It was July 2011, and Minnesota state government was shut down because of a budget impasse. That meant our planned camping trip to Bear Head Lake State Park was not going to happen.

What were we going to do with our requested days off from work? On the spur of the moment we decided to head north anyway and look at lake cabins for sale.

Neither my husband nor I had grown up with a family cabin but had greatly enjoyed visiting friends’ cabins through the years. A call to a real estate company in Grand Rapids, Minn., yielded an appointment the next day with an agent to look at properties. After quizzing us on what we were looking for (pine trees, a lake with clear water and a structure that looked like a North Woods cabin), our agent lined up a dozen or so properties to look at over two days.

One cabin caught our eye. It looked like a North Woods cabin, had many red pines, and the lake was clear. It had a fireplace. And there was a separate screen house with a deck overlooking the lake. We told the agent we wanted to make an offer. He said, “Are you sure? You’ve hardly started looking!” We were sure, and it’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

Time spent at the cabin with family and friends have been some of the most relaxing and memorable times of our lives. We’ve fished, swum, boated, listened to loons, had happy hour on the deck, had campfires by the lake, skied and snowshoed, and biked on the nearby Mesabi State Trail. We are now “experts” on wells, septic systems and splitting wood, and the cabin neighbors we have met have become great friends. We look forward to many more enjoyable years of cabin life in beautiful northern Minnesota.

Donna Drummond, Richfield