2012 Northwoods Journal


Thank you one and all for being a part of our Resort family in 2012. It was a great year and we appreciate your friendship. May you take the wonderful memories of the past year along with you for the coming year. May 2013 be just as special to you and your loved ones. Wishing you and your special ones a very Happy New Year.

12/24/12: Merry Christmas one and all!


There is snow again, just in time for the holidays and the Lodge and Resort are decorated for the season. We'll be spending the holidays here with Resort guests and family. The cabin/suite trees are up and decorated so that Santa can visit everyone here! Bella loves to be outside in the snow and while Daisy will join here too she seems to prefer a cozy spot in front of the fireplace. JR is working his way through finals and looking forward to the end of the semester. We've collected almost 400 photos this year and you'll see them all in our online photo gallery (click the photo to the right) and I predict that we'll have over 400 by the end of 2012--GREAT memories! Our Cabin #12 project has been completed just in time for the holidays--check back soon on the updated photos here on the website or on Facebook.


Pretty quiet here at the Lodge these days. Winter weather comes and goes, snow followed by rain. There is already ice on the river and back bay but comes and goes some days too. This week I started the remodel in Cabin #12, starting with a plumbing redo in the upstairs bathroom complements of contractor error when the cabin was built it seems and yesterday I pulled out the wood stove (tearing out the old tile) and the FUN task of scraping the popcorn spackle off the ceiling.

The arrows are hung—will you find yours? It was a HUGE challenge selecting our Top 10 arrows of the season. There were 137 true works of art created by our Resort friends and families and choosing the Top 10 was so very, very difficult this year. Over the next few days we'll roll out our favorites.  These arrows were selected based on content (the story told!) and the artist's creativity. We hope you enjoy them as much we do--this first arrow was selected because I enjoyed seeing our new Gnome Village through the eyes of this artist. The Top 10 will be featured on our Facebook page.


I've been busy adding new photos to Facebook and the Resort's online photo gallery. On Sunday our Bear Island Lake neighbors, the Coopers, stopped in to say hello and they commented on the gorgeous fall colors in the driveway--Gary said I needed to take some pictures! Prompting me to take a moment to appreciate them myself! I'm fond of one of the photos where I was able to capture the special way that our drive winds through the woods along with some beautiful colors. Not only did I get to enjoy the colors but the smell of the fall leaves was wonderful and our resident fawn popped out along the way but she was camera shy.

It's official! The end of our 12th summer season here at the Resort has come to a close. The five (5) seasonal cabins are CLOSED and prepped for the coming winter season. As I prep the cabins I line up my ideas (projects) for NEXT season and I think we'll be doing the bathrooms in Cabins #1, #5 and #6....any other suggestions?

I've been busy here trying to finish up my 2012 my project list and I am thrilled to say the new Lodge deck is finished! The new deck inspired me to make a few changes here at/in the Lodge with some new furniture and deck seating--no photos yet as I'm just putting the finishing touches on that phase of the project. Hmmmm, now I should paint the Lodge!

The weather looks promising this coming week and so I'll tackle painting the Fish House AND I so excited that construction will FINALLY begin on the Boat House next month. The site was prepped early in the spring and the concrete was poured in August.


Just finished a new birding page for the web site inspired by our friend and guest Harry Elliott who stays with us in September.


It's nearly a full moon and this morning at 3am I woke up to a full pack of wolves howling. This pack seemed to be somewhere out the driveway a bit towards Highway 21! I haven't heard a pack of wolves howling in ages!


Heard a lone wolf howling this morning around 6am. It was a big foggy today and sounds can be deceiving but it seemed as though the wolf was down near the bay. Today is our 25th Wedding Anniversary--any connection?!

Fall fishing has been TOUGH with limited action and few quality fish--need some cooler weather.


Bella is a year old today. She's already a bit larger Pepper and JR wants me to visit the Ely Vet Clinic to see what she weighs now. We think that she's about 110 lbs but she has a lot of muscle so it's hard to tell.


I've added 49 photos to the online photo gallery--check out the photos of the "blue moon" and other bits and pieces of life here on Bear Island Lake. Check out my new "favorite thing" on Facebook--a handcrafted personalized stepping stone made by Barb Knight. Happy Birthday Nancy E.!


I realized again tonight just how fast our summer season goes by--we grilled for the first time all year tonight! Sadly, we are counting down the days to the end of the season when we close down the five (5) seasonal cabins for the winter. If you get to Ely's Farmer's Market check out Lily Dove's Cottage Cheese Dill Bread--YUM! Thanks Nancy E. for finding it!

