Shining Rocks is the name of our family’s retreat on Lake Superior.
Ever since our parents, Beryl and Cliff Smith, bought Shining Rocks in 1970, it has drawn aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and now our children and grandchildren to it, simply to be together, and to celebrate birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, weddings and July 4th. Today my husband and I own Shining Rocks together with my brother and his wife. Our children and grandchildren come from Seattle, San Antonio and various cities in Minnesota.
Shining Rocks originated with Frank and Alice Warren, who built a beautiful log cabin with a screened porch and huge river rock fireplace in 1932. Today there are four cabins: Rock 1, the original log cabin; Rock 2, called the Merry-Go-Round because early on it was lifted off its foundation and turned 180 degrees to face the lake; Rock 3, a big garage in its first life and today a large recreation hall; and Rock 4, the newest cabin. The Warrens’ niece and several grandnieces and nephews continue to return to Shining Rocks to reminisce about the good times they had visiting Uncle Frank and Aunt Alice in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.
Good memories run deep. Everyone remembers Grandpa Smith’s huge fireplace fires — big enough that they sucked so much oxygen out of the room that even the children slowed to a drowse. Our grown children remember their happy feelings when they saw bright lights in Rock 1 that signaled Grandpa and Grandma were waiting for them. They remember waiting for their cousins to arrive and the raucous games of Monopoly, Scrabble, Hand and Foot, and Yahtzee. They reminisce about roasting wieners and burning marshmallows for s’mores, and tossing leftover pancakes to the seagulls.
Our children have introduced the grandkids to the joy of leaping off rocks and swimming in the currents of the Temperance River. They bribe their kids to jump into frigid Lake Superior and strategize with them to reroute the creek on the beach. Every July 4th we make homemade ice cream, and the rule still stands that anyone who wants to eat must turn the crank.
Lake Superior is in the front yard. The beach comes and goes with the storms. On calm days we can search for agates and launch the canoe; on stormy days, we dodge the waves and try again to capture a picture of the highest wave.
The stars are still bigger and brighter than we see in the city; the orange moon and its wide path across the lake still spell romance.
Yes, Shining Rocks continues to enrich our lives and encourage new memories, luring friends and relatives with its beauty and hospitality.
Barbara Livdahl, Spring Lake Park