You're in rare company when you can say that you own your own island. That's the lucky case for Tom and Janet Thompson of Fridley. Being at the right place at the right time, Tom attended a party 20 years ago and was talking to friends about buying a lake home when a woman overheard him and said, "I have one. It's on an island." The 1.5-acre island, complete with a geodesic dome house, is in the middle of Island Lake between Bloomer and Chetek, Wis. The Thompsons and their kids -- Anne, 10, Maggie, 18, and Luke, 20 -- spend about 40 days a year there.
Value: Paid $48,000 for it in 1988. The dome was built on the island in 1977 from a kit. The rustic dome is not insulated.
Distance: The drive takes two hours and 15 minutes. Add another 10 minutes to row from the mainland to the island.
Favorite activity: Sitting in the hot tub on the deck on a summer night, looking up at the moon and stars, and listening to the frogs.
Least favorite: It's not the mosquitoes, believe it or not. The wind blows most of them away. It's loading supplies and guests on the boat. "When guests arrive, an air horn is our doorbell," Tom said.
Area must-stop: The Main Street Cafe in Bloomer sells fantastic homemade pies.
Wildlife encounters: One morning, Tom photographed a deer and a loon swimming across the lake, as an eagle flew overhead.
Family tradition: Scrabble. Two or three games a day are part of "island time," as the Thompsons call it. It's also a video-game-free zone.