Tucked in the North Woods of Minnesota, in an area dotted with lakes, there is a winding dirt road far from any small towns. At the end, the Hideaway Resort welcomes with its giant Grain Belt sign and flowers of yellow, red and purple that surround the lodge’s grounds. Seven rustic cabins stretch along the calm lakeshore. Smiling faces hand you the keys to your utopia for the next week.

The cabin greets you with its pine-covered walls, mismatched furniture covered with cozy throw blankets and fresh breezes streaming through the open windows. The sign above the couch reads, “May God bless our cabin.” The backdoor of the patio is just five small steps to the lake. Beyond is the tranquillity of the clear water and the outstretched dock, with its aluminum boat trying to free itself from the confines and beckoning us to take a ride.

Anxious friends that you haven’t seen in a year appear with open arms and the readiness of a joke or a quick story. The red-orange sun starts to set across the lake and behind the shadowed trees. You feel deserving and relaxed. Everyone is settled in, the foldup camping chairs are circled around a now dancing, crackling fire pit. Mary tells Jill, “Seems like we were just here.”

Jill chuckles and replies, “Assume the position” as she plops down in her spot with a cold drink in one hand and a flashlight in the other. Nightfall encloses like a cave. The stars are so bright and numerous they demand attention. The search for falling stars and satellites begins, and the campfire games take center stage. The game starts off by Roger saying, “I’m going camping and I’m bringing a rope. What are you bringing?”

After a long, exciting and exhausting day, it’s time to turn in for the night. The bed is creaky and soft. Crickets are singing. Light from the campfire is twinkling throughout the room. Dreams come easy. Tomorrow awaits — there will be early morning and dusk fishing, lunch by the beach, a school of flotation devices bobbing in the water and kayaking trips. The days will roll in and out like the waves on the lake. Each one passing gives the next something we don’t have back home. The sense of paradise in a distant world will be evanescent.


CHANGE OF SEASONS! Let's shutter these cabins for the cold months ahead. Cabin Country will celebrate your beloved hunting shacks during the fall. Please send your photos and stories to cabins@startribune.com. Come wintertime, we'll turn our attention to the most iconic Minnesota hideout of all: the ice-fishing house.