I guess I married Dan for love, not lakeshore. That is how I explain a wife and husband of deep Minnesota stock pairing up, with no family cabin on either side.
But we do have an annual trip to a cabin we consider ours because we’ve been there every Memorial Day weekend since 1980: Split Rock Cabins #10, on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our girls, Julia and Hannah, each traveled there in car seats for the first time when they were just weeks old.
We share the cabin with friends, Dave and Lynn. Amazingly, at Split Rock Cabins, we are among the “younger” Memorial Day regulars. In the other nine cabins, some families are on their third or fourth generation of renters. And those larger clans have expanded into more than one cabin.
We’re on our second generation of resort owners. (Resort is such an imposing word for the perfectly small operation.) Walter and Carol Sve were our first hosts. Now, their son, Erik, makes his rounds during the weekend to chat and deliver the bill on a 3x5 card. Cabin 10 is modern compared to many. Down the driveway, Cabins 1 through 9 are older cabins that cozy up to the rocky shore. Cabin 10 is a bit back from water, near the main house. It looks more house-like. But inside it is a two-bedroom, knotty pine, functional kind of place.
As with most older resorts, there are no fancy amenities. The only real amenity we care about is Lake Superior 100 feet in front of us as we look out the picture window.
While I’ve never been a cabin owner, I believe most people walk into their cabin and their shoulders drop a couple of inches as they breathe in the familiar: the galley kitchen with the light gray Formica countertops, sparkling from a cleaning we didn’t have to do; the birch laminate dining table and six wooden chairs, ready for another hundred board and card games; the wood-burning, cast-iron fireplace, free of ashes from the winter’s fires; the maroon puffy comforters on the two double beds, which I’ll sink into after long chats into the evening. No. 10 is ours for the weekend that we look forward to all year, even more than Thanksgiving or birthdays.
We’ve changed a bit over the almost 40 years we’ve been hiking and relaxing on the shore, but the cabin remains the same: solid, comfortable. And then there’s the lake, ever changing yet constant. Vast, varying in color minute by minute, calm to fierce depending on the day. We hike Gooseberry, Split Rock and Tettegouche state parks, coming home to our place on the lake each night for a home-cooked meal, a few more games, and talk of plans for next year at our cabin.
Welcome Jerde, Minneapolis