My favorite home away from home has been in my family for a century and is located in the Detroit Lakes area. The original cottage was first owned by my great-great grandmother Inger, has been passed down through generations, and continues to be enjoyed throughout the summer.
The good times, traditions and fun have evolved over the years, and are beginning to be shared with the seventh generation of family members (while also expanding to multiple cottages around the lake). For decades, our yearly family reunion of now 60-plus people has centered around the weeklong Pine to Palm golf tournament because the date is predetermined with no need for negotiation. Family members come from all around the country for the event, in its 84th year. Everyone tries to get there, at least for a little while.
When I was a child, traditional lake activities prevailed. There was lots of swimming, fishing, water skiing and walks to the treat store — very similar to my mom and her brothers’ activities when they were children. My uncles started participating in the Pine to Palm tournament as young men, and in the ’70s, my generation started participating. From then on, new and varied activities became the norm. Initially, the nonparticipants became “rent-a-crowd” and we followed our golfers as closely as if it were the U.S. Open. When we weren’t on the golf course, we played endless card games and night games. There were also cooking competitions, bonfires, water skiing, parasailing, dancing — always some new activity for this energetic group.
As we became parents, we wanted our children to experience the same wonderful lake life and close family ties. Besides traditional lake activities, there were carnivals, boat parades, talent shows, ice cream socials, softball and soccer games, and even a family triathlon.
Every year, we continue to try out new ideas along with all our old favorites. Underlying it all, and most important, is the wonderful sense of family and intergenerational community and deep appreciation to our grandparents and parents for the opportunity to gather together in this beautiful place.
Chris Poe, Plymouth