Turtle Lake & Resort

Sand “Turtling” at Acadia Resort on Turtle Lake

Seven complete days of northern bliss. In a cabin, on a hill overlooking Turtle Lake, just a short few steps to the beach, I understand the draw one feels to live here. On the edge of the Chippewa Forest, 40 minutes from Grand Rapids, this resort is very secluded~ It’s also one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Minnesota.

This is one of the Islands on Turtle lake. There are actually little summer houses on it. Beautiful!

Nishad was so happy at the lake. Here he pauses briefly to give me some love.

We lost track of the amount of fish we caught. Seriously! We must have had beginners luck, as this was our first time fishing. Here is one of a few Nishad caught. He even started helping me bait them. Ashish even has a “the fish that got away” story to share. He had a big Northern Pike on his line, but we didn’t get the net over to him…and thus, dinner swam away!

Fishing on a boat as opposed to the pier definitely changes ones perspective. It was a lot harder to do on the boat!

Yup, another!

Tiger preferred helping Daddy drive the boat. He especially liked when it went FAST!

He also liked to clean the swimming pier. His Montessori teachers would be so proud! We’re also glad we invested in the boys life jackets. While fishing, Tiger fell off the pier backwards. I like to think of it as the day I caught a 38lb fish! He still recounts the story, play-by-play, adding that the fish were trying to nibble at his toes!

Nishad taking us for a spin.

Breakfast in our cabin. The cabin had a full kitchen with all the comforts of home.

The view of the Resort from the boat. It has something for everyone. Nishad even learned how to Kayak by himself! There is a neat history associated with this resort too…a Chicago connection! Al Capone use to stay here on his way to and from Canada. They would pay off the local Sheriff so they could gamble.

We made the mistake of going to a very small town, Big Fork, to get our groceries. We ended up paying $175.00 for 4 days worth! In addition, a few days later, I drove to Grand Rapids and spent about about $75, for better, name brand food. There is a place to eat on site, which we did do one night for $30. They also have a gift store and bait. We also found out that since Nishad is over the age of 3, he was an additional $100 for the week on top of the weekly cabin rental. We thought that was rather steep.

All in all we had a fantastic time! I’m not sure we’ll be back here though as there are SO MANY resorts in Minnesota. I think we want to test a few out before we settle on one. The next place we stay will be a bit closer, and they will have more of a variety of shops and places to eat– perhaps all-inclusive. The owner, a retired air force pilot, and his two adult children, are very nice– especially Casey, who let use take the boat out which made for a most memorable trip!

Otsego Plays On!

Franfort Park, Otsego’s newest park, resides in the River Pointe neighborhood. This was one of the last park plans I was able to participate in while serving as chair on the Otsego Park and Rec. Commission. Commissioner SK (now chair) was the catalyst for making this park a reality. Her dedication, time, fiscal responsibility and ability to think consistently “outside the box” is a big factor of why this park is a reality. I recall the first time I met SK. She and a group of her neighbors came to a meeting. That’s not why I recall her though– that first meeting stands out because she is one of the few people that actually took time to write a thank you note after meeting with us.
Of course, with any project, it’s a group effort as many people are involved and some loom in the background, never seen. Thank you City of Otsego, the City Council, Staff and Park and Rec. Commission. In these tough economic times, it’s refreshing to see that our children, the health of all residents and preserving land is still a priority.
The boys loved the 5 and under section of the park. They teamed up with a few kids and played “ship” on the equipment.

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce! This was both boys favorite pieces of equipment at the park. Think of it as a pogo stick that stays in place.

One of the tallest slides we’ve ever encountered, minus the shoot slide at Elm Creek that is no longer there.

There were about 15 kids there and 4 adults while we played (on a 90-degree day!). The majority of them would play and then sit under the park shelter because there are not any mature trees here to provide any shade. That’s a pretty good daytime turn-out which indicates that this park really was a need.
Though we are excited about this new park, I feel a bit compelled to be an advocate for “real” play structures. We live in such a plastic society- toys and play structures abound- that when children get outdoors, it’s nice for kids to get back to nature, make a real, tangible connection and allow their imagination to take flight. It’s one of the reasons why I was so attracted to our children’s outdoor environment at their school.
A note about wooden structures: Many park districts and counties are removing wooden structures. Though many of us are bummed about this, it may be for a good reason. Most wood sold for outdoor use in the United States between 1975 and 2003 has been treated with chromated copper arsenate. One of the components of CCA-treated wood, arsenic, is a known human carcinogen. Over time, CCC-treated woods, such as those used in play structures, leaches out of the wood over time. Alternatives for using this wood to build play structures are: Composite Lumber, Plastic Lumber, Metal Constructed Playground Equipment and Naturally Decay-Resistant Wood. *To learn more, click on this link where information was retrieved from.

