Loons & Long Lake

Aug 28, 2017

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Hello! Welcome to my new blog, Dreams of Adventure. As I was thinking about the best way to begin a blog about adventure, I decided I would start with sharing about my summer vacation. If you want to know more about me, visit my bio. One of my biggest passions is travel. I had the privilege to travel to both Europe and South America in college, but now that I'm an adult, I haven't had those same opportunities. Luckily, I can get just as excited about trips in the US, Minnesota (where I live) or even day trips! This may sound like a major nerd confession, but I like planing trips so much I even sometimes (okay... lots of time) plan trips I know I will never go on. It's not sad, I promise. I get to go plenty of places that are cool, near and far, and I know even if I plan a trip I won't take, I will still get to see some pretty amazing places. This brings me to one of my latest adventures.

My husband and I currently take most of our vacations with our parents. I really enjoy the quality family time you get while road tripping across America and staying in a shared space for a week. My kids absolutely love spending that time with their grandparents, aunts, uncle and cousins. They make memories and talk about our vacations all the time. Plus, there are bound to be those "not fun in the moment" memories that you laugh over for years to come. This summer, we did not plan a big road trip style vacation with either of our parents. Instead, we decided to stay in the Upper Midwest, and I'm so glad we did! My in-laws rented a cabin on Long Lake near Spooner, Wisconsin. I had my doubts that it would be exciting, but once we got there, settled in the cabin and took our rented boat out on the water, I was AMAZED.

First off, let's talk about how hard it is to rent a cabin in some parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. It seems like I search Homeaway or VRBO every spring, hunting for a reasonable cabin in one of the major tourist cities, only to be frustrated by the prices, the inventory or the fear that we will get there and it will be a disappointment. I'm so glad my in-laws planned this vacation without any input from me, because it turned out perfect. And my father-in-law grew up in Shell Lake, which is 6 miles from Spooner, so he obviously knew WAY more about the area than I did.

Property of Dreams of Adventure Blog | Do not distribute
We got to our cabin, which I'm going to be honest, the whole family thought may not be suitable for our family of 5 adults and 2 kids, but after a quick tour we were pleasantly surprised! It had plenty of space, lots of character and great views of the water. The other BEST part? The loons. Can I talk about my mild obsession with loons? I didn't grow up in Minnesota or Wisconsin or near places with lots and lots of lakes, so I think loons are pretty cool. Why are loons so great, you ask?
  1. They make the coolest sound while you are sipping coffee on the porch. In preparation for this vacation, I legit pulled up a youtube clip of a loon call and my daughter can now do a loon call. It's pretty awesome.
  2. They are beautiful. I tried desperately to get the perfect loon photograph, but I failed. 
  3. I kayaked right next to two loons and they made the coolest noises and I just sat and watched them for a few minutes.
  4. They can dive into the water and they magically appear in a totally different location.
Now, let's talk about why I loved Long Lake. My in-laws rented a boat from Hayward, Wisconsin and we tied it up on our rental's dock. I'm sure we would have had a lovely time without a boat, but it really really took our experience up a notch. Renting a boat is not cheap, but if you want an on the water experience, you can also rent a kayak or canoe for much cheaper. So, keep that in mind as I list off all the reasons why Long Lake is amazing.
  1. It's not insanely busy like some lakes in Minnesota. If you have been to Cross Lake or Gull Lake, you know what I mean.
  2. It's really long, but it doesn't have that many channels. So, you can boat on it for a long time, with minimal time slowing down to pass through crowded channels.
  3. The people of Long Lake are super friendly. Two or three neighbors stopped by to say hello, chat and give us pointers for the lake.
  4. There are multiple restaurants where you can dock a boat and enjoy a meal by the water. All of these places are accessible by vehicle, too. We went to Prop's Sports Bar and Grill. Yummy, great spot by the water and very nice staff.
  5. Ice cream. We stopped twice for gas and ice cream at The Hive on Long Lake. Highly recommend it. 
  6. Swimming sandbar. In the big portion of Long Lake, at the southern end, there is an island/sandbar area where lots of people bring their boats. They tie them to trees on the island and it's an amazing place for little kids to swim. The sandy bottom goes on for a long time and makes for a fantastic swimming, picnic and napping location.
  7. Real estate. We had a great time looking at all the cabins and homes for sale.
  8. Fishing. I'm basically a professional fisher(wo)men. I caught some perch, blue gill and bass. Just kidding, they do have great fishing, but I am not a professional.
  9. No data. We were not attached to our cell phones, because no one in the family had service. Also, our cabin did not have wifi or cable/satellite. A blessing, for sure.
  10. The boat wave. My husband and my sister-in-law insisted that I was incorrectly waving at other boats. They taught me the "correct" way to do the boat wave. Apparently, it's a short "hey there" wave. Do not act too excited, apparently, that's not cool.
To sum it up: I totally recommend renting a cabin on Long Lake. It's beautiful, peaceful and just perfect. Do you have a favorite lake in Minnesota or Wisconsin? Let me know!