Congratulations to the Flacks who honeymooned here at the Lodge AND the Rothe's who recently spent their 10th Anniversary here with us. Wishing you the best


A bit of wild weather blew through this afternoon--some very heavy rain and ping pong ball size hail. Of course, I got caught outside during the start of it and I can tell you that a ping pong size hail ball leaves a lump! The rain was coming down so hard with the hail for about 20 minutes that the hail was rolling down the hill and piling up. Only one broken window from the hail and surprisingly no vehicles were damaged so life is good!

Check out the video we posted on Facebook: Bella discovers CATS!


Here we are again, wrapping up our 12th summer season with the Labor Day weekend just around the corner. We've had a busy summer and the days have gone by much too fast and we are starting to see fall colors in the leaves. A special thank you to Catherine C. for "adding a bit of color" to our front desk last week. Lovely!

Bella has definitely GROWN into life here at the Resort and I think she keeps everyone (2-legged and 4-legged) entertained. Daisy on the other hand has settled into a slower pace although yesterday she spent quite a bit of time at the beach.

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis for you Tammy!) have made two appearances during the past week. Hopefully, it will be an active fall season.


A yummy 46 degrees again this morning--great sleeping weather! The last few weeks have been super busy at the resort with lots of guest activity. We've started work on the Lodge deck and the concrete has been poured on the boat house.

Had a little be of bear activity two weeks ago--took down all of the bird feeders and that seemed to be the end of it.

The best night to watch the Perseid meteor shower is August 12th according to the EarthSky Web site. The meteors will fall most often from about 2 a.m. until dawn on Sunday, August 12.

Lots of new photos posted to our Resort Facebook page and online photo gallery--be sure to check it out! Thank you also for the great TripAdvisor reviews!


Happy Monday everyone looks like the next couple of days will be warm again but then it's going to cool off to the upper 70s! Had another great with the Craigs again--thanks so much for the YUMMY Iowa sweet corn. We've added new photos (some great JULY Walleye pics) to the online photo gallery.

Check out our newest TripAdvisor reviews--what a great way to start out my Monday!


Is it hot enough for everyone? I know we have nothing to complain about compared to other parts of the country--the beach is just about the busiest spot here at the resort! Friday the 13th makes me think of October and cooler weather!

Vacation Reminder: Before you get settled back into the hustle and bustle of your daily lives remember to take a moment to send us your photos AND if you have not already done so think about your 2013 vacation dates and put them on our calendar--2013 is filling up already!

07/02/12: Northern Lights Lodge is now on Pinterest!

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Well, it's times like this that makes one REALLY appreciate the "rolling terrain" that we have here. The rain continues to come down and down and down! There is over 3" of new rain this morning and it looks like more is on the way. The good news is that there's no flooding here but we'll have to repair some washouts again.

Gary hasn't been home since yesterday morning and they have worked through the night at several of the Center's Duluth buildings with major flooding in Duluth. In fact the Duluth Zoo is underwater and folks are looking for seals and polar bears! Duluth has had as much as 6" of rain and that's before the run-off happens. Highway 61 and I-35 is closed north of Duluth. The NWS at 3am advised no travel along the Northshore and in parts of Duluth.


Good morning Chuck! Hope you made it home safely. Sorry you are back at work but we'll see you in September! Say hi to Debbie.


The Walleye action on Bear Island Lake was HOT the last two days--the new Fish Cleaning Facility got a major work out yesterday. I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen so many Walleyes in a 24 hour period. I can also tell you that they were delicious and we thank the guys for dinner last night! We'll see what the shift in our weather does during the rest of the week.

><((((> ... ><((((> ... ><((((>


Just put the finishing touches on new cabin floor plans sketches for the web site--each cabin and suite's floor plan has been redone, the website has been updated throughout.

Kid's Korner Update:

We always try to have something new at the resort for the kids. This year we've added Gnomes (see how many of them you can find!), we expanded the Lodge's kid's korner with new books, games and other activities. The ducks were such a success last year that we expanded this activity too!


Hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial weekend. Even with the rain everyone managed to get it some fishing and time on the decks. Fishing has been pretty good and everything seems to be biting--the new fish house got a major work out this past week. Todd B. described the fish house as "inspirational" and absolutely the nicest and cleanest fish house he has ever been in.

Bonnie K. found Lady Slippers right here at NLL! Wayne and Alice saw a moose yesterday! David Z. had River Otters swimming along side as he kayaked. The Loons and Mergansers are nesting in the back bay and we see them swimming and feeding daily. I just love the northwoods.

It feels like the last week has been filled with rain and then more rain. Wait, it has! I'm not complaining and we needed every drop. I've lost track of the totals in the rain gauge but we must be between 7 and 10 inches. The creek beside Cabin #1 is flowing fast, the water flow is so fast that you can hear it from the deck of Cabin #3.


The northland area has gone from very dry conditions and extreme fire danger levels to flood warnings (these flood warnings have no impact on us). It has been raining steadily since Saturday with another 3" in today's forecast. My rain gauge runneth over. I've taken advantage of these rain days to add/update photos and floor plan drawings on the individual cabin/suites pages. I've also added images to the Photo Gallery.


