Ely, MN Chamber Of Commerce
By Lonnie Tim Cofell
We had a great trip going through Brante lake toVirgin lake and seeing the burn area. Going down the frost river portages over rocks that were 5 to Six feet high. Beautiful scenes that you don't see in the cities.
By Dave Busch
When I last wrote, I ended my story with arriving at Pipestone Outfitting in Winton. Remember, this was in the 60s. The new owners have changed the name to Packsack Log Cabins. I think the cabins look great and, although the basic structures have not changed, there have been some significant upgrades completed.
I can remember walking down the hill to see the dock, knowing that the next day would include some wonderful Fall Lake fishing. Power dam, here we come!!! With Paul’s help, my dad would get the motor from the shed. Dad left his Merc 20 with Paul, realizing that the Ely area was the only place he would use it. Paul would have a boat tied off in the water and he and dad would orchestrate the best way to get the motor on the transom…. without either of them falling in!! After the motor was in place, the first trip to Ely to buy some minnows was in order. Of course, a stop at Vertins for pecan rolls was always a “necessary” evil whenever we went to town. Groceries for the week were purchased at the then IGA (now the Northland Market). That meant flour, bread, milk, butter, cereal, etc. would be available the remainder of our week. We even talked mom and dad into potato chips or pretzels for our evening snacks!! Back to the resort and the minnows were dropped in the water with a half-slice of bread placed in the minnow bucket for their evening snack. Off to the cabin for some family-time, usually card games. Dad and Grandpa, when he came with us, would usually play cribbage never saying a word other than the count and the holes they were to peg. I eventually was allowed to sit in as a player…dad and grandpa took great pleasure in whooping me at cribbage. Off to bed, but I would have a hard time going to sleep…fishing tomorrow!!!
Our first day of fishing would be spent on Fall Lake at the power dam. This gave dad a chance to see how the outboard was running without venturing too far from civilization. We always had a great time fishing, but as Bob Cary used to say, the catching was another story. Dad was very patient with us kids, but took his fishing very seriously…and catching even more seriously. I would handle the net for dad and he, in turn, would handle the net for me. The girls were not avid fisherpersons and stayed with mom and Edna at the resort. I know they did some shopping in Ely ‘cause we always took more stuff home than we arrived with. Dad would clean the catch of the day, mom would place it in the deep fryer (which always made our vacation trek), and we would sit down to out first meal that included fresh walleye and northern…MMMMMMM!!! Our usual side dish was tomatoes, beans, or fresh veggies!!! Great meal and easy to finish everything on my plate! That evening we would talk of the one that got away (the size?) and what was on sale in town. It was much easier to sleep because I had spent a wonderful day in the fresh air of the wilderness. Well, so much for Part 2 of this writing. I hope to be back in the near future to share some more of my memories with you. Without a doubt, you and the family need to experience Ely, MN and start making your own memories. My only regret? I wish I had kept a journal of my trips to Winton and Ely because it would be much easier to write this story…and at 59, I have so many memories of Winton and Ely that I just cannot remember today. One memory leads to another.
My visits to the Ely area started in the 1960s when the whole family would pile in the “now unsafe” automobile and head for the vacation of all vacations!
My dad would spend a couple hours loading the vehicle, making sure that nothing would slide, move, or get squashed on the 600 mile trek to our destination. Dad took great pride in packing and I remember that everything that we were taking had to be at the rear of the vehicle so he could strategically place all items. After all, we would not want the fishing poles to be damaged during transit.
We all, my three sisters and Mom and Dad, would settle in for the 600 mile drive, knowing that we would stop to eat in Eau Claire because food and drink were not permitted in the car. Wonder how dad would be with eating in the car these days? Anyway, off we headed for our great adventure!! Stopping at the now-closed deer farm on the then 2-lane Route 53 from Eau Claire, we (the kids) would marvel at the deer eating out of our hands while Mom shopped for new moccasins in the gift shop. Dad just couldn’t get his head around spending hard-earned cash on slippers and deer food…but he knew we really enjoyed the stop and looked forward to it for many years.
