Our cabin story became a “cabins” story and a direction for our later years in life.
We grew up taking a family vacation one week every year in the 1950s and ’60s to Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota. We stayed at a resort on an island with cabins that were quite primitive by today’s standards. There were outhouses and limited hours with electricity via a generator. The bedroom walls didn’t go all the way to the ceiling. We still loved it. We fished some every day, water-skied in the afternoons, and wandered and hiked the island. I relished the gorgeous scenery.
My brother yearned for a place on “Kab” ever since he was in high school. He kept his eyes and ears open for a place, but was never in a position to consider buying. In 1975, Lake Kabetogama became part of the new Voyageurs National Park and our island resort was torn down. For a few years, we never made it back up to Kab. In the mid-1980s, we vacationed with our own families on Kabetogama. We fell in love with the area again. In 1988, we lived in Minneapolis and my brother’s family in Chicago. We bought a resort that had three nice two-bedroom cabins built in the late ’40s, some outbuildings, and debris from a fire that burned the main lodge a few years before but not the cabins. It was called Chippewa Lodge. The place was neglected for a few years until someone bought the 5 acres with cabins and began cleaning up the burned mess. We came along and bought it after that owner was worn out from the cleanup and not many rentals.
We have made many improvements and added three cabins. The rental income pays for all the expenses, as we have never taken any profit. We now have our “cabin” Up North and many friends that we made along the way over 32 years of many repeat renters.
My husband and I were managers for more than 25 years. I had seasonal work in the off season in the Twin Cities, and he was retired. My brother and his wife eventually bought a local Kabetogama general store and moved there permanently. The last five years we have relaxed a little more and have managers to run the resort.
Life is good!
Joan Bernick, Plymouth