Our daughter Addie was 10 months old when we made our first trip to Crow Wing Crest Lodge. This summer will be her 25th.
Addie likes tradition. She insists on everything in its place and a time for everything.
She will spend lots of time in the arcade building, upping her score in Crystal Castles.
She will play volleyball games that last all afternoon, shut down the sauna late at night, eat a couple of brats at the Monday night wienie roast at our friends’ cabin, carry several rolls of quarters to the lodge for bingo on Sunday night and play lots of table games in our cabin.
She likes campfires, visiting the little nearby town of Akeley and driving in to Walker, where we eat our Friday night dinner every year and then walk down to the Leech Lake docks.
Last year, she swam across 11th Crow Wing Lake and got a rowboat ride back.
One year she broke tradition and went horseback riding with her sisters and friends from other cabins. I think they had a good time but they’ve never repeated.
Personally, I like to bike on the Heartland and Paul Bunyan trails — more than 100 miles of wide, paved trail at your disposal.
I have also known several guys at the resort who play golf every day at one of four or five area courses, and still have the energy to fish late at night. I fish only one day, with another daughter, Caroline. It’s our tradition.
There have been two owners during our time at Crow Wing Crest. John and Kim Bowen bought the resort in 2000, and along with Kim’s brother, Kris, and a few others, they keep things shipshape. John also does reflexology sessions, Kim adds aromatherapy, and they have been known to bring in a massage therapist.
The lodge, built in 1898 as a headquarters for hunters, is a beautiful log and timber number with big screened windows, wood floors, a fireplace, snack bar and a pool table where I have played my friend Eric countless times. The room feels like a set from a 1948 movie, and you can imagine the nightly dinners that used to be served there.
But that was way before our time. We’ve only been going for 25 years.
More information: Crow Wing Crest, on the north side of 11th Crow Wing Lake in Akeley, Minn., has 19 housekeeping cabins and two campsites. In high season, two-bedroom cabins start at $205 per night (1-800-279-2754; 1-218-652-3111; www.crowwing.com).