Spring In Ely & Winter in NYC

We enjoyed a beautiful weekend in Ely last week, with wonderful signs of spring – slushy snowmobile trails, ice creeping away from the shoreline, birds chirping, no mice in the cabin, wolf pups relaxing in the sun. Looking forward to “real” spring and lazy summer days.  
This weekend…a trip to NYC – checking out Maddie’s place, celebrating Hans’ Princeton basketball career and having a great time with Randy and Joline.


White Iron and the ice is beginning to recede

View of Silver Rapids from the bridge on Kawishiwi Trail


What’s wrong with this picture?


Great day for a run to the boat launch!


Look closely….cooling off after his run.


Grayson enjoying his new home.

Winter returned in NYC in March,  but we still managed to have a great time!



Ely in full swing…

Meghan and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch over Memorial Weekend at the Rockwood Restaurant and Lounge. (Located just across the street from Zup’s). The patio is a welcome venue and since it’s opening six years ago, the plantings have grown up around the patio and the fountain works well to create a fun environment.  It’s fun to keep any eye on the vehicles at the stoplight and I smiled to myself at all of the canoes strapped on top of Subaru’s and pick-up trucks with the pups riding in back – two black labs and that really cute white dog with the black patch of fur over one eye. We last saw him in the church parking lot after Easter mass a few years ago – glad to see he was still going strong!!

I had the walleye sliders with sweet potato fries.  Meghan had the Northland burger – topped with onion rings, bbq sauce, cheese and bacon.  Many walleye entrees available along with many burger and salad options.  Portions are large and service very friendly.  Also, a great selection of beer – unique and the usual all available.

Here’s a link to their website if you’re looking for a great alternative to the steakhouse. (You can’t beat the Ely Steakhouse, except perhaps on a sunny, 75 degree day)!


My mother, Audrey, and sister, Jennifer – celebrating Jenny’s 40th at Rockwood a few summers ago – check out the onion rings and seasoned sour cream!


Meghan and I made a few additional stops in town last weekend….

Piragis has a great inventory of new blouses, dresses, sandals and accessories at all price points.  Of course there is much more there – everything you need for camping, paddling, kayaking, decorating your cabin, books for reading… oh and the outlet is open too where everything is always 40% off!



Mealey’s was well stocked with all of the usual gifts, cards, toys and home furnishings. Always a treat to meander and explore and find a treasure or too.



The ice cream shop had a line out the door, but was worth the wait.


So glad to see that Ely weathered the winter and is alive and well and booming again! Grateful to be able to spend the weekend with Meghan, too!


Fishing & Ely – Bringing Generations Together

A spectacular walleye, a wonderful photographer in the back of the boat, (Dick McGrath), and of course, Ernie!

IMG_7060Ely is not for the faint of heart – it IS a wonderful place in a rugged, unpredictable, charming, sort of way.  Yet, Dick made the trip several times and we had the pleasure of spending time with him.  Dick passed away in Florida this past Wednesday evening.  Our hearts go out to Tim, Lee, Morgan, and Joe (our good friends and neighbors in Shoreview and Ely).  

May Dick’s beautiful soul rest in peace.  We’ll be smiling about this photo for a long time and will miss his energetic political debates over the campfire.  We are happy that Dick will be together again with Margaret and expect them to guide and protect from above as our adventures in Ely continue together! 


Spring in Ely…

I wasn’t sure what to expect but was happily surprised to see that spring had begun in Ely. I was thrilled that we didn’t need to exterminate any creatures that had made our cabin their home over the long winter.  The cabin was spit spot and the sun was shining!  Even Luna and Boltz were basking in the sun at the International Wolf Center. It was a glorious weekend and Bo (aka our polar bear) even took a dip in the chilly waters of White Iron. I scored a few bargains at Piragis and Mealey’s and was thrilled to see that Zup’s had their clearance carts stocked and ready for the season.

Here’s to another wonderful spring and summer in Ely…can’t wait.

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A Year in Pictures…

The new year is upon us and I find myself looking back at the wonderful year I experienced with new friends, old friends and my wonderful family.

Ely brought me new friends; the Zimmerman’s, Thayer’s and Spry’s…

And old friends….My fabulous childhood girlfriends, Nancy, Jill, Kris, Kathie, Chris, Jean, Sue, Susan, the Diffley’s, Jorissen’s, and McGrath’s.

All a blessing to me and my family!

My Resolution’s in 2015…New-Years-Eve 

1) Tell my family, friends, co-workers, food shelf volunteers, teachers, coaches, and neighbors, how much I appreciate all they do for me and my family and how wonderfully they do it!

2) Post more blogs with fewer words and more pictures to promote this wonderful place!  My hope is for the small business owners of Ely to thrive.  A secret little wish of ours is to own a quaint outdoor store on Sheridan Street, with amazing women’s fashions and top of the line fishing poles.  🙂

Here’s to many more wonderful years ahead in this beautiful corner of the world!