The Chuckle of the Day--Steve C. was fishing by himself off the dock today and he landed "the big one". Being all by himself he couldn't manage his fishing pole and the landing net so he did what any savvy fisherman would do: he maneuvered his catch around the dock and boat(s), walked down the dock and proceeded to walk the fish onto the shore! Should have had a video camera for this one!


A little piece of our Bear Island Lake history was lost last night due to a fire. Two of the three buildings at Tar Paper Annie's were destroyed in a fire. A resort guest fishing near the narrows took photos and I will try and post them later. Our thanks once again to Babbitt Fire, the Forest Service and MN DNR for putting out the fire so quickly.


It was a "tough" Opening Weekend with more than a Walleye Chop during the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday's winds were some of the strongest that I can recall with white caps actually rolling up and over the dock nearest the beach. Regardless, I know that there was more than one fish fry over the weekend!


Busy, busy here at the Resort. The new fish house is up and running just in time for the Opener weekend. I think Gary did a great job coordinating this project AND it's so Green with energy efficient outdoor lighting, a motion sensor inside so the interior energy efficient lights only go on (and stay on) as long as someone is inside, the new on demand water heater is energy efficient and of course the fish cleaning by-product gets hauled away and spread onto local pastures and is very earth friendly!

Within the resort all sorts of projects are being wrapped up: new carpet in Cabin #6 (and a new energy efficient water heater), new carpet and doors in Cabin #2 and the deck on Cabin #5 is being replaced.


Lovely morning with Swans swimming in the back bay below the Lodge. Perfect way to start the day!


Just a little too much excitement around here yesterday. I smelled smoke late in the afternoon and so Gary and I went out to find the source on the 4-wheeler. Shortly after that the Forest Service had a search plane flying above. There was smoke traveling across Highway 21 right at our driveway. A fire was burning in the Bear Island Ski Trail. I am so thankful for the fast response of the Forest Service with two fire fighting planes and their ground crew. I added photos to the Photo Gallery of the Forest Service planes scooping water out of Bear Island Lake to fight the blaze.


A spectacular showing of the Northern Lights last night (I missed them) but local photographer, Heidi Pinkerton, captured them best! Take a look at Root River Photography and see for yourself!


An ABSOLUTELY perfect way to start my day: a great cup of coffee on the Lodge deck and I heard the Loons! The Loons returning to Bear Island Lake always makes it feel like spring for me. It's "warm" this morning at 46 degrees, it's lightly raining and there is fog across the water.


This spring is feeling like last fall. Our weather seems to be warm 60+ degrees one day and 22 degrees the next.....brrrr! It was snowing and very windy yesterday. Hard to imagine an even earlier fishing opener date after days like this!

We're busy here working on the resort. We recently "raised" and leveled Cabin #2 and it's deck--next up is new doors. Once it warms up we'll be putting new carpet in Cabin #2 and Cabin #6!

The new PEDAL BOAT is on its way and should arrive on Thursday!


Looks like we officially have ice out here on Bear Island Lake!


So where has the month of March gone? It's been an unusual month to be sure. The snow is gone already. The trees are budding. The ice is out in the back bay and across the lake to beyond the island. I noticed yesterday that the lake has come up a bit and there was enough melt and thaw for the creek to start flowing. We've had 70+ degree days this month so we've been working on our usual spring projects. I'm not convinced that winter is really gone yet because the Loons haven't migrated home. We had some rain last week and that has started the "green up" and with the rain, the Spring Peepers came out too. Usually the Loons are just a day or two behind the Peepers but when I last checked the online tracking site the Loons hadn't left Florida yet! I can't wait to hear the Loons.

Bella is growing so fast (she stands taller than Daisy and stands at about 26" at the shoulders) and she has so much energy. I've been calling her "Billy Goat" lately because she is constantly leaping on top of and over boulders and anything else that presents an obstacle. Over the weekend Miss Bell discovered the open water at the beach and went swimming--Daisy stayed out of the water! Bella's zip is making us see Daisy's age and she has no desire to keep up with Bella. I've added a new 6-month photo of Bella to the right.


It's been snowing on and off since my last posting--everything looks fresh and clean with the new snow! Guests saw a pair of wolves crossing Highway 21 from the resort yesterday.

Well, it didn't take long to find a new project: Cabin #11 is getting a bit of an update as I scrape off the "popcorn spackle" from the ceiling, repaint the ceiling and replace all of the lights in the living room, kitchen and dining room, topping the project off with new hardware in the kitchen.


It's here! It's back! The Northern Lights Lodge site returns-follow the link on our home page. When we launched the new web site design it meant recreating each and every page. You'll find a link/photo icon on the home page of our site next to the link/icon for this Journal and a temporary link to the right. Enjoy.