By Jasmine Dudzik
My very favorite place to visit in Ely is the North American Bear Center! I can watch the resident bears (Ted, Honey and Lucky) all day long! I love the restaurants in Ely, and have stayed at several cool hotels. I have been visiting every summer for three years in a row, and plan to keep coming back. I love the solitude of the woods and the lovely lakes.
By Brian Novak
We pace ourselves and had a full week of fun. My wife is not much of a fisher person but she agreed to go for 4 hours with a guide. She caught fish and had a great time.The highlight of my week was catching the biggest walleye of my life. We had a great time and will be back.
The alphabet game, counting cars on the road and videos are often top of mind when many parents think of educational activities for kids to do on vacation. But there are so many ways children can learn while traveling, and Ely offers an abundance of opportunities!
Immersion in history and culture is a great way for kids to understand life in a particular time period. At Bois Forte Heritage Center and the Dorothy Molter Museum, children have the opportunity to learn and have fun without realizing the historical understanding they’re gaining.
By Sharee Johnson
Earlier this spring we took a short weekend trip into the BWCA to do a little fishing and a little relaxing. I love to cook and figuring out ways to be gourmet in the woods is fun! For this trip I brought along fresh focaccia fixings with olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. We like to bring a little luxury along when we go camping. One of my favorite luxury items is a little, portable table. I bring along a cutting board and one of my good knives. Garlic is one of the easiest and lightest things you can pack for adding flavor to your trip.
While we were out fishing, a loon came pretty close to the boat. I got the camera ready and was just amazed that the loon opened its wings right when I was ready with the camera. That never happens!
We ended our day with a cozy warm fire looking out over the lake. Heaven.
I live here and write a blog “Musings from the Northwoods”. You might like to check out more stories of our adventures in the woods and find yummy recipes, too! www.aShareeDesign.com
By Cheri Beatty
As I walked along a Boundary Waters shoreline with my daughters, I noticed that they watched and followed each step I took. I purposely planned smaller steps and tried to plant my feet on solid surfaces. At times, the girls would veer off and try their own routes, sometimes they would do fine and other times they would slip and reach out for me. That walk seems to be the mirror of motherhood. It’s important to be vigilant of each step we take since it would be so easy to guide little feet off course. Pointing out the riskier paths while holding out a hand for support may be the best thing a mother can do… knowing that one day, they will leap into the world and blaze a trail of their own.
By Chris Ellerbroek:
I have taken many BWCAW trips in my lifetime. Most of them were in the spring and summer months or the occasional ice fishing day-trip in the winter. This past September, I took my first “late fall” camping trip with my two cousins and their spouses. It was their very first canoe camping trip in the BWCA so I served as the guide and the “Duffer” in our three seat canoe.
Earlier in the summer, my cousins had asked me to help plan the trip. The were all physically fit and used to backpacking, back country skiing, biking and other physical outdoor activities so I chose an aggressive route for our three and a half day trip. Our trip route mapped out at almost 60 miles of canoeing and portaging! The night before we departed, we had dinner and wend over the route plan, food list, gear and general questions about the upcoming trip.
Can you feel it? Warmer weather, relaxed schedules, fewer hours spent laboring over homework. Summer’s almost here. And there is no better time for a family vacation.
We all know how fast summer goes. When you look back on the summer of 2012, what do you want your family to remember? Whether it’s relaxation or exciting adventure activities that are more your speed, your family vacation can and should be enjoyable for everyone.
After all, reconnecting has many benefits in any relationship. When you’re away from the home environment and not distracted by to-do lists and work-related obligations, it’s much easier to reconnect. Whether your children are young, or grown adults with their own children, memories created on a family vacation will last a lifetime and enhance your relationships significantly.