  • Ghiradelli Squares

Substitute the Marshmallow with:

  • Peeps
  • Flavored Marshmallows
  • Marshmallow Fluff

Substitute the Graham Crackers with:

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Oreos
  • Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • Cinnamon Graham Crackers
  • Ritz Crackers

Mix In Options:

  • Sliced Strawberries
  • Sliced Bananas
  • Sliced Kiwi
  • Sliced Apples
  • Sliced Cherries
  • Pineapple Tidbits
  • Orange Slices
  • Raspberry, Grape or Strawberry Jelly
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Chocolate or Vanilla Frosting
  • Ice Cream
  • Coconut
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Mini M&Ms
  • Red Hots
  • Bacon

Oh, and if you get rained out at the lake or get a craving for some more s’mores over the winter months, did you know you can stack them up and pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to get your fill any time of year? Or heat them up in a cast iron skillet? ;) We kind of wish we hadn’t figured that out!

Let us know if you make any mixed-up s’mores and what your favorites are!

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!

Get Out The Games!

One of our favorite things to do at the cabin is pull out the board games. We can spend all afternoon and into the evening sitting around the table, trying to outplay each other. Depending on whether we’ve got kids, couples or families playing, we’ve got a list of favorites.

For the kids:

Sometimes it’s fun to play against each other and sometimes the kiddos do better if we’re playing as a team against the game. One of our favorite cooperative games for the little ones is Hoot Owl Hoot. It’s for two to four players ages four-and-up. The goal is to work as a team to get everyone’s owls back to the nest before the sun rises. The graphics are cute and the kids love “hooting” for the owls. Peaceable Kingdom has other cooperative games, too. We also love Race To the Treasure.

Spot-It is another family favorite and even the little ones can play. It comes in a round tin and is super easy to take on the go. There are several variations so you can change it up if the kids start to get bored. The goal is to match symbols on the cards. Usually the kids do better than the grown-ups on this one.

For the family:

If you’ve got a good sized group of six-to-eight people, it’s fun to test everyone’s artistic skills with Telestrations. It’s like playing “telephone” but with pictures. Each person has a card and has to draw a picture of what’s on their card. The next person has to write a guess and pass it on. The next person has to draw what the guess was. By the time the original tablet gets back to the person who started it, the group may have consistently guessed correctly or they may have veered completely off course.

Tapple is fast-paced fun. Someone draws a card with a category and then everyone takes turns trying to name something that starts with a different letter of the alphabet before the time runs out. The catch is, you can only use each letter once. We’ve been known to get rather creative with this one!

King Of Tokyo is a go-to family favorite. It took a few rounds for the kids to master it and they still fight over who gets to be the Meka Dragon, but we always have a good time.

I could go on and on. Can you tell we’re a big gaming family? Some of our other family favorites are Sushi Go, Headbandz, Wits & Wagers, Scrambled States, Blokus… and too many more to name!

For the more serious gamers:

We bought the game Ticket To Ride a few years ago and have really enjoyed it. The goal is to build your trains between your destination tickets before you run out or someone has the gall to block you. Bonus, the kids learn a bit about geography since they have to figure out where their destination tickets are.

Codenames is a new favorite we received as a gift. A clue giver tries to prompt his or her teammate(s) to guess their words on the board without choosing the code word. We became addicted to this one last summer and played over and over until the kids finally made the adults wrap it up and get dinner going!

Some of our other more challenging games are Seven Wonders, Settlers of Catan, & Pandemic.

We have plenty of games at the cabins if you forget to bring your own. Other ideas…

  • Pack a deck of cards and teach the kids how to play good old-fashioned solitaire with real cards.
  • Jot down a bunch of ideas on slips of paper and start an impromptu game of Charades.
  • Start up a round of Would You Rather.
  • Engage the kiddos in a few turns of 20 Questions.
  • Pick a puzzle and try to finish it up before vacation ends.

What are some of your family’s favorite games? Have you played any of the ones on our list?

We've got Spring Fever

Can you feel it? Spring is in the air! True, we had a blizzard warning last week, but signs are everywhere that old man winter is stepping aside. Hostas are sending their first shoots up out of the still frozen ground. I saw a baby cardinal on a bird feeder outside my window. The kids at the bus stop are wearing shorts. (That probably shouldn’t be a reliable indication of the season seeing as how some of them will wear shorts all year long.) But still… the promise of warmer weather is coming!

And with the change of season comes plenty of recreational opportunities at the cabin. We still have some availability and would love to host your spring getaway. Here’s what’s happening around the area:

Chateau St. Croix Winery is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Wine Tasting the weekend of March 17th & 18th.

Glenna Farms will be offering farm tours and free pancakes with plenty of maple syrup during Maple Fest the first weekend in April.

Got a craving for some smelt? Take your pick from three different smelt fry dinners at the Rod & Gun Club in Balsam Lake or the EMT Smelt Fry (both April 8th) or the American Legion Smelt Fry in Turtle Lake on April 9th.