Bella is growing leaps and bounds -- she is a big as Daisy now minus about 50 pounds! She and I are an item and when I'm away she let's my guys know that she's not too thrilled about it (she talks, you've got to see/hear it to understand, and she paces from door to door) I figure it's good for them all and they can spend some "quality" time together. I'm pretty sure that Bella is going to be a water dog: she loves bath water, she dunks her head under in their water bucket and blows bubbles, in the shower she eats and chases the water streams and turns her face right into it. As you can see, I'm easily entertained!


It's impossible for me to be idle for very long so over the past month or so I have painted each of the four suites, the laundry room and cabin #3! With the fresh new look I decided to clean the carpets too rather than wait for spring. Once I was all done I just couldn't help myself so I added new quilts in the bedrooms, lodge decor throughout and other amenities. Fun stuff!

Hmmm....now what can I do?


Another Ely Winter Festival is behind is! Northern Lights partnered again this year with Bill Slaughter's Northwoods Guide Service and hosted a dog sled ride event each Sunday during the festival. I've posted photos of the snow sculptures on our Facebook page.


Bright blue skies and sunshine today--just returned from my an errand in Ely and as I was preparing to turn into the Resort driveway a wolf crossed Highway 21. We haven't had any troubles with the wolves and see no sign of them here within the Resort but I will be keeping Daisy and Bella on a leash when we go for our walks--at least for the time being.


The 2012 Ely Winter Festival has officially begun--the snow sculptures are busy in Whiteside Park!


The fresh snow over the past few days is perfect and just in time for the Winter Festival!


The Northern Lights were out this morning at 3:45am (I slept through it) but local photographer, Steve Foss, captured some really amazing images of the show! Our guests this week in Cabin #3 have lots of Grossbeaks at the feeder AND a Pine Martin. Last night near 1:30am they snapped a picture of what looks to be a nocturnal flying squirrel.

We've received a bit more snow--there appears to be about 10" on the ground and great ice for fishing. The Winter Festival crew is busy forming and filling the blocks with snow for the snow sculptures. Can't wait to see the finished designs.

While things are "snow slow" this winter we are busy taking advantage of the time by painting the interiors of the suites--two down, two to go and then on to the laundry room.

Bella is a joy! I'm so glad that Gary talked me into having another Great Dane. She's definitely spunky but she has such a great personality and loves to give kisses. She's here in the office with me snoring away after a busy day around the resort. She's almost 4 months old and weighs over 50 pounds.

Jewel's cubs (they think there are two) have arrived and listening to the Bear Center's web cam they really do sound like babies.


Have you heard the news yet? Jewel is expected to give birth any day.


Not too much new here in Ely--we are fortunate to have some snow on the ground. There is enough for xc skiing and dog sledding! The lakes have great ice and little snow so the ice fishing has been exceptional.

01/01/12: Happy New Year everyone!

Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy new year.

Life in the Northwoods

When we first decided to make Northern Lights Lodge our home in January of 2001 we knew that life was going to be different.

What I never imagined when Gary convinced me to become a Resorter was the friendships--how so many of our guests would become family and each return visit is like having a family reunion!

I never expected to have so much fun and so I started Marie's Northwoods Journal. Keep in mind, that this was "way" back before anyone even knew what a blog was. I've not converted my journal to what you would now call a traditional "blog" because the format just doesn't work for me.

This journal is a bit like a good old fashioned letter to home or a scrapbook and it's become a way for me to keep in touch. The journal is a collection of my thoughts, a glimpse into our lives and a way for me to reflect upon life here at the Resort.

There are ALWAYS stories to tell, (some that I'll not ever Journal here!) and maybe someday I will heed your advice and attempt to write a book or if I wait long enough, my memoirs!

The years go by faster and faster and so I hope that you enjoy my journal and photo albums as much as I enjoy spending the time with you.

So, don't be a stranger, stay in touch.


Meet Minnie (DOB 02/2013)

Minnie Age 8 Weeks
Minnie Age 4 Months

Meet Bella (DOB 09/2011)

Bella Age 8 Weeks
Bella Age 6 Months

Daisy The Wonder Dog

Daisy Crossed the Rainbow Bridge
on July 31, 2015

Having a Great Dane

Having a Great Dane in your life means that there are just a few sayings that you learn to live with:

  • Look at the size of those feet!
  • That's the biggest dog I've ever seen.
  • Where's her saddle?
  • Who's walking who, anyway?
  • How much does she eat?
  • Where does she sleep?
  • Looks like you have your hands full!
  • How big is that thing?
  • That's a really big Dalmatian!
  • It's still a puppy? You're kidding, right?
  • Big poop piles?

No One Loves You
Like a Great Dane!