Where did the summer go?
Where did the summer go at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I need to do a blog…” The summer has flown by and I find myself with the first free chunk of time since my last blog in May. I figured, I better get my summer blog in as we have had some chilly nights in the 40’s and some leaves changing already!!
It has been a great season. It is so fun to have repeat guest coming back to stay with us. Pontoon boats full of families and kids coming into “Juls’ Sweet Shop” with their life jackets still on, saggy butt swimsuits dripping water, smelling of suntan lotion. We love this!! Mary Congdon (our friend and neighbor who frequents the store,) said her grandchild said,“I want to go to the worm store and buy candy from the worm lady and worm man.” Never in my wildest dreams did I think Dan and I would earn that title…
New additions for Juls’ Sweet Shop
Dan made a couple of purchases this summer at a resell shop – “Bless This Mess – North” in Rhinelander https://www.facebook.com/blessthismessnorth/ . I was busy saving lives at work (as a nurse,) and he sent me a text of a an old rusty fridge and a glider sled with one piece of wood hanging off of it. I was like, “ok… great..!” I didn’t share the vision Dan did. So, he brings this fridge home, plops it on the front porch and starts to make his vision come true. I hate things on the porch.. a lot.. not to mention an old fridge. He worked on that thing for three days. Sanding , taking it apart and then painting. I gotta say the finished project was beyond my expectations. He really pulled out his inner Martha Stuart on this one. Then the sled, (which also sat on front porch for about two weeks,) was his next mission. He showed it to our friends and neighbors, Marion and Dick Bories. Dick said he would try and clean it up a bit. Dick is a wood worker and what he brought back to Dan took our breath away. Then Dan decided to make a light fixture out of a sled!! Of course, I was thinking of all the Christmas things I could do with it, write JOY on it etc etc But it turned out so cool!! We got the Boires’ Family stamp of approval and it comes complete with an actual stamp of Dicks name in the corner which makes it extra special, cuz he’s a pretty neat friend. It is such a unique fun addition to “Juls Sweet Shop.”
Good fishing this summer
The fishing has been good this summer! We had a guy come in last weekend to buy bait. 45 minutes later he came back as he had blown through all his bait catching every species!! Our good friend Pat caught a 49 inch musky a few weeks ago right here on the Cisco Chain. That is bigger than our daughter Juls!! In more fishing news, Dan caught his first fish since we moved here 3 years ago!! We hardly ever make it out on the water as we are always busy here at the resort. Oh, Dan doesn’t fish. How did this happen, we own a fishing resort, we are now referred to as the worm people and we don’t fish?? Anyway, our friends Pat and Laura took us out for a fishing lesson and Dan caught a walleye, by accident of course. So now, he is referred to as “Walleye Dan. “
New Septic system is working great
The septic system has been put to the test and has passed with flying colors. Dan just purchased a second generator, so if we lose power, the septic system will keep working. As you can imagine, this is very important. No one wants to sit in the dark AND not be able to flush… Not the guest experience we’re striving for. The grass is finally growing back and things are looking back to normal. Looking at the septic project pics from my May blog, I’d say we’ve come a long way! We are no longer able to Kayak down the septic trenches in the front yard.
The guest experience
Speaking of guest’s experience, we have learned, we can’t make everyone happy all the time. And that is a tough pill to swallow. But on that note, every single comment we get, whether, good, bad or just plain ridiculous, we take very seriously. Our guests, customer service and integrity are what this resort was built on. We (Dan and Melissa and I) stand by this. We strive everyday to be better. Any comments we receive get talked about and action is taken. We are three years in, the pace is crazy, but this is a top priority here at WB. Everything we have and everything we are is poured into this resort. We only hope to be better as the years go on. The good news is, our re-booking pace is even better than the past two years. We can’t get any better compliment than that!
Kids and grandkids visited this summer
Our kids, Drew, Jen and her hubby Mike and grandkids Amy and Cal came to visit over the fourth of July. It was great having our whole family home together. As I have said before, I love nothing more than having my family all together under one roof. My family is truly the greatest gift I have ever received.
So those of you who have seen our Wilderness Bay sign at our entrance know it is a temporary fix with our logo on it until we can replace the existing sign. Well, our guest this week , Al, his wife Nanice, and his son AJ, stayed with us and had such a great week, they want to make a sign for us!!!!!!!!!! We are so excited!!! We have had so many other expenses pop up, this has not been a priority for us. But, we talk about it a lot.. this will be a beautiful addition to welcome our guests to our place.
