Destination 19: Lake Vermilion, Minnesota


I apologize for the lack of posts...I'm a little backed up on blogging because this last week has been filled to the brim with activities. I'm sure not complaining but I hope none of you feel neglected :) With that being said, let's get started!

At 3:30 a.m. (yes...3:30!), we left Wisconsin for Lake Vermilion, Minnesota to spend a couple nights with Mom's college friend, Jeannie Burlowski and her two kids, Elise and Matthew. The drive was long and tedious for Dad because, let's face it, everyone else was sound asleep. But when we finally made it there, we were greeted with hugs, taco salad and the most beautiful panoramic view of Lake Vermilion ever to exist. Jeannie's house sits right on top of the lake, and in her living room are two wonderful recliner chairs overlooking what I'd consider a little taste of heaven.

The Burlowskis also made arrangements so that my parents and I could have our own separate rooms, Daniel could sleep in a separate "house" with Matthew, known as the Crow's Nest, Mary could sleep on the pull-out couch facing the fire place with Elise and Robert could have his own bed. How sweeter could they be?? (I must add that Jane also provided me with my own bedroom in Wisconsin too! I think my constant complaining of my lack of sleep is paying off!) I was absolutely touched. Not only did I have my own bedroom, I had a view that framed the edge of the lake with tall evergreen trees. In the mornings, I woke up to the waves of the lake slapping against the old paddle boat.

After lunch, the temptation of the recliner chair was one that Dad could no longer resist. He plopped right in, picked up a book and began his three days of utter relaxation. Meanwhile, the rest of us piled into Jeannie's motor boat to make our way to a small island where the adults could visit and the kids could tirelessly play. We spend a good 2 or 3 hours there collecting minnows, swatting away bugs, taking pictures and swimming while Mom and Jeannie caught up on many years since the good 'ol days at TC.

[Loaded and ready to go]

[Look at the water sparkle!]

[Yummm...dead minnows.]

We returned to the lake house to find Dad napping on the couch (he moved!). The kids continued their playing while Jeannie prepared a delicious dinner of Korean shredded beef for us. In the meantime, I took hold of the recliner and tried to read. But the pure beauty of the lake forced me to put the book down and simply enjoy what was in front of me. I did that before dinner, after dinner and until it was time for bed.

[Lake Vermilion in all its glory]

[At sunset...breathtaking isn't it?]

After dinner, we lit up the fire pit and made smores and salty dogs. If you don't know what salty dogs are, I suggest you read the next few lines very carefully because they will change your life. Instead of your typical smore, which can get boring after awhile, a salty dog requires two saltine crackers, a marshmallow, chocolate and peanut butter. Before melting your marshmallow on the fire like you do for smores, spread peanut butter on one saltine cracker. Then, roast your marshmallow, place it on the cracker with peanut butter, add a piece of chocolate to the other side of the marshmallow and squish it all together with the second cracker. The combination is's like the perfect amount of salty and sweet and gooey and creamy all mixed into one.

[Starting the pit]

[Hey, Matthew, you savin' that for later?]

[A beautiful-looking smore]

[Now, if that's not a perfectly golden marshmallow, I don't know what is!]

[Who wouldn't wanna kiss this little guy?]

[Daniel leaping into the lake]

The next morning, the family awoke to heavy gray clouds, which eventually led to a consistent downpour throughout the entire day. However, none of us minded. Instead, we took the opportunity to read, eat, lay around, talk, nap, eat some more and listen to the rain drops hitting the roof. By mid-afternoon, the kids were getting antsy so Jeannie took them to the Bear Center while Mom and Dad spent quality time at the house talking, napping and reading. Meanwhile, I went to a cafe with WIFI to catch up on some much-needed work. Two hours and three cups of tea later, I made my way back to the house to find the kids taking turns jumping off of the dock. That evening, Jeannie invited me to go on a canoe ride to see the lake at sunset. Everything was still and I discovered right then and there how beautiful nature's silence is. I took pictures but they do no justice to how breathtaking it really was.

[The infamous leaning tree against a perfect sky]

[Me and Jeannie canoeing; photo taken from the lake house window, courtesy of Mom]

Although we were scheduled to leave the next morning, Mom, Dad and Jeannie decided to extend our stay one more night, but instead of staying at the lake house, we'd all go to this cabin for alpine slides, swimming and hiking. So the next morning, we packed up all our stuff and headed to the mountain resort. Once we got there, we rode the alpine slides numerous times, going faster each time. Dad snapped a few photos on our way down. Jeannie was, by far, the fastest and most daring one out of the bunch.

[Jeannie & Mom on the way up!]

[Look at her go!]

We grabbed some dinner and then headed to our cabin. The kids grabbed their bathing suits and ran to the half indoor/half outdoor pool while I went on a pretty difficult hike. The trails were steep and I didn't exactly know where I was going but the view made it so rewarding. Because I was hiking, I didn't have a camera on me but I tried to take a ton of low-res photos on my phone. Even with the gross quality, the pictures look like postcards.

[This is where the cabins were...gorgeous huh?]

[After my hike, I went back to take a few pictures with my Nikon]

The rest of the night remained pretty mellow. After the pool, the kids were pretty beat and not long after, they passed out. Mom and Jeannie continued their catching up, giggling well into the night like young teenage girls. The next morning, both families were running out the door (us to the van for our next destination and the Burlowskis to their canoe tour). The "goodbye" was short and sweet, but I'm absolute confident that their hospitality and the utter beauty of that lake house will reverberate much, much longer for us. At one point, Mom and I tried to find the right words to describe that lake. We could come up with none. The closest I got was this: it is simply the truest form of God's beautiful work.

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