There is remarkable consistency in the questions curious people ask us about buying Bearskin Lodge. The inevitable 2nd question always seems to be whether we were regular Bearskin guests – did we fall in love with the place and decide to stay?
I always feel a little embarrassed to answer, “No,” because we should have stayed at Bearskin. Our family was perfectly designed for a Bearskin stay. Our kids loved the northwoods, our family enjoyed being together, and we had grandparents living then who would have valued the time spent with us. But we were teachers, living for many years on one income while I stayed home with our kids. Decisions were always made based on economics, on how we could get by on the least amount of money. We did a lifetime of fun family trips, but they were always cheap fun trips. We didn’t repeat enjoyable experiences often enough for them to develop into traditions and it was a rarity that our extended family was included.
Now when we see the families who are here all together — with Grandma and Grandpa, mom and dad, the aunties and uncles, the cousins, the newborn infants — we can’t help but feel a little envious of the memories they are creating together as a family group. Bearskin is not the least expensive place for people to spend their family time, but it is exceptionally memorable and special. It’s readily apparent that most families seem extraordinarily contented and close while they are together here.
So no, we didn’t come to Bearskin with our children. But we really wish we had. Watching families together at Bearskin, we can see Bearskin is a worthwhile investment in making family memories, the kind of family investment that we now wish we had made more often.
Here’s a picture of Quinn when he and Bob almost went to Bearskin. They skied all day at Bearskin, where Quinn encountered his first moose on the Summer Home Road Trail. They walked around the Lodge and admired the stone fireplace. They went out again after dark to ski on the lighted trails at Bearskin, an experience they’ve both talked about often ever since. And then they left and drove to the cheapest Cook County motel they could find.
While the “cheap” part of the story is endearing now, both Bob and Quinn look forward to repeating the entire Bearskin experience right this winter—skiing the trails for hours, warming up in the sauna, soaking in the hot tub, sleeping in a cozy Bearskin cabin and then doing it all again the next day. No, we didn’t stay at Bearskin when our kids were little, but we still plan to make Bearskin memories with them.