Cushing is hosting their annual Spring Bash on April 22nd with a lasagna dinner and live auction.

Once May arrives the event calendar will be bursting with fun things to do.

St. Croix Valley’s Fall Sampler is set for May 5th. Local restaurants, breweries, bakeries and more will be offering sips and samples of food and beverages.

Fawn-Doe-Rosa opens for the spring/summer season on May 6th.

Train rides in and out of Osceola start the weekend of Mother’s Day, Saturday, May 13th. My kids still talk about riding the train back and forth, a highlight for a fun family excursion!

In addition to the fun things to do listed above, there are many local art festivals, concerts, garden sales and get-togethers going on in the area. Spring is a great time to visit the lake. The snow is melting, the flowers are budding and the fish are still biting! Let us know if we can help you enjoy a little slice of spring cabin paradise before high season sets in!

A Cabin Craving

One benefit to owning a VRBO type vacation home is that we get to take advantage of it ourselves from time to time. A couple of weeks ago we spent a long weekend as a family. I wish we could get there more often but work, kid activities, family obligations and all of the various other commitments prevent us from visiting as much as we’d like. This past weekend I was missing the cabin and figured the kind of comfort food I love to indulge in while we’re there would provide a quick fix.


So I pulled out the crockpot and whipped up some homemade ham and bean soup. It’s so easy to throw together and smells so good while it simmers all day. I don’t really use a recipe, it changes each time depending on what I’ve got on hand, but here’s a rough draft in case you want to give it a try…


I start with a leftover ham bone, preferably one with some meat still attached. Toss it in your crockpot and add as much water as you can fit. If you’re feeling extremely ambitious, go ahead and toss in some chopped up celery or onion. Or do like I did and just throw the top on. Set it to low and let it cook overnight. Your whole house will smell good while you’re sleeping, and you’ll probably dream of pork chops or bacon.


In the morning, strain the broth then add it back to the crockpot. Add a chopped onion or two, a few cups of pre-soaked beans and a handful of chopped carrots. Get creative with what you have on hand. Corn, celery, diced tomatoes… anything goes. Sometimes I sautee my onion, carrots and garlic in a little olive oil before I add it. When I’m in a hurry, I don’t.


Assuming you had a ham bone, you probably have some leftover ham. I cube a few cups and toss those in and add a twist or two of fresh ground salt and pepper. Maybe even a bay leaf or two. You can go nuts on the spices or keep it simple. Again, no rules, no pressure.


Now sit back, read a book on the couch, snuggle under the covers and watch a movie, or get out and about and do something fun with the family for the day. The beauty of slow cooking is that when you’re ready to eat, your homemade ham bone soup will be ready for you.


One last piece of advice… make sure you make a lot. This is one that freezes well and if you serve it with some warm cornbread even the kids may come back for seconds.


So there you have it… comfort food to get us through the last few weeks of winter. What’s your go-to slow cooker meal? I’d love to hear from you so I can add to my recipe book!
 

Our Most Popular Team Member... Blakey the Moose

We wanted to introduce you to the most popular member of the Up North Cabin Rentals team… Blakey the Moose!

He’s in charge of hospitality, making sure our guests feel welcome, keeping everyone warm during a cold winter stay, or giving the kids someone to snuggle while they watch a movie on one of our big TVs. He knows his way around the lake and loves to go for walks in the woods around the cabins. If you let him have a little bit of popcorn or a sip of hot cocoa he’ll be your friend forever and might even bring you breakfast in bed.

 His favorite thing to do up at the cabin is to sit on the deck and listen to the wind blow through the trees or relax on the dock and see what the catch of the day might be. He's also been known to hunker down with a good book and keep an eye on the lake from the huge window in Cabin on Blake Too.

Or take a ride on a visiting pooch. But often times that doesn't go as planned and he can end up covered in slobber. If you happen to catch a picture of him, tag us at #UpNorthCabinRentals or #BlakeyTheMoose.

Blakey hasn't always been a fixture on Big Blake Lake. In fact, there aren't very many moose in the entire state of Wisconsin. Experts estimate the population of all moose in the state to be less than 50. But every once in a while we'll find out about a moose who's probably wandered over from Michigan or Minnesota. Or maybe even all the way from Canada. We hear those northern moose like our Wisconsin summers.

As for Blakey, he's staying put, right here on Big Blake Lake. And he's hoping you'll come visit real soon!

Babymoons... one last getaway to the lake

If you haven't had a baby, been pregnant, or known someone who has in the past several years, you might not have heard of a babymoon. It's a time for expectant couples to get away, relax, and spend quality time together before their beautiful, crying, needy bundle of joy arrives. A babymoon can be as elaborate or simple as a honeymoon. Some couples go all out, fly to international locations, sunbathe on a tropical beach, or get that last stamp on their passport for the foreseeable future. Others might take time off work, silence the cell phone, pull the shades and hunker down for one last staycation at home.