More updates to the resort
We have actually had a few additions to WB this summer. Some by choice, and one was something we wouldn’t have chosen to do the year we put in a six figure septic system. That being said, our Bennington Pontoon now has a brand new 50hp four stroke motor!! It is very important to us that when someone rents a boat from us, it is going to work. We invested in this because we thought it was important to assure the quality experience we want our guests and customers to have. We had not planned on that expense this summer, but, it’s always something! Dan purchased the generator for the septic system which compliments the generator for the resort to keep the store up and running and well pump running in case of a power outage. No one wants to buy melted ice cream, warm worms or not be able to use the bathroom!
Selling Harley results in and incredible gift
And perhaps our most exciting new item is our new Polaris Ranger UTV. Dan sadly sold his Harley motorcycle, as it is just not practical to have up here. Not only has there not been time to ride, the functionality of a Polaris just made more sense. He sold it to man from my hometown of Rochester MN. What are the chances of that? The guy also made us a sign for the front of the lodge!! It was such an awesome surprise!
Stu is pretty sure that the Polaris is for him. He LOVES it and will sleep on the seat of it for hours waiting to go for a ride. Juls drove it to our friend’s house the other night. She does not drive, so this was a big deal to her. We lurched happily down the road at 10 miles per hour. She wouldn’t allow Dan and me to talk, as she was “concentrating.” Dan was going to get out and walk as he figured he’d get there faster, lol. It was an adventure, that’s for sure. We are having fun riding some trails while using this new “tool” around the resort!
Melissa has been a great addition to the resort
Dan has been spending some time out in the garage, “organizing our shit.” I rarely go out there as I break out in hives and hyperventilate. Our co-worker and friend, Melissa, has been helping us organize. She has been a God send to us, literally. She organized our entire “candy closet,” our apparel and our laundry room. These are the things we think about and want to do but it’s a time and energy thing. She continues to add to WB with her mad organization skills, and excellent customer service. Thanks for all you do Melissa!
Wilderness Bay tumblers, hats, and candy bouquets
We have new tumblers and wine tumblers!! They have been selling like hot cakes!! They are made at a place in Hurley called “Highline.” It is the place our daughter Juls works that employs people with special needs. People love them and they are a great gift idea! Another gift idea is our Wilderness Bay candy bouquets with a WB coffee mug as the base. We have put a few of these together for fundraisers and raffle prizes! We will custom make one for your special occasion!! Come check out our new hats too! They have our logo on the front and “Cisco Chain” on the back!!
In nature news, the deer are everywhere and this year there are a few handsome bucks, lots of ladies and we have had two sets of twin fawns in the neighborhood that are so stinkin’ cute! There have also been some baby foxes around and a lovely otter couple, husband and wife and their small children frolicking in our bay. A couple of guys came in the store from a neighboring resort as we were talking about the otter family. They reported they had caught a mess of Walleye and had left them in their fishing basket on the side of the boat. The next morning when they went down to retrieve the fish to clean, the walleye were gone, but there was a young otter still in the basket! Those clever little suckers won’t pass up on a great smorgasbord like that! I have seen a bear since I last wrote a blog! That’s Laura 3 and Dan 0. He says they don’t exist because he’s never seen one. I am still in awe when I see a wolf or a bear or fox, I always think I am hallucinating but then I’m like, “nope, it was real, I’m not in Iowa anymore.”
Additional rental coming soon
Dan has been working on little projects such as replacing railing on the Bear cabin, putting in new split rail fence, staining wild Wings cabin. Always trying to improve where we can. Our next exciting project is we are turning our “Lakeside room” as we call it into a rental! It is such a beautiful big space, we just don’t use it for our living quarters as much as we thought we would. It will have a nice spacious bathroom, incredible view of the lake, and a kitchenette!! Our goal is to make it a little more upscale… an executive suite if you will… and if you like our regular cabins, we still have those too!! We are looking for ways to offer more to our guests, both repeat customers and new, that might like a little more “cush” up here in the Northwoods.
Thanks for joining us on our journey
I think I am fresh out of news. It has been an amazing summer season for us. It has been so rewarding to see friends and neighbors of the resort and meet new people too! Thank you for your continued support of our business. Every gummi worm we sell, every cabin we rent, keeps our dream alive! Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to read this…I am not just saying that… thank you from the bottom of my heart.