Summerland with a side of Splash!

Tiger and I have the same taste.
Nishad has already developed a bit of a “lead foot.” For him, 16 can’t come soon enough. My next campaign is to lobby to raise the driving age to 18. It’ll buy me a few years at least. Ha!

Ahoy, Tiger! There are no peddles on these. The attendant simple starts them up and then they are able to steer their boat.

I remember doing this as a kid. The feel of water running in between your fingers…That cool, crisp reminder of living in the moment and enjoying every second.

“The need for speed.” Again…18 sounds good.

St. Cloud’s Summerland will leave your little ones feeling as though they are on cloud 9! This is one of the few amusement parks that has kiddie cars and kiddie bumper boats for children ages 3-7. It’s a small business, and also has miniature golf on site along with an outdoor water slide, batting cages and adult bumper boats and go carts, with an arcade inside the main building. Each kiddie ride is around $3.50 for 5 minutes.

After having some fun at Summerland, cool off at a free Splash Pad! There are three in St Cloud. In near by Waite Park, there is one that was just completed– a $665,ooo investment for endless giggles and smiles on a hot summer day. A chunk of this capital came from a fund from former Council Member Dan Butkowski who died in a car accident in 2005. He was known for being a family advocate, who hoped the city would have a splash pad installed. A plaque near the splash pad reads, “Thanks to everyone for their support and generosity in keeping Dan’s dream alive.” I’m sure he knew all along the joy this splash pad would bring to young…and “not-so-young” alike. Rest in Peace, Mr. Butkowski.


Nishad found a dinosaur at JamFest!
You guessed it! Firetruck’s at JamFest too!

1 big Monster Truck!

Tiger was ready to drive off in this purple pontiac.

Nishad was reeved up about this Camero!

We are out and about supporting local businesses in Otsego at the 1st annual JamFest in Otsego, while Ashish is serving up some brats/dawgs at the local Cub Food (proceeds go to Compass Academy)! Contrary to what some people have asked me, JamFest has nothing to do about jam. 🙂 Perhaps, it is an assumption because we’re in the northwest suburbs…and it still is pretty urban here? Yes, we have a dairy farm 2 blocks away from us and drive past corn fields to and fro on a daily basis, but we have all the comforts of home– really! We also reside in the 8th largest school district in Minnesota. None the less, JamFest, is not about Jam. So, clear your mind of any images you may get of canning with friendly strangers, or Lucy and Ethel rolling up their pants, stomping on grapes in a big barrel.

The Otsego JamFest was sponsored by three businesses in Otsego: Target, Rockwood’s and Denny’s. We went and had lunch at Denny’s and then meandered through the car-show, hosted by Otsego Custom Rod and Custom, checked out the firetrucks, bouncers, pony’s and zoo. There are bands scheduled all day (from noon to midnight!). This was such an organized event, that made a Mom with two in tow, pretty stress free. I do hope it becomes an annual thing.

For the record, I do love jam! Especially, raspberry!

1 HOT Museum

Nishad driving the firetruck simulator.
Tons of themed trains to play with.

Chief Nishad.

Practing on the fire pole, like the pros!

Rushing down the streets of Minneapolis on the back of a firetruck!

Not being from Minnesota, I like to seek out things that are off the beaten path. Many things I find turn out to be things that people that have lived here all their lives and they don’t know about- or haven’t been too. (I should compose a book!) The event planner in me loves to pull things together and offer suggestions to others. Though the Maple Grove Community Center offers a Junior Firefighter birthday. This place would be ” the” place to have a firefighter themed party– hands down. Another perk, is that you don’t have to be a resident of Maple Grove to have it. Plus, you don’t have to be 34-inches to ride the truck! In addition, you’re supporting a non-profit.

The Firefighters Hall and Museum is a fun place to learn about the history of firefighting, fire prevention and safety. Children can steer the rear end of a ladder truck, try pumping water to put out a simulated fire, slide down the fire pole, operate St. Paul’s old fire alarm switchboard, try on firefighting gear, “drive” a firetruck and even ride on one down the streets of Minneapolis! This hidden gem that I discovered was well worth it! In fact, I believe we know exactly where our fire chief is having his birthday party! The Museum is only open on Saturday from 9am to 4pm. Admission is $6 for adults and $3.00 for children (which includes the firetruck ride!).

Though you gotta love an 80 year old retired Minneapolis fireman that still can flirt with you, be mindful of the kids as certain “collector” and privately owned trucks are not for climbing…and this really upsets the volunteers that work here. Just remember that not everything is “hands on” and to be respectful.