 Great weekend with girlfriends, kicking-off our year oIMG_9422IMG_9398IMG_9403IMG_9428f 50th birthday celebrations!   IMG_1587 IMG_1580 My wonderful fisherwomen & fishermen!IMG_1582 IMG_8603 IMG_8729IMG_8737IMG_8723   IMG_1622IMG_1631IMG_8868IMG_8864IMG_8897IMG_8862 IMG_8866  IMG_8888IMG_8894 IMG_8921 IMG_8922 

A race across White Iron Lake to outrun the storm…thanks to the radar app on Mom’s iPhone…

Calm, sunny days too!



IMG_9175IMG_9233IMG_9239What a fun-filled year it has been….here’s to many more!

A little hike…no paddling required.

Kawishiwi Falls Trail: An easy 1.5 mile hike round trip – water flows out of Garden Lake into Fall Lake at the Fall Lake Dam. The trail is easily navigable with amazing trees and forest growth. 


Plenty of great photo opportunities and fun to get up close on the rocks.  The rapids were roaring last week!  



Be sure to allow extra time to just relax and take in the view! 

We Paddled – Part II

Iron Lake – Destination reached after a two hour high speed ride boat ride across Crane Lake &  Lac LaCroix with canoes strapped on the rack and a four hour paddle.  Not to mention the tow across land with a funky tow rope and modified railroad track – something like this (without four kids & three canoes)…



Glorious Surroundings! Pictographs on Lac LaCroix & a short day trip to Curtain Falls:




A few more helpful hints…


  • Quetico (Canada’s BWCA): No designated campsites and no latrines. Bring a shovel when you set out to dig your own latrine. Definitely much in common with your four legged friend – I try to appreciate the challenge.
  • BWCA: Designated campsites and latrines. Always great fun for the kiddos to locate the latrine and no shovel required – what a luxury. Dare I say don’t look down.

Snakes & Snapping Turtles: (Not a moose in sight)

  • Not your average garter snake – much wider and several feet longer and based on number of times I experienced a particular snake, it must have been lonely and happy to have a friend. Harmless, just startling.

Snapping Turtle – Also not your average turtle – looked entirely prehistoric and enjoyed feasting on the scraps of food left over from the dishes. Keep your toes out of the water and put these creatures out of your mind when you jump in the lake to rinse off.

Popular Menu Items:

  • Walleye – the favorite meal by far – Pack some cooking oil and Original Shore Lunch – simply divine.
  • Pizza – in the wrought iron skillet on the fire – easy and delicious.
  • Pasta & Pesto – only employed if no fresh walleye caught
  • Pancakes and Oatmeal for breakfast
  • Hard salami, cheese, and trail mix for lunch

Be sure to hang the meal pack. Empty all food from manufactured packaging. Place in Ziplock bags.  Easy to grab the bags needed for a meal and easy to pack plastic bags out for the paddle home.

All kid friendly food and easy to prepare. Rain or shine and on the fire or with the gas flame. Enjoy!


We Paddled – Part I


Some of our favorite memories of the BWCA began with an entry point into Mudro Lake – about 18 miles north of Ely down the Echo Trail.

The Chainsaw Sisters Saloon was at the entry point at the end of a 6 mile gravel road. It was a welcome site for car sick children and a welcome site for adults at the end of the trip – nothing sounded better than a cold beer!

In 2009 the owners sold the saloon and moved to town. The Trust for Public Land purchased the land to preserve this popular entry point.

The trip through this entry point began with a walk next to the canoe, guiding it along a shallow, narrow stream into Mudro Lake.  Then, a relatively easy paddle across the lake to the 140 rod portage and then the real fun began.  The portage was long, uphill, tricky footing and tough on a hot day.  A few trips through the portage were typically required and kudos to Ernie, Diane, and Dan for navigating the canoes on their shoulders through the portage.

Rest assured, the long portage was worth it – once we entered Fourtown Lake, we found a beautiful lake with many camping opportunities.  Eagles and bountiful walleyes were a treat.

About 4 hours from The Chainsaw Sisters Saloon and we were setting up the tent, preparing dinner (spaghetti, grilled pizza, or steak for the first night), chilling the bladder of wine in the lake, pumping lake water through the filter, blowing up the king size air mattress, and hanging the food pack before night fall.  (Okay, the king size mattress weighed A TON – but it was so worth portaging it – thank you, sweetie)!  The mattress went into our dome tent and our family of four (two adults and two small girls) fit perfectly onto the mattress.  Rumbles of thunder no longer bothered me – I was going to stay dry!

The first time Dan and Diane heard the air pump inflating the mattress, they had no idea what we had going on in our tent.  Needless to say, Diane convinced Dan to ditch the small pads under the sleeping bags and the next time we camped, they too, portaged the heavy air mattress and air pump.

So, my top four things for a trip into the BWCA….

– Inflatable mattress

– Wine (bladder from boxed wine and kept cool in the lake)

– Diet coke (a plastic bottle for each day – thanks, Diane for indulging me and keeping it a secret from the guys)

– Benadryl – to sleep!

Stay tuned for more family-friendly BWCA tips…Paddling Part II to follow….snakes, shovel, snapping turtles, and much more!

Now I need to take Bo for his walk…..be well and travel to Ely!