But flying while pregnant can be tricky. And who wants to risk Zika virus or subject themselves to potential lost luggage, travel delays or sand in their maternity swimsuit? Some cruise lines won't even let expectant mamas on the ship, depending on how far along they are in their pregnancy. Staying home can be relaxing, but the piles of onesies still need to be washed, the crib still hasn't been assembled and a soothing bath would be nice, if only that belly wasn't in the way when mom-to-be tries to bend over and scrub out the bottom of the tub.

Here at Up North Cabin Rentals, we have the perfect space for a babymoon in either one of our cabins. Expectant couples can get away from home without having to go far from home. We've had several couples take advantage of our cabins for their last relaxing hurrah and the positive feedback we've received made us want to spread the word!

If you book a winter weekend you can sit inside and sip cocoa while you watch the snow fall, snuggle under the covers with your sweetie, and even get a little snowshoeing in on the lake. The summer months provide sunsets on the deck, gentle tours of the lake via paddleboat or a pontoon, and fishing from the end of the dock if that's your thing. Spring and fall are some of the most peaceful times on the lake. The trees are either blazing with color or budding with new growth. The wildlife is either busy preparing for winter or waking up to a new season in spring. If peace, quiet, and rest are on at the top of your babymoon must haves, you can't do better than a lakeside cabin stay.

We've had babies. We know about the joy, love and miraculous blessing that adding a new life to your family can bring. But we also know about the sleepless nights, ear-piercing screeches and blowout diapers. So if your family is about to expand, keep us in mind for one last week or weekend of relaxation. And if you're looking for something special to give that expectant couple in your life--something they'll appreciate and look back on fondly in the days, months and years to come--consider a gift certificate to one of our cabins for a babymoon stay.

Mom and Dad will thank you. And remember you when they're washing that sinkful of bottles, rocking that colicky babe or folding their fifth load of onesies.

A Winter Weekend at the Cabin...

“Shhhh! Do you hear that?” I asked.

My three children paused their whining, squabbling and pestering for a blissful second.

“What?” one of them asked.

“The quiet. Do you hear the quiet?”

Then the teenager put her headphones back on, the youngest one made a fart joke and the middle one rolled her eyes. That’s how our weekend at Cabin On Blake Too began.

But a funny thing happened over the next forty-eight hours. The headphones got stuffed into a backpack, the eye rolls took a break and the fart jokes, well, the fart jokes didn’t change. He’s eight, come on!

As we snuggled on the couch, drank hot chocolate with marshmallows AND chocolate syrup and broke out some of the games the kids received for Christmas, we joked, laughed, and made some authentic family memories. We thought we’d get out and explore the parks and recreation opportunities around the area or at least check out some of the cute shops or restaurants or wineries.

But the kids loved walking out on the frozen lake and peering into the holes in the ice we’d watched a guy drill that morning. They enjoyed finding tracks in the snow and trying to figure out which animal had visited the night before. They invented silly games and pulled out the army men and spent hours keeping each other amused, giving hubby and me some much needed peace and relative quiet. So we stayed in and spent the weekend snug and warm in our jammies. Because, hey, we could!

Sadly, it seemed like just when we started to relax and really enjoy ourselves it was time to pack up and head home. So our family learned two major things from our time spent on Big Blake Lake this past weekend.

Number one… we need to take time out of our busy schedules, sports practices, gymnastics classes, meetings, ski club, work, etc. to reconnect. We’re worth it, our family is worth it, and we need to just carve out the time and make it happen.

Number two… next time we’ll book at least one more day!

Thanks Caarin and Joe for sharing your little slice of paradise with those of us who don’t yet have our own! 

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!

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#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!

 

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#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: http://www.polkcountysnomobileatv.com/

#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!

Spend Time Making Memories.

Cabins on Blake is a place where memories are made! 

Cabins on Blake featured on Travel Wisconsin- "5 Wisconsin cabin rentals close to the Twin Cities"


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We are so excited, humbled, and genuinely surprised to find this article on the Travel Wisconsin website, where Cabin on Blake and Cabin on Blake “Too” were featured. The article featured cabins they suggested to visit near the Twin Cities!

What an honor! All we have ever wanted in this mission called the “Cabins on Blake”, is to be able to share this little slice of paradise with others. So that others can find peace, fun, and perhaps quality family time that they are looking for. Hearing from families and guests on a weekly basis about how much they loved their time is the most amazing gift. We feel so blessed to be able to share this.


Thank you, to our guests, our families and everyone that has supported us through this adventure! 
We are blessed beyond words!

- The Pannkuks


I Live for Autumn

Hoodies, bonfires, the sounds of leaves crunching, the smell of the air...

I live for Autumn. 


Although this time of year is a little bitter sweet at the Cabins on Blake, it is absolutely my favorite. It is time to remove the docks from the water, put the summer fun away and get ready for a transformation of landscape. Here are a few pictures that we have captured over the past few weekends.  So much beauty!